Rhythmic All-Around Champions Named
Day Two of Four
Cleveland – Current national champion and 2001 World Championships bronze medalist Tasha Schwikert (Las Vegas, Nev.) leads the women’s all-around competition at the 2002 U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Gund Arena. Schwikert, with a total score of 37.650, holds a slim lead over 2001 national runner-up Tabitha Yim (Irvine, Calif.), whose total is 37.275. In third is Ashley Postell (Cheverly, Md.)
The all-around champion and national team will be named following Saturday night’s competition. Thursday’s scores will carry over to Saturday’s all-around finals and count toward the total score.
Individual event national champions were named tonight on the four women’s disciplines. In addition to the all-around lead, Schwikert placed first on the uneven bars and floor exercise, with a 9.45 and 9.4, respectively. Yim took home the gold on balance beam with a score of 9.55, while Elizabeth Tricase (Itasca, Ill.) won the vault competition with a 9.7.
Senior Women’s Quotes:
Tasha Schwikert: “I think I’m capable of winning events when I’m not at my best, but international competition is a different ballgame. You have to be your best.”
“I think our team is going to be awesome next year. We have so much depth, but we need to be consistent.”
Tabitha Yim: “I tried to stay mentally strong. I wanted to add more [difficulty] but I was unable to train enough.”
Annia Hatch: On her performance… “It was just okay. I know I can do better.”
On competing with the United States athletes… “It was exciting to feel like I’m part of this team that is third in the world.”
Kristal Uzelac: On her decision to compete with a broken toe… “I really wanted to compete since it was my first year as a senior, I had a new floor routine, and my family was here. I wanted to do it for myself, too.”
“I knew it [my toe] wouldn’t affect my floor as much as beam, because it’s harder to balance on the beam.”
Donna Strauss: (Kristal Uzelac’s coach) “She trained extra hard and her heart was in it. She chose to go and we backed that 100 percent.”
In the individual event finals, Hollie Vise (Dallas, Texas) came away with two gold medals, winning both the uneven bars and balance beam competitions, with scores of 9.5 and 9.7, respectively. Kristina Comforte (Addison, Ill.) placed first in the vault with a score of 9.5, while Tia Orlando (Souderton, Pa.) won the floor exercise with a score of 9.45.
Carly Patterson (Baton Rouge, La.) is the current all-around leader after the preliminary competition, followed closely by Vise, her World Olympic Gymnastics Academy teammate. Patterson’s all-around score after the preliminary round is 37.200, while Vise’s is 36.750. The two are closely followed by Chellsie Memmel (West Allis, Wis.), whose total is 36.575.
The All-Around Champion and Junior National Team, which will be comprised of the top 16 athletes following the all-around finals, will be named Saturday.
Junior Women’s Quotes:
Carly Patterson: On heading into Saturday’s all-around finals…. “I want it really, really bad. I’m going to come in like today with a good attitude and try to hit four for four.”
On her international competition experience… “I’ve been a lot of places this year and it’s helped me gain confidence and experience.”
Hollie Vise: On her uneven bars and balance beam victories… “I was hoping for gold. Those are the two events I knew I could be at the top on, so it was my goal to win them.”
Chellsie Memmel: On her performances… “It felt great. It was a lot of fun and I met my goals.”
Tia Orlando: On winning the floor exercise… “I was really hoping for a good routine. I’ve been training hard for that. After I hit, I knew it was good.”
Susan Jackson: (2nd Vault, 5th All Around after preliminaries) “I’m going to work on all of my routines. I want to go out Saturday and make the national team.”
Nastia Liukin: (father/coach is an Olympic gold medalist from Russia…fell and injured her elbow on uneven bars, but competed in all events to finish the competition) “I was just shocked. I didn’t think that would happen but I just wanted to keep competing so I could make the national team.”
“Hopefully my elbow will be okay. I just need to ice it and it will be okay. My goal for Saturday is to not be scared on bars.”
Senior Rhythmic All-Around
Mary Sanders (Ontario, Canada) won the senior rhythmic all-around finals with a score of 98.975. In addition, she had the highest score of all competitors on every event except for the ball. Placing second was Olga Karmansky (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with a score of 96.950, and Shayna Javornicky (Queens, N.Y.) was third with 96.900.
The individual event finals will take place Saturday in Public Hall.
Senior Rhythmic Quotes:
Mary Sanders: On her performance… “I was really happy. I like to do consistent routines and not worry so much about where I place. Today I had really consistent routines.”
“Clubs was the best performance for me tonight. Usually I like ball, but clubs was better today.”
Junior Rhythmic All-Around
Kristin Kaye (Northbrook, Ill.) of Illinois Rhythmics won the all-around competition in the junior division of the rhythmic competition. Kaye defeated the reigning champion, Lisa Wang (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), by 1.475 points. Wang finished second. Kaye’s final score was 87.875, while Wang finished with a total of 86.400. Bree McDonough (Jacksonville, Fla.) placed third with an all-around score of 82.850.
The women will compete for individual event titles in the ball, club, hoop, and ribbon on Saturday at Cleveland’s Public Hall at 1:30 p.m. EST.