In part two of this quad in review of the British juniors, I look at the major competitions of 2015 and 2016. If you would like to read about the first two years of the quad, see part one:
2015 Junior British AA medalists Catherine Lyons, Maisie Methuen, Georgia-Mae Fenton.
2015 began, as many expected it to, with the total domination of national events by Catherine Lyons. She first competed at the Welsh championships where she won the open category with ease. Catherine added a Maloney uprise to Shang which she didn’t catch here, but still a big skill. She also upgraded her full spin with free leg held vertical to a one and a half, and added in a change ring on beam. At the English championships a couple of weeks later, Catherine again had a fall on the Shang, and this time on her double pike on floor. However, despite the errors, she still took gold AA, gold on vault, gold on beam, and gold on floor.
At the British championships, Catherine was almost unbeatable. AA gold, vault, beam and floor gold, bars silver. Just under three points ahead in the AA with 55.60, and in apparatus finals her AA total for the day was 56.700. This was without any upgrades her routines other than the change to ring on beam. Beautiful clean work giving her high E scores as ever. The 14.700 for her apparatus finals beam, the highest British beam score of 2015 for any gymnast of any age.
Following on from the British, Catherine was automatically selected for EYOF and the Japan junior, I would have expected multiple medals at both, and looking back at the scores from the competition, this is entirely realistic. Sadly it was not to be, in May Catherine attended a smaller competition, trying out new upgrades in preparation to take on the best of the world’s juniors. She brought back the Maloney to Shang on bars and the one and a half spin on beam, she tumbled a new one and a half to double twisting straight front on floor, and added a full twisting ring leap. She also successfully warmed up her new double twisting Yurchenko vault, but didn’t get to compete it, as after floor she felt a pain in her foot which turned out to be a stress fracture, which was sadly the beginning of a stream of injuries keeping her out of competition from that point. Catherine had also shown a very strong looking whip to triple twist and double layout in training, as well as working the triple twist beam dismount.
Although we did not see Catherine in open competition this year, she was able to compete AA on day one of the closed Olympic trials at Lilleshall in June. Although not in the top five which is completely understandable, as such a long absence and unrelenting injury meant she was unable to add her upgrades in, getting to trials and competing AA after such a long time away was a victory in itself.
2015 also saw second year juniors continue to make a name for themselves, and a new crop of young gymnasts entering the junior ranks. Familiar names to those that follow the age group and Espoir rankings, and new gymnasts to watch for those that had not. At the English Championships Phoebe Turner took silver AA and silver on beam, Alice Kinsella took AA bronze, and bars gold, Lucy Stanhope took silver on vault and bars, and bronze on floor, Megan Parker bronze on bars, Sophie Scott bronze on vault, Georgia Mae Fenton silver on floor, and Amelia Montague bronze on vault.
Two weeks later at the British championships, the strength of the up and coming young Welsh team was hugely apparent, as they placed three first year juniors in the top ten, with Maisie Methuen taking silver, Latalia Bevan placing sixth, and Holly Jones tenth. Scotland also had a rising star in first year junior Lousie McColgan who placed 4th AA. With Catherine taking gold, and Maisie silver, Georgia Mae Fenton took the bronze. Phoebe Turner did well again to place fifth, first years Megan Parker, Lucy Stanhope, and Sophie Scott also finished in the top ten, in seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively.
Georgia was the only gymnast to stop Catherine’s clean sweep, when she took the bars gold, Catherine as I have said took silver, and Maisie the bronze. On vault, silver and bronze went to Lucy Stanhope, and Jenna Arnot, beam silver to Maisie, and bronze to Louise McColgan, floor silver to Louise McColgan, and bronze to Holly Jones.
There was a real impression of focus on clean work, high E scores, and encouraging artistic development from the juniors, with many different performance styles represented beautifully. There was also a lot of very promising beam work here from several different gymnasts, strong beam workers of course being something you can never have enough of!
There are far too many routines to add, so I have added just three that stood out from the available routines of the medalists.
Georgia AF bars
Maisie AA beam
Louise AF floor
Several junior internationals followed, At the end of April Maisie Methuen, Lucy Stanhope, Georgia-Mae Fenton, Phoebe Turner, Abigail Solari, and Louise McColgan took on France and Switzerland placing second as a team, with Georgia placing third AA. Maisie, Georgia and Lucy were then selected for the F.I.T Challenge, and joined by Alice Kinsella and Latalia Bevan where as a team they placed third. In July Georgia, Lucy, Maisie, Latalia, Abi, and Alice won the four way international friendly against Italy, Germany, and Brazil, with Georgia again taking AA bronze.
The next big international event for the juniors was EYOF, Lucy, Maisie and Georgia were selected to travel to Tbilisi in Georgia. The girls had a mixed competition in the team event with some errors, but finished in 7th over all with Lucy and Maisie advancing to the AA, and Maisie to vault and beam finals. Lucy was unfortunately injured after three events, and unable to complete her AA final, Maisie finished 12th AA, second of the 2001 born gymnasts in a field of mostly 2000’s. In apparatus finals Maisie vaulted well to finish in 7th place, and on beam she held her nerve to claim a fantastic silver medal with the highest E score of the day. Frustratingly video of this routine has yet to emerge, but here is Lucy’s Team competition vault, Maisie’s apparatus finals bars, and Georgia’s Team event bars.
Moving towards the end of the year, Latalia Bevan took the School Games and Northern European titles in quick succession, then Maisie travelled to Yokohama Japan for the International Japan Junior. Again one of the younger competitors, Maisie finished tenth AA with a fall on beam keeping her out of a top six finish. Maisie also did very well to make the vault final, where she finished seventh.
The juniors wrapped up their international competition with the Olympic Hopes Cup in Liberec Czech Republic. With Espoir Jolie Ruckley, four first year juniors in Latalia Bevan, Alice Kinsella, Amelia Montague, and Megan Parker, and second year senior Teal Grindle, the team took the title ahead of the Chinese team comprised wholly of second year juniors. Alice took the AA title, placing first on vault and beam, Megan was second on bars, Teal second on beam, Latalia second on floor, and third on vault.
2016 was to be a big year for the juniors, as the junior European Championships came round again. For those in contention, everything would be geared toward selection. Early on, three gymnasts in contention were taken out of the running by injury, Louise McColgan, Jolie Ruckley, and Latalia Bevan all missing out on fighting for their spots. Latalia returned to full competition last month at the School Games, Jolie who remains in the junior ranks in 2017, and Louise who moves into seniors next year, continue to rehab.
The first competition of the year, the International Gymnix. A very prestigious world wide event, where we see many of the world’s top juniors, including teams from the USA, Russia, Canada, Romania, and Japan. Alice and Maisie were selected, and joined by Ellesse Oates, and Taeja James, who were awarded their first international call ups. The girls had a mixed outing in the team competition, a couple of falls, and some breaks and wobbles on beam, but some good vaults and floors. We saw quite a few upgrades from the girls here, Alice in particular, clearly new work to be tested moving towards junior Europeans. A 7th place finish for the team, plus vault final for Maisie and Alice, where they finished sixth and eighth respectively, and floor final for Alice where she hit all of her new work really well to take the bronze.
At the English Championships Alice took the title followed by Taeja then Lucy. An excellent AA showing from Alice saw her also take gold on beam and floor, and silver on bars. Taeja took the vault and bars titles, and silver on beam, Megan Parker took silver on floor and bronze on beam, Ellesse Oates and Megan Bridge silver and bronze on vault, Chiara Bunce bronze on beam, and Megan Splain bronze on floor.
Maisie Methuen competing as a guest had the second highest AA total, worth noting as the girls headed to the British championships.
Just a couple of weeks later, Maisie took the British junior title with a great AA competition, clean beautiful gymnastics as ever. Taeja even with a fall took silver just four months after taking the British Espoir bronze, and Ellesse Oates also had a great day to take the AA bronze. Alice had a day to forget, yet despite counting three falls and a substantial error, she finished fourth, her potential very apparent.
In apparatus finals Sophie Scott took the vault title with her traditionally strong vaulting. Sophie has also been unlucky with injury this year, a powerful gymnast with great potential, I hope she is able to return at full strength for her first year as a senior. Maisie took silver, and Lucy Stanhope who’d unfortunately had a rough day in the AA vaulted well to take the bronze. Megan Parker who’s also had a tough AA competition took the bars title, Ellesse the silver, and Lucy another bronze. Alice had a far better outing on beam to take the title, Amelia Montague the silver, and India Sale the bronze. Finally on floor, Zoe Simmons took the title with her fun and energetic routine, Maisie took silver, and Taeja bronze.
Maisie AA Floor
Taeja AA floor
Ellesse AA Beam
Sophie AF Vault
Megan AF Bars
Alice AF Beam
Zoe AF Floor
Ahead of final selection for junior Europeans, two international friendlies followed. Firstly Taeja, Zoe, Lucy, Ellesse, Megan and Sophie travelled to Switzerland, to take on the Swiss, French, and German junior teams. The British team won the event, with Taeja taking the AA, and Megan the silver, Sophie topped the vault standings, with Taeja third, Megan won bars, with Taeja third, Megan was also second on beam, and first on floor.
For the second international just over a week before junior Europeans, the team of Alice, Maisie, Taeja, Lucy, Megan and Sophie took on Italy and Germany in Carpiano, where again they took the title, with Alice coming out top AA.
And so, with all the trials done, the junior team of Alice Kinsella, Maisie Methuen, Taeja James, Lucy Stanhope and Megan Parker was announced, and the girls headed to Bern to take on the best juniors in Europe. If you have read the first part of this quad in review post, you’ll remember that the 2014 British juniors were the first to take a team junior European medal, could this team emulate their achievement?
In the team competition, they did exactly that. Three scores counting on each piece, starting on beam, Lucy hit her best ever routine with the third highest E score of the day, Maisie and Alice made it through to beam finals, a fall for Taeja on her layout, but well recovered. On floor Megan and Alice qualified for finals, and Taeja was strong Maisie had a little trouble on her opening tumble, but great work after that. Vault was strong from everyone, Taeja had a technical issue on her first vault, I think going before the green light, a huge shame as she would likely have had a place in the final. Finishing on bars, Alice made the final, safely through from Maisie and Taeja, and a fighting performance from Megan. Silver again to the British team, a fantastic result from these young gymnasts.
In the AA, Maisie wasn’t at her absolute best on bars and beam, although no major errors she did lose a little ground. She then had a much stronger second half of the competition, clean beautiful work on floor, and strong vaulting finishing 4th overall when not even at her absolute best was very impressive. Alice started well on vault then bars, leading the competition at the half way point with two very strong pieces to go. Unfortunately a fall on beam along with a large wobble ended her title hopes, but a strong floor saw her finish in 5th place even with such sizeable errors.
Apparatus finals saw Alice finish fifth on bars, up two places from qualification, Maisie had two reasonable sized wobbles on beam which kept her off the podium, but again clean, light, extended work throughout. Alice got her redemption from the AA by hitting her beam and in taking silver become the first British junior European medalist on this piece. Finally on floor Megan finished sixth having performed beautifully with great appreciation from the crowd for her stylish artistic work, Alice finished an amazing day for her by taking another silver giving her three medals to take home.
Again too many beautiful routines from all the girls, so just one from each:
Megan Floor AF
Lucy Beam TF
Taeja Vault TF
Maisie Floor AA
Alice Beam AF
Junior Europeans was the big event of the year for the juniors, and we haven’t yet seen any of the team but Maisie in competition since.
Maisie of course represented Wales at the School Games where she took gold with her team, silver AA, and each apparatus final gold. We also saw team mate Latalia Bevan return, and take the AA title.
At posting, the Welsh juniors are still in Namibia where the team of Maisie, Latalia, Zoe Simmons, Holly Jones, and Emily Thomas took the team, AA, and every event title along with many other medals.
The Rushmoor Rosebowl and Olympic Hopes are still to come before the year is fully finished for the British juniors, but in terms of major competition, we are now looking ahead to the new cycle.
As I said in the first post, this has simply been the most successful quad ever for the British junior gymnasts, and the strongest generation to date. There are some hugely exciting juniors coming through over the next four years as we go through the 2017-2020 quad, and I can’t wait to see how they develop, their progression toward the senior ranks, and the results they bring in. I’ve really enjoyed reliving the quad through these posts, and I hope you have too, here’s to the next four years!