Jessica Davis from San Anselmo, Calif. won the 1996 Rhythmic Gymnastics Challenge in Downers Grove, Ill, Feb. 16-17, at the Elite Sports Complex.

“I’m happy with my performance at the Rhythmic Challenge especially since it’s the beginning of the season,” said Davis. She added, “It’s the first step towards the “O” word.” Davis was referring to the Olympic Games and said that in her house no one mentions the word Olympics for fear of jinxing Davis’ chances at representing the U.S.

Although Davis is clearly the Rhythmic Challenge champion she will have to compete well at the Rhythmic National Championships and Olympic Trials to represent the U.S. at the Games in Atlanta. The Rhythmic Challenge competition re-ranks the USA Senior and Junior National Teams. An athlete’s ranking will determine upcoming international assignments. The event is also the first step toward qualifying to compete at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Davis was followed by Lauri Illy from Virginia Beach, Va., but now training in Evanston, Ill. and Natalie Lacuesta from Wilmette, Ill.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, the top U.S. National Team Members and the U.S. National Group Team will join the National Team and Group from Belarus for an exhibition at the Elite Sports Complex at 1:00 p.m. The purpose of the exhibition is to display rhythmic gymnastics to the public.

# Name/Residence/Score
1. Jessica Davis/San Anselmo, Calif./73.175
2. Lauri Illy/Evanston, Ill./71.600
3. Natalie Lacuesta/Wilmette, Ill./71.575
4. Liriel Higa/Los Angeles, Calif./70.850
5. Tina Tharp/Jacksonville, Fla./68.975
6. Kristin Lee/Mountlake Terrace, Wash. /68.025
7. Kelsi Kemper/Gig Harbor, Wash./66.675
8. Melissa McElroy/Katy, Texas/65.675
9. Alicia Albe/Gaithersburg, Md./65.425

# Name/Residence/Score
1. Kassy Scharringhausen/Duluth, Ga. /69.900
2. Kate Jeffress/Rockville, Md./68.750
3. Tara McCargo/Jacksonville, Fla./68.550
4. Johanna Shoemaker/North Potomac, Md.67.900
5. Ellie Takahashi/Torrance, Calif./64.950
6. Diana Quirin/Portland, Ore./64.550
7. Amy Ng/Rockville, Md./64.150
8. Emily Varela/San Leandro, Calif./60.600