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Sender wins men's all-around title at 2008 Visa Championships
posted on 05/24/2008

David Sender
© Max Morse

HOUSTON, May 24, 2008 – David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill., won the men’s all-around title at the 2008 Visa Championships at Reliant Park in Houston. Sender, who also took top honors in the vault, is one of 14 men who will advance to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, June 19-22, in Philadelphia.

The 10 men who qualified for the senior men’s national team based on the points system and will advance to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials are: Alexander Artemev of Lakewood, Colo./Team Chevron; Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron; David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron; Sean Golden of Camden, N.J./Team Chevron; Joe Hagerty of Rio Ranchero, N.M./Team Chevron; Morgan Hamm of Waukesha, Wis.; Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis./Team Chevron; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Chevron; Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron; and Sender, who competes for Stanford University. The remaining four members of the national team were selected by the Men’s Program Committee: Guillermo Alvarez of Denver/Team Chevron; Tim McNeill of Falls Church, Va./University of California – Berkley; Justin Spring of Burke, Va./Team Chevron; and Yewki Tomita of Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron. In addition, the Men’s Program Committee approved the petition of Sean Townsend of Houston, Texas, who is injured, to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

The individual event champions for 2008 are: Morgan Hamm, floor exercise; Tomita, pommel horse; Tan, still rings; Sender, vault; Spring, parallel bars; and Hagerty, horizontal bar.

Sender won the all-around title with a six-event total of 180.700. Horton was second at 180.450, followed by Hagerty at 180.300. Durante and Bhavsar rounded out the top five in the all-around. Both days of the men’s competition counted equally toward the final score.

Sender had two very consistent days. He won the vault with a total of 32.450, with Golden coming in second at 32.350, and Bhavsar and Hamm tying for third at 32.100. Sender, who won the vault crown in 2004 and 2006, solidly landed his Yurchenko 2-1/2. He was fourth in the floor exercise and horizontal bar, fifth on still rings, and eighth on parallel bars.

“I was thrilled to win the all-around, but more importantly I proved to the selection committee that I can do two nights of steady gymnastics,” said Sender. “Nothing’s a given for me.”

Morgan Hamm debuted an air flare, which he described as a break-dancing move, in his floor routine that earned a total of 31.350, earning him his third floor national title. Steve Legendre of Flower Mound, Texas, was second at 31.300 and Horton was third at 30.800.

Tomita earned his second pommel horse title with a two-day score of 30.150, finishing ahead of silver-medalist McNeill at 29.900 and bronze-medalist Clay Strother of Jasper, Texas, at 29.550. On the still rings, Tan turned in two very consistent days, earning a 16.650 and 16.700, to clinch his third straight title with a total score of 33.350. Horton finished second at 31.850, and Bhavsar and Golden tied for third at 31.100.

Spring’s 30.900 earned him his first U.S. parallel bars title. Artemev was second at 30.650, and Durante was third at 30.600. Hagerty posted a 31.00 to win the horizontal bar individual event crown. Durante was second at 30.200, followed by Morgan Hamm at 30.100.

The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1897 for the men.

About Reliant Park

Reliant Park is managed and operated by SMG. Reliant Park is the premier convention, tradeshow, entertainment and sports complex located in Houston – the cultural center and urban hub of Texas. Four major facilities – Reliant Center, Reliant Stadium, Reliant Arena and Reliant Astrodome – encompass 350 acres. Having previously hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII, the 2002 and 2005 Big 12 Conference Football Championships, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Regionals in 2008 and 2010, the Final Four in 2011 and now the 2008 Visa Championships, Reliant Park is establishing itself as a long-term home for major national and international sporting events.

About Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Houston is a cultural melting pot—home to a vibrant arts scene, thriving ethnic neighborhoods and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Houston is one of a handful of American cities to house professional theater companies for each of the major arts disciplines. Sports fans can rally behind Houston’s professional teams in nearly every major sport. Houston is also home to the world’s largest concentration of medical professionals, world’s largest rodeo and nationally acclaimed restaurants and shopping. With 56,405 acres of total park space, Houston rates first among the nation’s 10 most populous cities in total acreage of park land. For more information on Houston, log on to www.visithoustontexas.com or call 1-800-4HOUSTON.

About USA Gymnastics
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.

2008 Visa Championships
Reliant Arena
Houston, Texas
May 24, 2008
Senior men’s final results

All-around
1. David Sender, Arlington Heights, Ill., 180.700
2. Jonathan Horton, Houston, Texas, 180.450
3. Joseph Hagerty, Rio Rancho, N.M., 180.300
4. David Durante, Garwood, N.J., 178.950
5. Raj Bhavsar, Houston, Texas, 178.250
6. Alexander Artemev, Lakewood, Colo., 178.150
7. Guillermo Alvarez, Denver, Colo., 177.950
8. Todd Thornton, Houston, Texas, 176.650
9. Sho Nakamori, Albany, Calif., 175.700
10. Tim McNeill, Falls Church, Va., 175.600
11. Kyson Bunthuwong, El Cerrito, Calif., 173.550
11. Danell Leyva *, Miami, Fla., 173.550
13. Steve Legendre, Flower Mound, Texas, 173.350
14. Bryant Hadden, Wichita, Kan., 172.050
15. Alexy Bilozertchev *, Hilliard, Ohio, 171.650
16. Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons, Philadelphia, Pa., 170.600
17. Ryan Lieberman, Lake Forest, Ill., 167.900
18. Tyler Mizoguchi, Houston, Texas, 167.800
19. Edward Mesa *, Cooper City, Fla., 167.650
20. Josh Dixon, San Jose, Calif., 166.900
21. Clay Strother, Jasper, Texas, 146.650
22. Wesley Haggensen, Belleville, Ill., 143.700
23. Paul Ruggeri, Manlius, N