INDIANAPOLIS – Kristen Maloney (Pen Argyl, Pa.), the steadiest gymnast for the United States throughout the past year, became the best gymnast in the country Saturday night when she claimed the all-around title in senior women’s division competition at the 1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships Saturday evening.
“I’m really excited and I’m kind of speechless right now,” said Maloney. “I don’t know what to say or think, I’m so happy. I didn’t really think of beating anyone, I just thought about going out there and doing my best.”
Maloney led virtually wire to wire over the two days of competition, finishing with a 76.749 to surpass 1997 national champion Vanessa Atler (Canyon Country, Calif.), who took the silver medal with a 75.762. Dominique Moceanu (Houston, Texas) ignored a hyperextended knee to finish in third place with a 75.162.
“Just being here is amazing,” said Moceanu, a member of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal squad. “Placing in the top three was great for me – nothing at all to be disappointed about. It was a test for the future, and I’m going to go for it.”
Maloney became the first national champion from the Parkettes National Training Center since Jennifer Sey claimed the title in 1986. Both wins came in Indianapolis in Market Square Arena. Maloney, 17, led the USA squad to team victories at the International Team Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., in March and the Pacific Alliance Championships in Winnipeg, Canada, in July. She also won the gold medal on balance beam at the 1998 Goodwill Games.
Another highlight of the meet came from 1991 World Champion Kim Zmeskal (Cincinnati, Ohio), who earned a berth on the U.S. National Team six years after her last major international meet, the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. The top 20 finishers earned spots on the U.S. Senior National Team.
“It’s way, way different for me,” said Zmeskal of her return to competition after a six-year hiatus. “It’s a completely different career from what I had before. I’m just really excited to be out there. I feel like I’m living this more. I respect high-level gymnastics a lot more now. I applaud all these girls here for doing amazing gymnastics.”
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1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships
August 22, 1998
Market Square Arena

Senior Division All-Around Finals (scores combined with Thursday’s preliminaries, top 20 named to U.S. Senior National Team)
1, Kristen Maloney, Pen Argyl, Pa., 76.749. 2, Vanessa Atler, Canyon Country, Calif., 75.762. 3, Dominique Moceanu, Houston, Texas, 75.162. 4, Jennie Thompson, Cincinnati, Ohio, 74.837. 5, Elise Ray, Columbia, Md., 74.662. 6, Jeanette Antolin, Huntington Beach, Calif., 74.487. 7, Jeana Rice, Longwood, Fla., 73.212. 8, Alyssa Beckerman, Middletown, N.J., 73.187. 9, Jamie Dantzscher, San Dimas, Calif., 73.174. 10, Cory Fritzinger, Virginia Beach, Va., 72.200. 11, Kim Zmeskal, Cincinnati, Ohio, 71.899. 12, Erinn Dooley, Gaithersburg, Md., 71.837. 13, Marline Stephens, Houston, Texas, 71.162. 14, Brittany Smith, Fairfield, Ohio, 70.875. 15, Breanne Rutherford, Simsbury, Conn., 70.775. 16, Sheehan Lemley, Allentown, Pa., 70.475. 17, Chelsa Byrd, North Little Rock, Ark., 70.450. 18, Betsy Hamm, Waukesha, Wis., 70.137. 19, Katie McFarland, Virginia Beach, Va., 69.237. 20, Jennifer Carow, Waukesha, Wis., 68.850. 21, Marla Ranieri, Kinnelon, N.J., 67.887. 22, Alexis Brion, Virginia Beach, Va., 67.849. 23, Anna Gingrich, Austin, Texas, 67.700. 24 (tie), Kristin Uransky, Norfolk, Va.,.and Jessica Bartgis, Frederick, Md., 66.887. 26, Lenna Doolan, Fairfax, Va., 65.674. 27, Erin Gettle, Lebanon, Pa., 65.424. 28, Kara Waterhouse, Duluth, Minn., 64.549. 29, Nicole Kilpatrick, Ringwood, N.J., 31.875. 30, Alecia Ingram, Knoxville, Tenn., 7.825.