DENVER, Colo. — After two nights and two rounds of competition Kristy Powell, River Forest, Ill., and Vanessa Atler, Canyon Country, Calif., emerged as all-around co-champions of the women’s senior division at the 1997 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships, held Saturday night at McNichols Arena.

It was the first senior division all-around title for both. Atler earned the honor in the junior division last year.
“I’ve waited for this my whole life,” said Powell, who will lead the six-member U.S. team into the 1997 World Championships, scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 7 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Atler led entering the fourth rotation, but fell during her uneven bars routine, scoring an 8.650. That opened the door for Powell, who scored a 9.300 on beam, propelling her into the tie.
“I was nervous on bars because I looked at the scoreboard,” Atler said. “My coaches (Beth and Steve Rybacki) keep telling me not to do that, but I couldn’t help it.”
Although their results are the same, the near future for Powell and Atler will be marked different. While Powell heads to Switzerland, Atler heads home due to the International Gymnastics Federation age minimum. The rule, which goes into effect this year, requires women’s gymnasts to turn 16 in the year of the World Championships competition. Atler misses the cutoff by 48 days.
“I wanted to come in, do my new tricks and have fun,” Atler said. “I was disappointed (about the rule) at first, but I can’t do anything about it. I think it’s a fair rule — it’s good in some ways and bad in others.”
Two other athletes who finished in the top six also fell victim to the age minimum: Jamie Dantzscher, Palmdale, Calif., a teammate of Atler at Gliders Gymnastics, and Lindsay Wing, Cypress, Texas, who missed the cutoff for the age minimum by only 21 days.
Joining Powell on the World Championships Team are 1996 Olympian Dominique Moceanu, Houston, Texas; Mohini Bhardwaj, Cincinnati, Ohio; Kristin Maloney, Pen Argyl, Pa., Jennie Thompson, Wichita Falls, Texas; and Kendall Beck, San Antonio, Texas.
In junior women’s competition earlier in the day, Marline Stephens of Houston, Texas, was one of five Texas products to place in the top 10. Her 71.062 gave her the junior division all-around title held by Atler.

Senior Women’s All-Around
McNichols Arena, Denver, Colo.

(top 20 named to 1997 U.S. Senior National Team, * indicates selection to 1997 World Championships Team)

All-Around Finals

1 (tie), Vanessa Atler, Canyon Country, Calif., and Kristy Powell*, River Forest, Ill., 74.612. 3, Mohini Bhardwaj*, Cincinnati, Ohio, 74.212. 4, Kristin Maloney*, Pen Argyl, Pa., 73.862. 5, Lindsay Wing, Cypress, Texas, 73.712. 6, Jamie Dantzscher, Palmdale, Calif., 73.587. 7, Jennie Thompson*, Wichita Falls, Texas, 72.937. 8, Kendall Beck*, San Antonio, Texas, 72.750. 9, Dominique Moceanu*, Houston, Texas, 72.474. 10, Jeanette Antolin, Huntington Beach, Calif., 72.249. 11, Kaitie Dyson, Houston, Texas, 71.349. 12, Shannon Bowles, Lee, N.H., 71.337. 13, Amy Young, Diamond Bar, Calif., 70.899. 14, Mary Beth, Arnold Sparks, Nev., 70.800. 15, Alecia Ingram, Knoxville, Tenn., 70.724. 16, Kelly Parkinson, Houston, Texas, 70.162. 17, Raegan Tomasek, Mastic Beach, N.Y., 69.887. 18, Becky Meldrum, Mertztown, Pa., 69.549. 19, Jeana Rice, Longwood, Fla., 69.537. 20, Alyssa Beckerman, Red Bank, N.J., 68.337. 21 (tie), Nicole Kilpatrick, Ringwood, N.J., and Chari Knight-Hunter, Eugene, Ore., 67.600. 23, Talya Vexler, Amherst, Mass., 67.312. 24, Lenna Doolan, Fairfax, Va., 67.237. 25, Annie Campbell, Everett, Wash., 67.212. 26, Jennifer Carow, Waukesha, Wis., 67.137. 27, Kristen Jensen, Easton, Pa., 67.012. 28, Amy Kuczera, Bloomingdale, Ill., 66.825. 29, Cory Fritzinger, Virginia Beach, Va., 66.824. 30, Nicole Bongiovanni, Meriden, Conn., 66.387. 31, Soni Meduna, Colon, Neb., 66.187. 32, Breanne Rutherford, Simsbury, Conn., 63.825. 33, Katie McFarland, Virginia Beach, Va., 40.600. 34, Kristen Stucky, Milwaukee, Wis., 35.625. 35, Alison Stoner, Laguna Hills, Calif., 6.950.

Junior Women’s All-Around
McNichols Arena, Denver, Colo.

(top 20 named to 1997 U.S. Junior National Team)


1, Marline Stephens, Houston, Texas 71.062. 2, Sierra Sapunar, Sebastopol, Calif., 70.724. 3, Kristin Thome, Sugar Land, Texas 70.474. 4, Elise Ray, Columbia, Md., 70.412. 5, Melinda Baimbridge, Webster, Texas, 69.837. 6, Carri Nagle, Whitehall, Pa., 69.100. 7, Erinn Dooley, Gaithersburg, Md., 69.050. 8, Brittany Thome, Sugar Land, Texas, 68.812. 9, Brittany Smith, Houston, Texas, 68.512. 10, Ashley, Miles San Antonio, Texas, 68.449. 11, Alexis Maday, Frederick, Md., 68.437. 12, Morgan White, Coconut Creek, Fla., 68.287. 13, Sheehan Lemley, DeSoto, Texas, 68.200. 14, Monique Chang, Fairfax Station, Va., 68.087. 15, Breasha Pruitt, Henderson, Ky., 67.962. 16, Annabeth Eberle, Reno, Nev., 67.837. 17, Stephanie Carter, Bryn Athyn, Pa., 67.637. 18, Julie Pigg, Edmond, Okla., 67.625. 19, Audra Fraim, Edmond, Okla., 67.537. 20, Christy Ray, Germantown, Md., 67.524. 21, Rachel Glasmire, Center Valley, Pa., 67.512. 22, Angela Beam, Lewisville, Texas, 67.049. 23, Trisha Dixon, Sacramento, Calif., 66.987. 24, Jessica Pelz, Sacramento, Calif., 66.399. 25, Kara Kapernekas, Westchester, Ill., 66.237. 26, Jessica Bartgis, Frederick, Md., 8.000.