© John Cheng

DES MOINES, Iowa, July 25, 2009 – Olivia Courtney of Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro won the all-around title with a score of 57.40 at the CoverGirl Classic at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. 2008 Olympic Team alternate Ivana Hong of Plano, Texas/WOGA, finished second with a 56.450, and Kaitlyn Clark of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Precision Gymnastics finished third with a 55.050. The CoverGirl Classic was the last opportunity for women to qualify for the 2009 Visa Championships, being held Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas.

Hong led the first three rotations of the competition , but had difficulties on her uneven bar dismount in the final rotation. Courtney hit a double-twisting Yurchenko on vault to pull ahead of Hong and win the title.

Courtney said, “I’m very happy to win the all-around title. I’ve been working hard and I’m happy my hard work paid off.”

Kayla Williams of Huntington, W.V., won two event titles – vault and floor exercise – with scores of 15.050 and 14.500. Williams said, “This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. This is my first elite competition and I can’t wait to compete at Visa Championships.”

Finishing second on vault was 2008 Olympic team silver medalist Samantha Peszek with a score of 14.850. Hong placed third with a 14.800. Both Peszek and Hong competed double-twisting Yurchenko vaults.

Cassandra Whitcomb of Colorado Springs, Colo./Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy won bars with a score of 14.650. Courtney finished second on uneven bars with a 14.400, and Rebecca Clark of Blue Springs, Mo./GAGE, came in third with a 14.350.

Hong won beam with a 14.600 ahead of WOGA teammate and 2008 Olympic Champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas. Liukin was using the competition as a tune-up for the Visa Championships.

Tying for second place on floor were Whitcomb and Courtney with scores of 14.450.

Winning the junior portion of the evening competition was Sabrina Vega of Carmel, N.Y./Dynamic Gymnastics. Vega scored a 56.750 and won three of the four event titles, scoring a 14.150 on bars, 14.050 on beam, and a 14.800 on floor. Bridgette Caquatto of Naperville, Ill./Naperville Gymnastics Club won vault with a score of 15.150.


In the first junior session of the day, Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max Gymnastics won the all-around title with a score of 57.000. She said, “It feels good to come out and do my best.”

There was a tie for second all-around between Lexie Priessman of Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy and McKenzie Wofford of Spring, Texas/Stars Gymnastics Training Center with scores of 55.550.

The CoverGirl Classic featured a field combined with gymnasts vying for spots in the Visa Championships and qualified gymnasts using the event as a tune-up for Dallas. The qualifying all-around score for seniors was a 52.500 and a 52.000 for juniors. For the first time in event history, fans across the country could watch live coverage of the CoverGirl Classic on Universal Sports.

The 2009 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, are Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas. The U.S. champions for men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling are determined at the Visa Championships. Artistic gymnastics will be held at American Airlines Center, with rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling at the Dallas Convention Center. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show, held in conjunction with the Visa Championships, will also be at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. For complete information on the Visa Championships, click here.