Indianapolis – World Champions Ashley Postell and Courtney Kupets, and 2003 Visa American Cup champion Carly Patterson, top the list of 14 U.S. Women’s National Team athletes competing against Canada and Australia in the 2003 Pacific Challenge to be held at 7 p.m. March 22 at Cal. State-Fullerton’s Titan Gymnasium.

The Pacific Challenge will showcase the USA’s medal hopefuls and Commonwealth challengers as they prepare for the upcoming 2003 World Gymnastics Championships, Aug. 16-24 in Anaheim. Local standouts Tabitha Yim (Irvine/Charter Oaks Gliders) and Allyse Ishino (Santa Ana/Charter Oaks Gliders) are also slated to compete.

“2003 is a very important year in the history of USA Gymnastics as we prepare to host the World Championships and look forward to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “Coming off the recent Visa American Cup, where the U.S. swept the top four spots, the Pacific Challenge is a perfect opportunity for Southern California gymnastics fans to witness the depth we have within the women’s program, and become familiar with some of the athletes you’ll hear a lot about during the next 18 months.”

The USA Gymnastics Pacific Challenge will feature two U.S. teams of seven athletes from the combined Senior and Junior National Teams. The athletes will be divided into teams following training for the event on March 21.

, 16, (Burke, Va./Capital Gymnastics) won the gold medal on the balance beam at the 2002 World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, while Kupets, 16, (Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics) captured gold on the uneven bars. At the recent 2003 Visa American Cup on March 1 in Fairfax, Va., Patterson, 15, (Allen, Texas/WOGA) won the balance beam event and the all-around title to lead a U.S. sweep of the top four spots.
he U.S. roster represents the rising talent level of U.S. women’s gymnastics, including:

Annia Hatch
, 25, West Haven, Conn./Stars Academy; 4th AA at the 2003 VISA American Cup
Katie Heenan, 17, South Riding, Va./Capital Gymnastics; 3rd UB at 2001 World Championships
Terin Humphrey, 16, Blue Spring, Mo./Great American; 2002 World Championships Team
Allyse Ishino, 15, Santa Ana, Calif./Charter Oaks; 4th AA at 2002 U.S. Jr. Championships
Nina Kim, 16, Houston/WOGA; 1st AA at 2003 National Elite Podium Meet
Courtney Kupets, 16, Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s; 1st UB at 2002 World Championships
Chellsie Memmel, 14, West Allis, Wis./Salto; 3rd AA at 2002 U.S. Jr. Championships
Marcia Newby, 15, Virginia Beach, Va./Excalibur; 1st AA at 2002 Jr. Pan American Championships
Tia Orlando, 15, Macungie, Pa./Parkettes; 1st FX at 2002 U.S. Jr. Championships
Carly Patterson, 15, Allen, Texas/WOGA; 1st AA at 2003 Visa American Cup
Ashley Postell, 16, Burke, Va./Capital Gymnastics; 1st BB at 2002 World Championships
Sarah Shire, 15, Sweet Springs, Mo./Great American; 10th AA at 2002 U.S. Jr. Championships
Hollie Vise, 15, Dallas/WOGA; 1st UB, 1st BB at 2002 U.S. Jr. Championships
Tabitha Yim, 17, Irvine, Calif./Charter Oaks; 2nd AA at 2002 U.S. Championships

Lining up for Canada will be 2002 Canadian junior national champion Gael Mackie, along with Heather Purnell, Melanie Banville, Amelie Plante, Lydia Williams and Kylie Stone. Australia will be represented by 2001 national champion Jacqui Dunn, plus Stephanie Moorhouse, Lisa Skinner, Monette Russo, Hayley Tyrell, Hayley Wright and Danielle Kelly.

Full bios of Canadian athletes can be found at Australian athlete bios are at

The Pacific Challenge is a team competition, with six athletes filling a team roster, five competing, and four scores counting toward the team total. Additional team members will perform as exhibition entries.

The USA Gymnastics Pacific Challenge is hosted by SCATS Gymnastics of Huntington Beach. The Challenge is held in conjunction with the California Level 9 & 10 State Championships. Tickets are $15-25 and can be ordered by calling SCATS at (714) 895-2909. All tickets will be distributed at Will Call.