Thornton wins U.S. Men's Qualifier; 14 qualify for Visa Championships
posted on 04/23/2008

Todd Thornton
© Steve Lange

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 23, 2008 – Todd Thornton of Houston, who is a member of Team Chevron and trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, won the all-around at the 2008 U.S. Men’s Qualifer, held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Thornton and 13 others qualified to compete in the 2008 Visa Championships, May 22-24 in Houston, which will determine which men will advance to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics in Philadelphia.

The 14 who qualified for the Visa Championships will join the members of the senior national team in the field at the Visa Championships. The successful qualifers were selected based on a points system which gives a point value to finishes at the Qualifier. The 14 are: Alexy Bilozertchev, Hilliard, Ohio/OSU Boys Team; Joe Catrambone, Deptford, N.J./University of Michigan; Josh Dixon, San Jose, Calif./Stanford University; Andrew Elkind, Cherry Hill, N.J./U.S. Olympic Training Center; Tim Gentry, Plano, Texas/Stanford University; David Henderson, Crosby, Texas/U.S. Olympic Training Center; Jamie Henderson, Crosby, Texas/University of Oklahoma-Gattaca; Justin Laury, Marietta, Ga./Houston Gymnastics Academy; Danell Leyva, Miami/Universal Gymnastics; Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill./Stanford University; Edward Mesa, Cooper City, Fla./Universal Gymnastics; Tyler Mizoguchi, Houston /Houston Gymnastics Academy; Clay Strother, Jasper, Texas/Team Chevron; and Thornton.

The highly anticipated return to competition of Morgan Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., who is a member of Team Chevron, was put on hold when he was forced to withdraw due to illness. Hamm will petition the Men’s Program Committee to compete at the Visa Championships. In addition, Justin Spring of Burke, Va., who was returning to competition after injuring his knee at the 2007 Visa Championships, withdrew after three events. He tweaked his right ankle on his dismount in the floor exercise, and Spring chose to withdraw because he had already qualified for the Visa Championships as a member of the senior national team. The ankle was not seriously hurt.

Thornton won the all-around with 88.40 points. Team Chevron’s Joe Hagerty of Rio Ranchero, N.M., was second, followed by Leyva. Those posting top scores on each of the events were: Strother, floor exercise, 15.150; Jamie Henderson and Thornton, pommel horse, 14.250; David Durante, Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron, still rings, 15.550; Gentry, vault, 16.100; and Hagerty, parallel bars (15.500) and horizontal bar (15.700). Hagerty and Durante are also members of the senior national team.

The Men’s Program Committee will decide on petitions on Friday.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.

Men who qualified for the 2008 Visa Championships

1. Todd Thornton, Houston/U.S. Olympic Training Center, 156
2. Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill./Stanford University, 106
3. Danell Leyva, Miami/Universal Gymnastics, 106
4. Alexy Bilozertchev, Hilliard, Ohio/OSU Boys Team, 105
5. Andrew Elkind, Cherry Hill, N.J./U.S. Olympic Training Center, 104
6. Josh Dixon, San Jose, Calif./Stanford University, 96
7. David Henderson, Crosby, Texas/U.S. Olympic Training Center, 90
8. Joe Catrambone, Deptford, N.J./University of Michigan, 88
9. Tyler Mizoguchi, Houston /Houston Gymnastics Academy, 87
10. Edward Mesa, Cooper City, Fla./Universal Gymnastics, 87
11. Jamie Henderson, Crosby, Texas/University of Oklahoma-Gattaca, 83
12. Tim Gentry, Plano, Texas/Stanford University, 82
13. Clay Strother, Jasper, Texas/Team Chevron, 77
14. Justin Laury, Marietta, Ga./Houston Gymnastics Academy, 72

2008 U.S. Men’s Qualifier
U.S. Olympic Training Center
Colorado Springs, Colo.
April 23, 2008

All-round final results
1. Todd Thornton, Houston/Team Chevron, 88.400
2. Joe Hagerty, Rio Ranchero, N.M./Team Chevron, 87.800
3. Danell Leyva, Miami/Universal Gymnastics, 84.850
4. Alexy Bilozertchev, Hilliard, Ohio/OSU Boys Team, 84.750
5. Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill./Stanford University, 84.600