February 15, 2009

Tanella and Svilpaite Win WOGA Classic

The first American women's elite competition of the year, the WOGA Classic in Frisco, Texas, is over and done with, and 17-year-old Christa Tanella of the home club successfully defended her title, scoring 54.400 to beat Southeastern's Sarah Persinger (53.500) and Ukraine's Yana Demyanchuk (53.050).

AA winner Christa Tanella (photo: Heather Maynez)

Lithuania's 15-year-old Laura Svilpaite, a beautiful and elegant gymnast who we think has a great future ahead of her, won the junior portion of the meet, posting the same all-around score as Tanella and edging out WOGA's Grace McLaughlin and Russia's Kristina Kruglikova for the gold. WOGA promise Briley Casanova only ranked sixth, mainly because of a meltdown on bars (crash on Jaeger and huge trouble on two kips). Russia's young Anastasia Karpova had similar problems on bars, coming off twice (toe-on-full on the low bar, kip) and having great trouble on another kip.

International Gymnast has results.

Upcoming WOGA star Briley Casanova (photo: Stefan Wurzer/Gymnasticsunited)

Gymnastike is doing a good job covering the meet. So far, the site has only posted videos of the elite gymnasts' UB routines, but we trust the other events will follow soon. To get to the videos, go here and scroll down to the bottom left-hand side of the page. We've picked out a few highlights for you:

Natalia Kononenko, UB: Yes, she falls, but that Tkatchev-half-Jaeger combo is wonderful, and the rest of the routine (Hindorff, Pak and Ray, all with great form) isn't too shabby either. Seems Ukraine has produced yet another great bar worker.

Laura Svilpaite, UB: She slightly arches her back on her handstands, but even so she's amazing to watch. Great form, great extension, great lines, and good skills (inner Stalder-full-Tkatchev, Pak, double layout dismount). It's easy to see why this routine got the highest score of the day (14.750). We can't wait to see more of Svilpaite.

Yana Demyanchuk, UB: Good skills (toe-on Tkatchev, hop-full to Tkatchev, Pak, full-out dismount) combined with good form. Yep, here's another very solid Ukrainian bar worker.

Christa Tanella, UB: Not in the same league as Kononenko, Demyanchuk and Svilpaite, but still, solid stuff from the AA winner.

Sarah Persinger, UB: Ray, straddled Jaeger, full-in dismount. Some form breaks, but nice enough lines.

Anysia Unick, UB: Canada's Unick doesn't have the best form, but her mount (jump to handstand to closed-leg hecht to high bar) is interesting and difficult.

Last but not least, here is a post-meet interview with senior AA winner Christa Tanella, who says she was inspired by Rocky Balboa. Nice!

Keep an eye on Gymnastike for more WOGA Classic videos...