At the 2017 USA Gymnastics Championships, six local girls and their coaches made history as the first USA Junior National Team for Group Rhythmic Gymnastics ever from the San Diego area. The rhythmic gymnasts will represent the USA in next month’s Pan American Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The talented team includes Samantha Mochel (Carmel Valley), Venice Park (Scripps Ranch), Celine Cen (4S Ranch), Anastasiya Ivanova (La Jolla), Ellen Peng(Carmel Mountain) and Alexandra Militeeva (4S Ranch). Alternate members are Helen Xu (4S Ranch) and Valerie Militeeva (4SRanch).
These athletes train 25 hour per week (35 during the summer) at Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Their team of coaches includes Group Coach Valentina Ivanova, Head Coach Larissa Nikitina and Senior Coach Svitlana (Sveta) Prokopova. Prokopova competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games and joined Emerald City’s staff last year. Nikitina is a longtime U.S. coach and Ivanova recently joined Emerald City’s staff from Bulgaria.
In addition to the team’s attempt to bring home a medal to San Diego for the United States next month at the Pan American Championships, they are also scheduled to represent the USA in international competition in 2018.