INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Aug. 9, 2007—Two-time defending U.S. men’s pair champions Julian Amaro of Pleasanton, Calif., and Tyler Spray of Livermore, Calif., are two of 27 acrobatic gymnasts competing in the junior and senior elite divisions at the 2007 Visa Championships, Aug. 15-18 in San Jose, Calif. In addition to national titles, berths on the 2007 U.S. Acrobatic Gymnastics National Team are at stake.


Also competing is the trio of Mariah Henninger of Walnut Creek, Calif., Ally Kidd of Livermore, Calif., and Tisa Penny of San Leandro, Calif., who won the 2006 U.S. women’s group title and claimed the bronze medal in April at the World Cup Final. The mixed pair of Andre Solodar of San Jose, Calif., and Xiau-Ling Wee of Monte Sereno, Calif., who also earned bronze at the World Cup Final, is also scheduled to compete.


The elite field breaks down into 17 seniors and 10 juniors, representing five states. Twenty gymnasts are from or train in the Bay Area. The complete field is listed below.


A competition for acrobatic gymnasts in Levels 8-10 is being held in conjunction with the elite competition at the Visa Championships. Eighteen gymnasts will vie for available spots on the Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Team and for consideration for future international competitions, in addition to gaining additional experience.


The schedule for acrobatic gymnastics opens on Friday, Aug. 17 at 10 a.m., followed by a second session at 2 p.m. The final round is Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. Acrobatic gymnastics competition is at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.


Acrobatic gymnastics, previously referred to as sport acrobatics, combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics. Gymnastics skills add excitement to the exercises, while intense acrobatic balances show grace, strength and flexibility. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise. The combined routine unites elements of balance and dynamic.


An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A womens group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a mens group has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. Bases generally are older athletes who display strength and balance and top partners generally are younger athletes who display flexibility and agility. Middle partners often are required to show a combination of all attributes.


The U.S. champions for men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics are determined at the Visa Championships, gymnastics’ national championships.  Artistic gymnastics will be held at HP Pavilion at San Jose, and rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics are set for the