COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – 2004 Olympic team alternate Raj Bhavsar and 2001 world parallel bars champ Sean Townsend, both from Houston, are among the 27 gymnasts who qualified for the senior division of the Visa Championships based on performances at the 2006 Men’s Qualifier at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. For the junior division, 18 gymnasts advanced to the Visa Championships.

Some gymnasts were added to the qualification list when three of the gymnasts named to the U.S. Team for the 2006 Junior Pan American Championships, scheduled for the week after the Visa Championships, chose to bypass the Visa Championships to train for the international competition. Those three gymnasts on the Junior Pan Am Team are: Tim Gentry of Plano/WOGA, Ryan Lieberman of Lake Forest, Ill./Buffalo Grove Gymnastics, and Philip Onorato of Plano/WOGA. Miguel Pineda of Galloway, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics, is the fourth member of the Junior Pan Am Team, and he is planning on competing in the Visa Championships as part of his preparations.
Gymnasts advanced to the Visa Championships based on point totals awarded for performances at the U.S. Men’s Qualifier. The field of 99 gymnasts did include a number of athletes who had pre-qualified for the Visa Championships as members of the senior national team.
Townsend had the highest score during the Qualifier’s second session, which featured athletes attempting to qualify to the Senior Division at the Visa Championships. He had an all-around score of 90.850 and was also first on the parallel bars (15.450) and horizontal bar (15.950).
“The event went really well,” said Townsend, who is a member of Team Chevron. “In the first event, the vault, I didn’t plan to fall, but the other events fell into place. I’m not quite where I want to be for the USA’s (Visa Championships), but I’m headed in the right direction.”
Kyson Bunthuwong of El Cerrto, Calif., was second in the all-around with a score of 88.300, and Geoffrey Corrigan of Colorado Springs rounded out the top three (88.100).
For the juniors, Kyle Bunthuwong, brother of Kyson, finished at the top of the 14-15 year-old all-around scores. For the 16-18 division, Timothy Pittman of Houston had the highest all-around score at 14.050. Both had already qualified for the Visa Championships.
The Visa Championships feature the United States’ best gymnasts vying for national titles in men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics, as well as qualifying for the respective U.S. national teams. Acrobatic gymnastics is holding its national team trials. Competition is held on both the junior and senior levels. The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul is playing host to the 2006 Visa Championships, Aug. 16-19, and single session tickets are on sale now. For more information, log on to

Senior division gymnasts who qualified for the Visa Championships


Tyler Block, Kensington, Calif., University of California – Berkeley
Kyson Bunthuwong, El Cerrito, Calif., UC – Berkeley
Bryan Del Castillo, Laguna Niguel, Calif., Newhope Academy
Jason Laughton, Northridge, Calif., University of Oklahoma
Brian Lee, Freemont, Calif., Army Gymnastics
Sho Nakamori, Albany, Calif., Stanford University

Geoffrey Corrigan, Colorado Springs, Colo., Team Chevron

R.J. Heflin, Storeham, Mass., Gymnastics & More*
Mel Anton Santander, Southborough, Mass., Mass Gym Center

New Jersey
Curtis Kleffman, Washington, N.J., University of Iowa

New Mexico
Joseph Hagerty, Albuquerque, N.M., Team Chevron

Stephen Tétrault, Lincoln, Neb., University of Nebraska
Jason Wassung, Lincoln, Neb., University of Nebraska

North Carolina
Jacob Messina, Matthews, N.C., University of Oklahoma
Nyika White, Williamston, N.C., Temple University

Ben Ketelsen, Lancaster, Ohio, Hocking Valley Gymnastics*
Kristopher Kline, Westerville, Ohio, Ohio State University
Miguel Pineda, Galloway, Ohio, Hocking Valley Gymnastics

Kevin Perkins, Portland, Ore., University of Washington

Raj Bhavsar, Houston, Texas, Ohio State University
Chris Brooks, Houston, Texas, University of Oklahoma
Bryant Hadden, Cypress, Texas, Stanford University
Jamie Henderson, Crosby, Texas, University of Oklahoma
Matt Hicks, Houston, Texas, HGA/GymMasters
Sean Townsend, Houston, Texas, Team Chevron

Jake Lee, Saratoga Springs, Utah, Minnesota

Viorel Pepescu, Glen Allen, Va., RRMG*
*Qualified for senior division when three gymnasts withdrew for Jr. Pan Am Championships

Qualified for seniors but will not compete due to selection to Jr. Pan Am Team
Tim Gentry, Plano, Texas, WOGA (Sr.)
Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill., Buffalo Grove Gymnastics (Sr.)
Philip Onorato, Plano, Texas, WOGA (Sr.)

Junior division qualifiers for Visa Championships

14-15 year olds
Zach Cazabon, Bretwood, Mo., St. Louis Gym Centre
Matthew Chelberg, Athens, Ohio, Hocking Valley Gymnastics#
Jacob Houder, Pinchurst, Texas, Cypress Academy#
C.J. Maestas, Albuquerque, N.M., Gold Cup Gymnastics
Tyler Mizoguchi, Houston, Texas, HGA/GymMasters
C.J. Padera, Winfield, Ill., Bartlett Gymnastics
Christopher Stehl, Richmond, Texas, Cypress Academy
Neal Thompson, Woodside, Calif., San Mateo Gymnastics

16-18 year olds
Michael Almazan, Miami, Fla., Universal Gymnastics
Alex Barrera, Miami, Fla., Universal Gymnastics
Cory Baumgarten, Plano, Texas, WOGA
Kinkuro Broden, Miami, Fla., Universal Gymnastics
Ross Cameratta, Independence, Ohio, Gymnastics World, Inc.#
Chris Cameron, Winter Haven, Fla., Sun Country Sports
Francisco Grey, Long Beach, Calif., SCATS HB#
Eric Haeussler, Redwood City, Calif., San Mateo Gymnastics#
Michael Jiang, Littleton, Colo., Chatfield Gymnastics
Sean Regan, Libertyville, Ill., Buffalo Grove Gymnastics