A new year means new senior gymnasts. Meet the seven new British Senior Squad members promoted from the junior ranks.
Club: St Tydfil
Coaches : Tracey Skirton, Mark Calton
The first of two Welsh gymnasts added to the senior national squad, Latalia Bevan is a veteran of British and Welsh international teams. Latalia first came to attention as a name to note when she finished eighth in the Level 3 National Voluntary Championships in 2011, then again the following year when she took British silver at voluntary 2.
In her first year as an Espoir in 2013, Latalia finished 16th AA at the British Championships in March, making the bars final and finishing 7th. Latalia also competed in her first School Games in 2013, where she took silver with the Welsh team, and an individual bronze on beam. There were two British Championships in 2013 as they transferred the competition from the spring to December where it has remained, by December Latalia improved her results hugely, at the second championships she placed 5th AA making three finals where she placed 4th on bars, eighth on beam, and took the bronze on floor.
In her second year as an Espoir, Latalia placed 11th AA at the British Championships, making the floor final where she finished 6th. She was selected for her second School Games, taking silver once more with the Welsh team, and adding an individual beam silver, as well as representing Wales again at the Northern European Championships where she took gold with the team, as well as gold on beam.
2015 was Latalia’s first year as a junior, she started well at the British finishing 6th AA making vault, bars, and beam finals where she placed 8th, 8th and 6th respectively. She won Team gold, the AA, bars, beam, and floor at the Celtic Cup, and was then selected for her first GB international, the F.I.T Challenge in Belgium where she finished 13th AA and 7th on floor. The Belgium international was followed by GB selection once more when she was part of the winning British junior team at the GB-ITA-GER friendly. Individually Latalia placed 8th AA including a very credible 4th on beam.
In the September Latalia competed in her third School Games where she led the Welsh team to the title, and took the AA gold, gold on bars, silver on beam, and bronze on floor. Later in the month Latalia led the Welsh team to the Northern European title, again taking the AA, and adding gold on beam and floor. Latalia finished her year by helping the British junior team to the Olympic Hopes title, where individually she placed third on vault, and second on floor. Heading into her final junior year, Latalia was one of Great Britain’s strongest junior gymnasts, and looking very likely for a spot on the junior European team.
2016 started well, although still a junior, Latalia competed in the Senior A category at the Brestyan International Las Vegas. She took the AA title, bronze on vault, gold on bars, beam, and floor. After this competition, Latalia unfortunately struggled with injury making it impossible for her to try for a place on the junior European team. She was out of competition until the autumn when she returned for her final School Games, again taking gold with the Welsh team, and the AA title for the second time, then travelled to Namibia to claim gold once more with the Welsh team at the Junior Commonwealth Games, where she also took silver on bars.
Finishing her junior career at the Olympic Hopes Cup helping the British team to silver, Latalia will hopefully be able to enter her senior career healthy as she works toward GB senior international selection, and selection to represent Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Latalia is a clean stylish gymnast with particular potential on beam and floor where her work is light, elegant, and beautiful to watch. Her floor choreography and performance level in particular is always a highlight.
Latalia on beam in late 2015 on her way to the School Games title.
Club: Park Wrekin
Coaches: Brett Ince, Christine Still
Alice Kinsella goes into the senior ranks as one one the strongest new young gymnasts having had a great final junior year. Alice has always been at the top of her age group, right from 2010 where at level 4 she took the national voluntary title. 4th in the combined national title at level 3 in 2011, then first in compulsories in 2012 at level two, plus third in the combined competition.
Entering the Espoir ranks in 2013, Alice took silver at the English Championships along with silver on beam, then placed 5th in her first British Espoirs as well as making bars and floor finals where she finished 5th and 7th respectively. In the second Espoirs of the year, Alice became British Champion on bars, a big achievement for a first year. In the same year, Alice was part of the Park Wrekin team to take bronze at the British Team Championships, as well as being selected for the School Games where she took gold with the English team, silver AA, silver on beam, and bronze on bars.
In her second Espoir year, Alice placed second AA at the English Championships, taking gold on vault and bars, she was again selected for the School Games where she took another team gold, another AA silver, and this time took gold on vault, and bronze on beam.
Alice was also selected to represent Great Britain at the Rushmoor Rosebowl where she took gold as part of a young British team, and achieved the 5th highest score of gymnasts across all ages.
At the British Espoir Championships in the December, Alice took AA bronze, gold on vault, and silver on bars.
Beginning her junior career in 2015, Alice placed 2nd AA at the English, then 12th AA at the British, making the floor final where she finished in 7th. Alice was selected for international duty at the F.I.T Challenge, where she helped the junior team to bronze, then the GB-ITA-GER-BRA international where she was part of the gold medal winning team placing 8th AA, 6th on vault, and 7th on bars. Another British Teams medal for her home club, this time a silver, then Alice gave warning of how strong she was going to be in 2016, by finishing her year as part of the Olympic Hopes winning team, as well as taking the AA title, and placing first on vault and beam.
In her final junior year, Alice started well at the International Gymnix where she took bronze on floor among the world’s best juniors, she then took the English AA title, silver on bars, and gold on beam and floor. At the British she had a rough day in the AA, but still finished in 4th place despite four falls such was her level of difficulty. On apparatus finals day she took the beam title making up for her AA disappointment. In May Alice was part of the gold medal winning team at the GB-ITA-GER international where she also took the AA title, unsurprisingly she was rewarded with a place on the team for junior Europeans.
Alice led the British Junior team to the silver medal at Junior Europeans, qualifying for AA, bars, beam and floor finals. In the AA Alice led at the half way point with her two strongest pieces to go, but an unfortunate fall on beam meant the title wasn’t to be hers. She finished in 5th place even with a major error, then in apparatus finals finished 4th on bars, and took silver on both beam and floor, a fantastic performance and achievement.
We saw Alice once more in 2016 when she recently competed at the Elite Massilia. A mixed competition for her, including qualifying first for the beam final ahead of the junior European Champion, and two of the Russian Olympic team. Alice also showed bars and floor upgrades here, in preparation for her senior debut.
Alice is a strong AA gymnast, with real potential to make future international finals on beam and floor in particular. She has a very good balance of the attributes you need for success with a positive mix of power and increasing elegance, with good execution. With the new team rules promoting the AA gymnast once more, she will be working hard to put herself on the major senior teams as the quad progresses, and she could very well get there which would be an enormous achievement given the increasing deapth of the British senior squad.
Alice’s silver medal winning floor from Junior Europeans
Coaches: Tracey Skirton, Mark Calton
Along with Alice, Maisie was the top junior of 2016. The second from the Welsh ranks, like Latalia, Maisie is part of the centralised Welsh system which is seeing their program go from strength to strength.
Maisie began her age group career in 2010 by placing second in Compulsory 4, she took the voluntary and combined British title at Compulsory 3 in 2011, then placed 4th at compulsory and voluntary 2 in 2012.
In her first British Espoir Championships in 2013, Maisie placed 4th AA, and took gold on vault, and silver on bars. Representing Wales at the School Games, Maisie took silver with her team, bronze AA, and on vault. At the second British Espoir Championships of the year, placed 8th AA, and took vault bronze. In 2014, Maisie had a great start to the year winning the British Espoir Championships, and taking silver on vault and floor, and bronze on bars. There was further success later in the year when she again represented Wales at the School Games, taking silver again with her team, bronze in the AA, silver on vault, and bronze on beam and floor. At the Northern European Championships Maisie won gold with the Welsh team, and silver on floor, she was also selected to compete for Great Britain at the Rushmoor Rosebowl, where she took gold with the team, and on bars against much older and more experienced gymnasts.
In to the junior ranks in 2015, and a great start for Maisie as she took the silver AA, bronze on bars, and silver on beam at British Junior Championships, the most successful of the new juniors. Maisie was selected for the GB-FRA-SUI international helping the GB team to silver, she was also selected for the F.I.T challenge placing third with the British junior team, including fifth on beam. Another GB call up followed with a place on the gold medal winning team for the GB-ITA-GER-BRA international in July, then in August Maisie got her first big international call up when she went to Tbilisi Georgia for the European Youth Olympic Festival. Placing 7th with the team, Maisie qualified to AA, vault and beam finals. In the AA she placed 12th, second of the first year juniors, on vault she placed 7th, and on beam she competed superbly to take the silver.
Maisie competed in her third School Games in September, taking gold with the Welsh team, bronze in the AA, silver on bars and floor, and gold on beam. Finishing her first junior year with selection for the prestigious International Japan Junior, Maisie finished 10th AA and made the vault final where she finished 7th.
For her final year in the junior ranks, Maisie began her year at the Brestyan Invitational in Las Vegas where she took silver AA, gold on vault, and silver on beam and floor. Maisie was then selected for the International Gymnix, where she qualified for both the vault and bars finals, finishing in 6th on both.
In April, Maisie competed brilliantly to take the AA British Junior title, she added silver on both vault and floor in apparatus finals. In the final competition before Junior European Championships, Maisie was part of the British team to win the GB-ITA-GER International, she placed 5th AA despite a fall on her new double Arabian, and third on beam. One of the expected members of the junior European team, Maisie helped the team to the silver medal, qualifying for AA and beam finals individually. A bit of a rough start on bars in the AA, Maisie fought back well to finish fifth overall. She then competed well on beam with some beautiful work to place fifth, a couple of wobbles keeping her off the podium.
For her final School Games in September, Maisie again took gold with the Welsh team, and placed second AA. It was so nearly a clean sweep for her as she then took every single apparatus final gold. Maisie’s last completion of her junior career was the Junior Commonwealth Games in October. Gold with the Welsh team, bronze AA, as well as on beam and floor, Maisie will now concentrate on upgrading her routines ready to join the senior ranks.
Another strong AA gymnast with a good beam pedigree, Maisie’s gymnastics is clean, light and elegant as we expect from the Welsh gymnasts. She is a lovely gymnast to watch, and is well paced so as to steadily increase her difficulty while maintaining her clean execution. Like Latalia, I expect to see Maisie leading the Welsh team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and fight for her spot on British Senior teams as the quad progresses
Maisie’s AA Floor from the AA Junior European Final.
Club: Park Wrekin
Coaches: Brett Ince, Jemma Parry
The second of the Park Wrekin girls new to the senior squad, and one of four for 2017, Ellesse Oates has steadily climbed the ranks over the last couple of years to finish her junior career among the top British gymnasts.
As an age group gymnast, Ellesse broke into the top ten at level 2 when she finished 8th in compulsories, and 9th combined. A year later she placed 7th AA at her first English Espoir Championships, she missed the the British, then returned for the Rushmoor Rosebowl where she won the Jim White trophy as the highest placed under 13 gymnast in the competition. At the British Espoirs that December, Ellesse placed 28th AA, after a tough competition with four falls, despite the errors, you could see the potential was there.
In to her second Espoir year in 2014, Ellesse finished 15th AA at the English Championships, then 20th at the British where she made the bar final, and finished in 5th. Ellesse helped her Park Wrekin team to silver at the British Teams, finishing 14th AA.
Ellesse had a quieter 2015 for her first junior year, she only competed on bars at both the English and British Championships, she returned to AA competition in September when she helped Park Wrekin to silver once more at British Teams, and did very well to finish 5th AA in this open age competition.
2016 started very well for Ellesse, she was selected as part of the British team for International Gymnix, then scored 52.050 to help Park Wrekin to 4th place at British Teams. Ellesse placed 7th AA and second on vault at the English Championships, then In March at the British Championships, she had a great competition to take the bronze AA, and silver on bars in apparatus finals.
Another international call up followed with the GB-FRA-SUI-GER international where she won gold with the team, Ellesse was then named as one of the reserves for the junior European team.
In September Ellesse competed for England at the School Games helping her team to the silver medal. She placed 7th AA, making beam and floor finals where she finished 6th on both pieces.
Ellesse is strongest on bars, where she stands out with a nice swing and clean lines. We haven’t seen her in competition since the School Games, so I really look forward to seeing how she has progressed when competition gets going again in March, and then be able to watch her climb up through the senior ranks.
Ellesse taking the British Junior bars silver earlier this year.
Club: City Of Birmingham
Coach: Jody Kime
Megan Parker is the first of what I suspect will be a long line of City of Birmingham gymnasts coming into the British Senior squad over this next quad. Always a stylish and clean gymnast from the very off, Megan placed 7th at Voluntary level four in 2010, then took silver in compulsory three the following year, placing 5th in the combined British. At level two she remained in the top gymnasts of her age, placing third in both compulsory and voluntary three, and taking second place over all combined.
In her first year as an Espoir, Megan missed both the English and British Championships, but was able to compete for her club at the British Teams. In 2014, Megan placed 4th on beam at the English, then 6th AA at the British where she also took silver on beam. Megan also competed at British Teams helping her young team to 8th place, and finishing 14th individually. At the end of the Year Megan competed with her City of Birmingham team mates at the Coupe Avenir where she took gold both with her team and on bars.
Megan started her junior career well, with 6th AA at the English, and bronze on bars. She placed 7th AA at the British, making beam and floor finals finishing in eighth, and fifth respectively.
Megan was selected for the English team at the School Games, where she led them to the silver medal, and individually took AA silver, and floor gold for herself.
In the autumn, Megan was part of the City of Birmingham team to take the Bill McLoughlin British junior team title by ten points, she was then selected to represent Great Britain at the Rushmoor Rosebowl where she took gold with the team, the AA title, silver on bars, and gold on beam. Finishing her year with another GB call up at the Olympic Hopes Cup, Megan once again took gold with her team, individually placing 10th AA, and second on bars.
For her final junior year, Megan joined her club team mates at the British Team Championships, stepping up from the junior competition. Finishing in 8th place as a team, Megan placed 4th on bars only behind British senior squad members.
4th AA at the English, with bronze on beam, and silver on floor, her final British Championships in the junior ranks saw Megan have a rough outing on beam to finish in ninth AA, but come back in apparatus finals where she took gold on bars to become British Junior Champion.
Megan was selected to represent Great Britain in the GB-FRA-SUI-GER international where she helped the team to the gold medal, she finished second AA, first on bars and floor, and second on beam. Selected internationally again, this time for GB-ITA-GER, Megan again won gold with the British team, cementing her place on the British team for Junior Europeans.
Megan of course won silver with her team in Europe, she also qualified to the floor final, where her style and expression was well appreciated by the crowd and she competed very well placing 6th.
Junior Europeans was the last time we saw Megan in competition this year, giving her a long period of time to prepare for her senior debut. Megan has shown a few training upgrades, in particular a beautiful toe on one and a half turns on the low bar which I honestly haven’t ever seen performed better. For me, Megan is another of the junior girls who work really well to their strengths, not a powerful gymnast, she is unlikely to ever be a huge vaulter, but GB have a few of those. What she can bring is very clean appealing gymnastics with increasing difficulty and high E scores, qualities that are always appreciated.
Megan’s floor from the Junior European final.
Club: Leatherhead and Dorking
Coaches: Alberto Cacace, Sadie Makinson
Sophie Scott is another junior that had a quieter start to her career, then climbed throught the ranks. She first entered age groups at voluntary three finishing 7th, the next year retook her compulsory two in the latter half of the year passing and qualifying for the British.
Sophie missed 2013 as a first year Espoir, then came back well in 2014 placing 11th AA at the English, then 13th AA at the British making the floor final where she finished 6th. She competed for Leatherhead and Dorking at the British Team Championships, and was selected to compete for England at the Rushmoor Rosebowl finishing 4th with the team, including 4th on vault, and 6th on beam.
Into the junior ranks, and Sophie placed 7th AA at the English, taking bronze on vault, then 9th AA at the British making two finals finishing 5th on vault, and 8th on floor.
Sophie was selected for the School Games on the English team where she helped them to the silver medal, finished 4th AA, and took gold in the vault final. Selection for Great Britain followed at the Rushmoor Rosebowl, when she was part of the gold medal winning team, took silver AA, and gold on vault and bars, a great competition for her.
In her final junior year, Sophie was battling knee injury at the beginning of the year, missing the English Championships, then at the British competing on just vault and bars. In the AA Sophie was the highest scorer on an individual vault, and the third highest scorer on bars, so a good day for her on the pieces she was able to compete. In finals, Sophie vaulted really well, again the top scoring individual vault, and enough to take the title to become British Champion. On bars again she competed well, this time to finish in 4th.
Sophie was selected for the GB-FRA-SUI-GER International where she helped the team to gold, was the top scorer on vault, and sixth on beam. She was also selected for the GB-ITA-GER International where she again helped the team to gold.
Sophie was a reserve for the junior European Championships, a great achievement after a very tough year. She was injured again later last year with a slipped disc in her back, so I am sure everyone wishes a good injury free run for her once recovered. Sophie is one of those gymnasts with big potential that just needs to have the chance to be able to fulfil it, she has some big skills in training that hopefully she will be able to bring to the competition floor.
Sophie on her way to becoming British Junior Vault Champion
Club: City of Liverpool
Coach: Claire Hynd
Last up, and last in a long line of Liverpool ladies to be added to the British Senior Squad, Lucy Stanhope. Lucy started to make a splash as a first year Espoir, in 2013 when having been ranked around the middle of her age group as a very young gymnast, she then placed 5th AA at the English Championships, and took the beam title. At the British Championships in the same year, she was 8th AA, making three finals placing 3rd on vault, 4th on bars, and 8th on floor.
Lucy was also selected for team England at the School Games, and helped her team to the gold medal. At the second British Espoir Championships of the year, Lucy took bronze AA, made all four finals, and took silver on beam.
In her second year as an Espoir, Lucy took the English AA title and silver on beam, she followed that up with silver AA at the British, gold on beam, silver on floor, and bronze on vault. She was also part of the gold medal winning Liverpool team to take the British team title. In the autumn Lucy was part of the winning British team at the Rushmoor Rosebowl, placing 5th AA, and taking silver on floor.
In her first year as a junior, Lucy placed 4th AA at the English picking up silvers on vault and bars, and bronze on beam. At her first junior British, she was 8th AA, winning bronze on vault, and making the beam final where she finished 5th.
Lucy was called up for international duty taking team bronze at the F.I.T Challenge and placing highest of the British juniors AA in 8th, and 4th on beam. She was also selected for the GB-ITA-GER international, where she helped the team to gold, then again for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi. The team finished 7th at EYOF with Lucy qualifying for the AA, but sadly injuring herself in warm up.
Lucy was back for Liverpool at the British team championships later in the year, where she helped her team to yet another title.
In her final junior year, Lucy started off at British teams helping Liverpool to the silver, and placing an impressive 7th on bars, the second highest of the juniors. At the English Championships she took bronze AA, then at the British she placed 7th, taking bronze on vault and bars. Lucy was part of both junior internationals leading up to Junior Europeans, gold with the team against France, Switzerland and Germany, then gold again in the GB-ITA-GER friendly. Junior European section followed, and Lucy competed really well to help the team to silver, particularly on beam where she produced her highest ever score. After junior Europeans we didn’t see Lucy for a little while due to injury, where she was forced to miss the School Games. She did return for the recent Elite Massilia where she competed very well on vault as the highest GB scorer, she had a fall on bars, but came with a reworked and upgraded routine with great promise for this year, and did a strong beam during the team competition qualifying to the final.
Lucy like Megan isn’t a hugely powerful gymnast, but is progressing very well as a tidy AA’er where she has particular potential on bars and beam. when she is competing confidently, she is a really lovely gymnast to watch, with nice lines, and a poise and elegance to her work that I really appreciate.
Lucy’s recent beam from Elite Massilia
Good luck with the start of your senior careers girls!