HONOLULU – The depth of the U.S. Women’s Junior program was demonstrated in full force by a clean sweep of the top four all-around slots and the Junior team title on Friday at the 2004 Pacific Alliance Gymnastics Championships presented by Outrigger Hotels in Honolulu, Hawai`i.
Led by all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin (Plano, Texas/WOGA), the United States scored a 112.495 to top China by 5.315 points. Jana Bieger (Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Ashley Priess (Hamilton, Ohio) took the all-around silver and bronze, respectively, followed by the team’s youngest member Shayla Worley (Orlando).
“This was a really good day for me, and for the team. The most important thing was to win the team medal, and the all-around was good to win, too,” said Liukin, the 2003 U.S. Junior champion. “There’s a lot of good countries here – China, Australia, and more. It was a good level of competition, and to know I can win at this level can only help my confidence as I look forward to Nationals.”
Liukin finished with an all-around mark of 37.382 and qualified to three event finals. Liukin scored a 9.800 on her final and strongest event – the beam – to hold off first-time National Team teammate Bieger at 37.365.
Rachel Marmer (Los Angeles, Calif./LASG) finished a close second in the ribbon and clubs events on Friday to maintain her overall lead and win the Junior Rhythmic all-around title with a score of 78.500. Marmer held a 1.875-point lead after the rope and ball events on Thursday, and performed a nearly flawless club routine to hold off Russia’s Dasha Koroleva in the final standings.
Marmer, and teammates Rebecca Wallenstein, Kristian Brooks and Tracy Agyeman finished second in the team competition with a total score of 209.775. Russia took first at 225.175.
“It feels good to win the all-around at such a competitive meet,” Marmer said. “Actually, I didn’t think I did this well, considering I had a mistake in ribbon. But my other events were pretty good, and I was confident that I could be among the top athletes if I was consistent. This meet will definitely help my confidence as I look forward to Nationals.”
Competition continues at 3 p.m. with Senior Rhythmic all-around and team finals, followed by Senior Women’s all-around and team finals at 7 p.m. Saturday’s schedule includes Junior Men’s and Women’s Event Finals at 1 p.m., Junior & Senior Rhythmic Event Finals at 3 p.m., and Senior Men’s and Women’s Event Finals at 7 p.m. Rhythmic events take place in the University of Hawai`i’s Klum Gymnasium, with artistic competition at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Pacific Alliance Gymnastics Championships will be broadcast by NBC Sports from 1-3 p.m. ET on May 16.
Formed in 1981, the Pacific Alliance of National Gymnastics Federations was created to develop the sport of gymnastics among the member nations that are contiguous to the Pacific Ocean. All-session tickets from $30-$75 and individual seats from $5-15 are on sale now through all University of Hawai`i ticket outlets including the Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium, the Campus Center, Rainbowtique at Ward Center, and the OCET Office at Windward Community College, by phone at 944-BOWS (2697), or on-line at www.eticketHawai`i.com and local gymnastics clubs listed at www.usa-gymnastics.org.
For more information, log on to www.usa-gymnastics.org.
Junior Women’s All-Around Final
1, Nastia Liukin, USA, 37.382. 2, Jana Bieger, USA, 37.365. 3, Ashley Priess, USA, 37.014.
Junior Women’s Team Final
1, United States, 112.495. 2, China, 107.180. 3, Australia, 106.179.
Junior Rhythmic All-Around Final
1, Rachel Marmer, USA, 78.500. 2, Dasha Koroleva, Russia, 76.125. 3, Anastasia Guseva, Russia, 75.125.
Junior Rhythmic Team Final
1, Russia, 225.175. 2, United States, 209.775. 3, Canada, 194.525.