HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 10, 2010 – Leading into the finals, defending U.S. men’s trampoline champ Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., posted the highest score in the men’s trampoline prelims at the 2010 Visa Championships in Hartford, Conn. Four-time U.S. tumbling champion Kalon Ludvigson of Pocatello, Idaho, is on target for his fifth straight tumbling title. Held at the University of Hartford’s Chase Arena, the trampoline and tumbling competition will wrap up with finals on Aug. 11. Competition in men’s gymnastics kicks off on Aug. 11 at the XL Center.
Gluckstein, who trains at Ultra Twisters, posted a 72.900 in the senior elite division, placing ahead of Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, at 71.500 and Michael Devine of Winnebago, Ill./J and J Trampoline, at 71.200. Gluckstein’s brother Jeffery, competing as a senior this year, was fourth. Preliminary scores do not carry forward.
“The competition was awesome,” said Gluckstein. “As a whole, we had our top three men over 71, which is, on any given day, in the top five at World Cup. As a team, that’s unbelievable. On a personal note, 72.900 is my personal best, so it’s one of my best competitions. I’m happy and I definitely got some of the nerves out . . . and got some of the motivation I need to bring what I need to tomorrow.”
In the women’s senior elite division, Savannah Vinsant of Lafayette, La./Trampoline & Tumbling Express, who will represent the USA in the Youth Olympic Games next week, earned the highest prelim score of 67.300. Alaina Williams of Levelland, Texas/Acrospirits, was next at 66.100, followed by Shanelle Landry of Lafayette/Ultra Twisters at 63.100.
Ludvigson, who trains at Team Revolution, posted 74.80 in the senior men’s tumbling prelims, well ahead of Stephen Benedicto of Centreville, Va./Capital Gymnastics, who was second in the rankings. Two-time U.S. tumbling champion Yuliya Hall of Pocatello/Team Revolution earned the top score in senior women’s elite tumbling with 62.60. Karly Judkins of Tulsa, Okla./Xtreme Elite Athletics, claimed the second best score at 61.20.
“I’m really fortunate because I have a really, really talented coach, and I also train with Yuliya, who is one of the leaders for women in tumbling,” said Ludvigson, who won a World Cup gold medal in tumbling. “We push each other and my coach definitely pushes me.”
Ludvigson hold the world record for degree of difficulty at 14.800 and hopes to break his record during the finals. The World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships are in November.
“I was planning on doing it today, but I held back a little bit,” said Ludvigson, “but tomorrow I’m definitely going to go for it, to beat my own world record so later this year, at the world championships, I know where I need to be to compete internationally. This is kind of a test for me to see how I handle myself under pressure . . . and to kind of prove to the world that I’m going to be ready come November.”
In senior men’s synchronized trampoline, Dooley and Steven Gluckstein teamed up for the best prelim score of 90.20. Jeffrey Gluckstein and Sean Kennedy of Holland, Mass./Ultra Twisters, were next at 87.70. For the women, Landry and Nani Vercruyssen of Honolulu/Hawaii Academy posted an 83.40 in the prelims.
In double mini-trampoline, Justin Hackett of Colorado Springs, Colo./Great Lakes Griffins, has the senior men’s top prelim score at 71.90, with Ashleigh Thomas of Bellevue, Wash./Gymnastics East, sitting atop the women’s rankings with a prelim score of 60.30.
The Visa Championships determine the U.S. champions and the national team for each discipline for both the junior and senior elite levels in four disciplines. Tickets are on sale now and available through Ticketmaster.com. For more information, go to www.usagym.org/visa.
The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show, held in conjunction with the Visa Championships, will be conducted at the Connecticut Convention Center. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show is the annual gathering of professional members that offers educational and business sessions, a large exhibitor’s hall and other business and educational opportunities.