INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Twelve members of the current Men’s Senior National Team are among the country’s 80 top male gymnasts who are competing in the 2006 Winter Cup Challenge, Feb. 2-4, in Las Vegas. Based on performances at the Winter Cup, 14 will be named to the 2006 Men’s Senior National Team. This year’s Winter Cup Challenge is the first U.S. men’s event to use the new scoring system adopted by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) last year.

The 12 current members of the men’s senior national team who are seeking to retain that honor are:
  • Guillermo Alvarez of Blackfoot, Idaho/Team Chevron, the floor exercise champion at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo./Team Chevron, who is competing for the first time since shoulder surgery last summer;
  • Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Ohio State University, the alternate for the 2004 U.S. Men’s Olympic Gymnastics Team;
  • D.J. Bucher of Mason, Ohio/Ohio State University, the parallel bars gold medalist at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron, the defending Winter Cup champion and the all-around bronze medalist at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • 2004 Olympic silver-medalist Jason Gatson of Mesa, Ariz./Team Chevron;
  • Sean Golden of Houston/Team Chevron, the still rings and vault champion at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Jonathan Horton of Houston/University of Oklahoma, who competed on the two teams that won gold medals at the 2005 Pan American Championships and the NCAA Championships.
  • 2004 Olympic silver-medalist Brett McClure of Mill Creek, Wash./Team Chevron;
  • David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill./Stanford University, who was second in the all-around, floor exercise and vault at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Justin Spring of Burke, Va./University of Illinois, the horizontal bar titlist at the 2005 Visa Championships; and
  • Yewki Tomita of Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron, the pommel horse champion at the 2005 Visa Championships.
The complete 80-man field, which includes juniors and seniors, is listed below, featuring gymnasts from 22 states. California has the largest contingent with 11 gymnasts, followed by Texas with 10.
The new scoring system incorporates credit for the routine’s content and execution, and a gymnast’s score no longer is limited to a maximum of 10. In the United States, this system will be used at all elite level events; women’s Junior Olympics (Levels 1-10) and collegiate gymnastics will use the previous system, while men’s Junior Olympics and collegiate gymnastics are using a modified version.
The competition schedule is: Feb. 2, two individual event finals and all-around qualification sessions, 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Feb. 4, all-around finals, 6:30 p.m. The initial day of competition will feature 80 gymnasts, with the top 42 advancing to the all-around finals. Tickets are: Feb. 2, $20, adults, and $12, children, for both sessions; and Feb. 4, $20 per person. An all-event pass is available for $40, adults, and $30, children.
Based on the competition’s results, the top six from the all-around finals automatically qualify for the 2006 senior national team. Six more gymnasts will qualify based on a points system established by the Men’s Program Committee. The Men’s Program Committee will select the remaining two gymnasts.
The event has an added competition, the New Skills Challenge. This fun event is an opportunity for gymnasts to demonstrate new skills or sequences they are developing. Held in conjunction with the all-around finals on Feb. 4, the skills challenge will not only give gymnasts a chance to show something new, but also for fans to catch a glimpse of gymnastics’ future. A celebrity panel of judges will rank the skills on a scale up to 10.

2006 Winter Cup participants (as of 1/29/06)

Jason Gatson, Mesa, Ariz./Team Chevron
Yewki Tomita, Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron

Tyler Block, Kensington, Calif./University of California – Berkeley
Kyle Bunthuwong, El Cerrito, Calif./Golden Bear Gymnastics
Kyson Bunthuwong, El Cerrito, Calif./ University of California – Berkeley
Jason Chu, Bellflower, Calif./SCATS-HB
Bryan Del Castillo, Laguna Niguel, Calif./New Hope Gymnastics
Josh Dixon, San Jose, Calif./Champions Academy
Willie Ito, Huntington Beach, Calif./Ohio State University
Shawn Mowry, Fremont, Calif./ University of California – Berkeley
Sho Nakamori, Albany, Calif./Stanford University
Steve Spencer, Pleasanton, Calif./West Coast Olympic Gymnastics Academy
Kevin Tan, Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron

Alexander Artemev, Morrison, Colo./Team Chevron
Geoffrey Corrigan, Colorado Springs, Colo./Team Chevron
Lucas Hughes, Golden, Colo./5280 Gymnastics
Kyle Shanahan, Monument, Colo./Colorado Training Center
Gerry Signorelli, Colorado Springs, Colo./University of Michigan

Colin Christ, Palm Harbor, Fla./ University of California – Berkeley
Seung Tai Lee, Sorrento, Fla./Orlando Metro Gymnastics
Danell Leyva, Miami, Fla./Gattaca-Universal
Edward Mesa, Cooper City, Fla./Gattaca-Universal
Michael Reavis, Tallahassee, Fla./University of Iowa

Guillermo Alvarez, Blackfoot, Idaho/Team Chevron
Jeff Crockett, Boise, Idaho/University of Washington

Thomas Kelley, Libertyville, Ill./Buffalo Grove Gymnastics
Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill./Buffalo Grove Gymnastics
Geoffrey Reins, Buffalo Grove, Ill./University of Iowa
Alex Schorsch, Downers Grove, Ill./Stanford University
David Sender, Arlington heights, Ill./Stanford University
Nick Stavros, Hawthorne Woods, Ill./University of Illinois

Aaron Rakes, Lexington, Ky./University of Michigan

Matt Hicks, Baton Rouge, La./HGA/GymMasters

Dylan Carney, Dartmouth, Mass./Stanford University
R.J. Heflin, Norfolk, Mass./Gymnastics and More
Christopher Lung, Lexington, Mass./University of Illinois
Mel Anton Santander, Southborough, Mass./Mass Gym Center
Jason Shen, Newton, Mass./Stanford University
Luke Bottke, Saginaw, Mich./University of Michigan