ANAHEIM — Courtney Kupets and Courtney McCool finished 1-2 at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials – Gymnastics at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. securing an automatic appointment to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.

Kupets (Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics) held the lead throughout the entire competition. She clinched the all-around title with a well-executed Podkopayaeva vault (round-off, half on, piked front half off) in the final rotation, scoring a 9.300.

“I couldn’t imagine coming here and placing first,” Kupets said. “It is so exciting. When it comes down to it, we were all cheering for each other. We’re like a big family.”

Also finishing on vault in the last rotation, McCool’s clean form earned her a 9.450 and second place. In just first year competing as a senior, McCool (Lee’s Summit, Mo./GAGE) has earned international praise for her style and precise movements. Her best score came on beam where she connected a front aerial to back handspring, layout, layout and hit a triple full dismount for a 9.550.

“It was so cool to come here and experience the Olympic excitement,” McCool said. “I’m so ecstatic right now that I can’t even think.”

The top two athletes from the Trials, pending demonstration of readiness at the Olympic Selection Camp, will retain their berths on the 2004 Olympic Team, with the remaining four athletes and alternates chosen from the Selection Camp held at the Women’s National Team Training Center in Houston, Texas, July 11-18. The announcement of the final Olympic Team will be on July 18.

Athletes invited to the Selection Camp include: Mohini Bhardwaj, Annia Hatch, Terin Humphrey, Allyse Ishino, Carly Janiga, Carly Patterson, Tasha Schwikert, Liz Tricase, Hollie Vise, and Tabitha Yim. Injury petitions from Nicole Harris, Chellsie Memmel, and Marcia Newby were also accepted.

Kupets, the current U.S. co-Champion, made it three Trials victories in a row for her club, Hill’s Gymnastics. Dominique Dawes won in 1996 followed by Elise Ray in 2000.

1. Courtney Kupets, Gaithersburg, Md., 75.750
2. Courtney McCool, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 75.625
3. Carly Patterson, Baton Rouge, La., 75.500
4. Tabitha Yim, Irvine, Calif., 75.200
5. Allyse Ishino, Santa Ana, Calif., 74.850
6. Mohini Bhardwaj, Cincinnati, Ohio, 74.750
7. Terin Humphrey, Bates City, Mo., 74.550
8. Tasha Schwikert, Las Vegas, Nev., 74.125
9. Carly Janiga, Paradise Valley, Ariz., 73.700
10. Liz Tricase, Itasca Ill., 73.375
11. Annia Hatch, West Haven, Conn., 73.125