© Max Morse

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 7, 2009 – More than 200 gymnasts are heading to Ft. Smith, Ark., to compete in trampoline and tumbling’s U.S. Elite Challenge, May 8-10, at the Ft. Smith Convention Center. Included in the field are: 2008 U.S. Olympian Chris Estrada of Lafayette, La.; 2007 world double-mini team bronze medalist Aubree Balkan of Carlsbad, Calif.; 2009 Winter Classic trampoline champion Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; 2008 U.S. tumbling champion Kalon Ludvigson of Pocatello, Idaho; 2007 world tumbling team gold-medalist Leanne Seitzinger of Stafford, Va.; and 2009 Winter Classic trampoline champion Nani Vercruyssen of Honolulu.

The U.S. Elite Challenge is the second of two qualifying events for the 2009 Visa Championships, Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, for junior and senior elite gymnasts. Gymnasts may also earn points toward selection for the 2009 Junior and Senior National Teams. The athletes who will be represent the United States for the 2009 World Games will be determined following the U.S. Elite Challenge.

The U.S. Elite Challenge features competition in senior, junior and Level 10 divisions in four events: trampoline, synchronized trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling.

Competition begins on Friday, May 8, at 6 p.m. with prelims and finals in men’s and women’s synchronized trampoline, along with prelims in men’s and women’s double mini-trampoline. Saturday, May 10, features prelims for men’s and women’s trampoline and tumbling, beginning at 9 a.m., with additional double mini-trampoline preliminaries later in the afternoon. The U.S. Elite Challenge concludes on Sunday, May 11, with men’s and women’s finals in trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling at 9 a.m.

The full competition schedule is available by clicking here.