World all-around finalists Jazzy Kerber of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Rebecca Sereda of Staten Island, N.Y., headline the senior field for the 2014 Rhythmic Challenge, scheduled for Feb. 12-16 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center’s Sports Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. 2013 U.S. junior all-around champion Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, tops the junior field, which includes age-eligible gymnasts for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
More than 200 athletes are expected to compete in the Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational. The gymnasts on the junior and senior level are expected to debut their 2014 routines. In addition to the junior and senior levels, the Rhythmic Challenge also includes the Rhythmic Invitational with competition in levels 7-10. The Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational is the first national event for the athletes hoping to qualify to the 2014 Junior Olympics and USA Gymnastics Championships in Louisville, Ky., July 15-19.
The competition schedule for the Rhythmic Challenge is: Saturday – juniors at 5 p.m. and seniors at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday – juniors at 12 p.m. and seniors at 2 p.m. The Invitational features the age-group, developmental gymnasts and runs from Feb. 12-16: Feb. 12, 3:30-8:30 p.m.; Feb. 13, 3:30-10 p.m.; Feb. 14 – 1-10 p.m.; Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Feb. 16, 8:30-11:15 a.m. Admission is free.
This year’s Rhythmic Challenge is first step of the selection process for several international events in 2014: the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships; the Junior Pan American Championships, the qualifying event for North, Central and South American countries to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games; and the Youth Olympic Games.
Both the junior and senior groups will perform in conjunction with the Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational. The members of the senior rhythmic group are: Kiana Eide of Twin Cities Rhythmic/St. Francis, Minn.; Sharon Dassouli of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center/Northbrook, Ill.; Alisa Kano of Isadora/New York, N.Y.; Natalie McGiffert, Platinum Gymnastics Academy/Topanga, Calif.; Jennifer Rokhman of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center/Northbrook, Ill.; and Monica Rokhman of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center/Northbrook, Ill. The junior rhythmic group includes: Elizaveta Merezon of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center/Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Elina Nikerina of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center/Deerfield, Ill.; Sophia Popova of Twin Cities Rhythmic/Minneapolis, Minn.; Emily Rakhnansky of MatchPoint NYC/Brooklyn, N.Y.; Allison Roytburd of MatchPoint NYC/Brooklyn, N.Y.; Nicole Sladkov of Gymnastics Spot/Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Nicky Wojtana of Texas Rhythmic Academy/Plano, Texas.
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics, and group gymnastics (known internationally as Gymnastics for All). For more information, log on to www.usagym.org.