Russia Wins Junior Team Title, USA's Konnor McClain Wins All-Around

The junior gymnasts opened the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy with an exciting team and all-around competition as Russia outperformed the U.S. to maintain the junior team title while American Konnor McClain hit four for four in her first international competition to win the junior all-around title. Team USA and Belgium rounded out the junior team podium with silver and gold, respectively, and Russian gymnasts Vladislava Urazova and Elena Gerasimova won silver and bronze, respectively, in the junior all-around competition.

It was a strong battle between Russia and USA for the junior team gold from the start as they were 1-2 after every rotation of the competition. Russia began on vault while USA started on beam. On vault, Olga Astafeva, Gerasimova, Viktoria Listunova and Urazova each hit their vaults, including DTYs from Listunova and Urazova. On beam, USA had a bit of a rough start as Sophia Butler had a few wobbles and fell after her Onodi. She was able to hit the rest of her routine and scored a 12.300. Ciena Alipio followed with a good beam routine with just a small balance check on her triple series for a 13.600, and McClain finished beam for the U.S. with a strong, jam-packed routine including a standing Arabian and triple series for a big 14.133. Due to a calf injury, Kayla DiCello competed only on bars.

After the first rotation, Russia led with a 41.767. Following not far behind was USA with a 40.033. Belgium put together a solid first rotation on bars to sit in third after one with a 38.834. Italy's younger team, Germany, Japan and Italy's older team rounded out the team standings after one.

Rotation two was where Russia really hit its stride, putting together four great uneven bar routines scoring in the high 13.000 range or higher. Gerasimova started bars for Russia with a 13.967 after nailing a tuck full-in dismount. Next was Urazova, who led Team Russia with a huge 14.600 for her bar routine, complete with a in-bar blind to piked Jaeger and toe-on full to full twisting double back dismount. Listunova had a few small breaks in her routine but managed to stay on and make it through for a 13.733, and Astafeva finished things off for Russia with her routine that included a Maloney to Pak and tuck full-in for a 13.967.

On floor for the U.S., Alipio started with a good routine with just a bit of stumbling on her turns but had great leaps and a 2.5 to finish for a 13.200. Butler followed with four strong passes in her routine, including a big double Arabian and piked full-in to earn a 13.433. McClain ended the rotation for Team USA with a solid routine that included a big double layout but went out of bounds on her 1.5 stepout through to double tuck and earned a 13.267.

 Halfway through, Russia extended its lead to more than four points with a 84.401. USA remained in second with a 79.933. Italy's younger team and Japan moved up to third and fourth while Belgium, Italy's older team and Germany rounded out the standings.

The third rotation was solid and without problems for Team USA, who hit counted three good vaults towards its team total. Butler vaulted a solid Yurchenko full for a 13.833. Alipio had a clean and controlled Yurchenko 1.5 for a 14.233. McClain finished vault for USA with a strong DTY to earn a big 14.800.

For Russia, though, the third rotation did not go, as well as each gymnast had a mistake. Urazova and Astafeva both fell on their mounts. Listunova had a big balance check and break during her acro series. Gerasimova had a balance check on her side aerial to layout stepout but saved it and was able to stay on.

However, beam mistakes weren't enough to move Russia from the top of the standings with 123.968, and USA closed in with 122.799.

In the final rotation, USA was on bars but did not start well. Alipio fell after she couldn't catch her Pak salto and over-rotated her her full-out dismount and sat it down, earning just an 11.800. Butler picked things up, though, with a bar routine featuring three big releases for a 13.600. McClain followed with a strong routine complete with quite a bit of stalder work and a few steps on her dismount for a 13.967. DiCello finally got to compete at the end of the rotation with nice combos and just a double tuck dismount for a nice 13.533.

Russia finished on floor with pretty identical routines. Gerasimova was up first and was solid, competing a whip whip triple full, 2.5 punch front, a double tuck (where she had a low landing) and a double full to earn a 13.500. Next up was Astafeva, who had a triple full, back 2.5 punch front, a double tuck and a double full for a 13.133. Listunova followed with another whip whip triple full, went out on her back 2.5 to punch front and ended with a double tuck to still score a 13.933. At this point, Russia had already overtaken the lead from USA but still had one competitor left. Urazova hit a great routine with a triple full and back 2.5 for a team-high 13.833.

The reigning junior team champions, Russia, came away with the team win once again, upsetting an injury-affected USA, which still had a strong competition. Russia finished with a 165.234. Following on the podium were USA with a 163.899 and Belgium with a 152.734. Rounding out the junior team standings were Italy's younger team with a 152.034, Japan with a 151.567, Italy's older team with a 150.701 and Germany with a 144.866.

The junior all-around competition was dominated by McClain and Russia. McClain won with a 56.167 in her international debut. Urazova had a 55.200, and Gerasimova had a 55.000 to make the podium. Listunova finished fourth with a 54.300. Wei Xiaoyuan of China, who was competing as an individual also made the top six in the junior all-around with a 53.434 to finish fifth, and Butler was sixth with a 53.166.

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