Orozco leads after first day of 2012 Winter Cup Challenge
posted on 02/02/2012

© John Cheng

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 2, 2012 – After both sessions of competition on the first day of the 2012 Winter Cup Challenge inside the Las Vegas Sports Center, John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./U.S.O.T.C., leads the all-around competition, posting a 89.350. Christopher Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Gymnastics) and Danell Leyva of Homestead, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics), rounded out the top three with all-around totals of 89.200 and 87.650, respectively.

Competition continues with the Winter Cup Challenge finals on Saturday at 7 p.m. Pacific time, where the top 42 athletes according to the men's program points system will compete.

Orozco, who finished fifth all-around at the 2011 World Championships, moved into first place after scoring a 15.600 on the vault for his front handspring front double full.

"I want to finish the meet knowing that I did the best I can do," Orozco said. "I'm ready to do better on Saturday."

Orozco began competition on the parallel bars, earning a 15.400 for his routine, which included a Dimitrenko and a double pike dismount. In rotation two, he had to repeat his Liukin on the horizontal bar after missing his first attempt, recovering with a stuck full-twisting double layout to score a 14.550. Orozco earned a 14.350 on the floor exercise and a 15.300 on the pommel horse, after executing a clean Wu, intricate single pommel work and a swing to handstand dismount. On the still rings, he earned a 14.150.

The 2010 Winter Cup Challenge all-around champion, Brooks, started slowly on the pommel horse, scoring 12.800 but picked up steam on the still rings and vault, earning 14.700 and 15.850, respectively. On the parallel bars, Brooks stuck his double front dismount for a 16.000 final score. In the fifth rotation, the former Oklahoma Sooner soared on four catch-and-release moves on the high bar and earned a 15.400. Completing his all-around competition on the floor, Brooks mounted with a front full to double front and posted a 14.450 final score.

Entering the competition as the reigning Visa Champion, Leyva earned an 11.550 on the pommel horse, a 14.350 on the still rings and a 15.550 on the vault. But it was on the parallel bars in rotation four, where he is the current world champion, that Leyva earned his high score for the day, posting a 16.000 for his innovative routine which included a peach to Diamidov, peach full and a giant Diamidov-and-a-quarter. On the high bar, Leyva stuck his double-twisting double layout dismount for a 15.350. In the final rotation, Leyva mounted the floor exercise with a layout, double-twisting double back and earned 14.850 points. Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma) posted the highest score on the floor exercise, a 15.900, for his dynamic routine that included a two-and-a-half twisting double back and a Hypolito.

On the pommel horse Glen Ishino of Santa Ana, Calif./University of California – Berkeley, earned the highest score of the day, a 15.650, while Christopher Maestas of Corrales, N.M./University of Illinois, posted the top score on the still rings with a 15.450.

David Sender, the 2008 U.S. national champion, vaulted a Yurchenko with two-and-a-half twists, giving him the highest score on the event (16.250).

Brooks and Leyva tied for the highest score on the parallel bars with matching 16.000s, while Brooks posted the best score on the horizontal bar at 15.400.