© Geoff Bolte

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 13, 2014 – Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan, and Paul Ruggeri III of the U.S. Olympic Training Center)/Manlius, N.Y., have withdrawn from the 2014 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas. Mikulak is focusing on his preparations to represent the USA in the 2014 AT&T American Cup on March 1, and Ruggeri is still recovering from minor knee surgery. All four 2013 World Championships medalists – silver medalists Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), and Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), and bronze medalists John Orozco of The Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center); and Brandon Wynn of Voorhees, N.J./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center) – are expected to compete at the Winter Cup, scheduled for Feb. 20-22 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino’s Royale Pavilion.

Alex Naddour of Gilbert, Ariz./Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness), is also expected to join his 2013 World Championships teammates at the Winter Cup, along with 2012 Olympic alternate Chris Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Gymnastics), and 2012 Olympic all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics).

Other senior national team members in the 2014 Winter Cup Challenge field are: Josh Dixon of San Jose, Calif./U.S. Olympic Training Center; Stacey Ervin of Taylor, Mich./University of Michigan; Akash Modi of Morganville, N.J./Stanford University; Eddie Penev of Rochester, N.Y./Stanford University; and Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Performances at the 2014 Winter Cup Challenge will help determine the 15 men who will comprise the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team through the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 21-24. The six members of the 2013 World Championships squad, plus the two World alternates, retain their spots on the national team. The remaining seven spots will be determined based on the following criteria: the top two ranked all-around athletes who are not already on the senior national team; two based on the National Team Points System; two athletes selected by the Men’s Program Committee; and one selected by the national team coordinator.

The Winter Cup competition schedule is: preliminary rounds, Feb. 20 – 1 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.; and final round, Feb. 22 at 7:15 p.m. Tickets will be on sale on competition day. The Winter Cup format has junior and senior gymnasts competing in the same field.

The top 42 gymnasts, according to the Men’s Program Committee’s points ranking system, will advance to the final competition, along with the top three gymnasts on each apparatus. The all-around and individual event champions will be determined via a combined two-day score. For information on the points ranking system used for advancement to the final round, as well as the one for determining the national team, click here.