BATTLE CREEK, Mich., May 3, 2016 – Over 800 of the USA’s top Level 8, 9 and 10 male gymnasts will compete in the 2016 U.S. Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships, May 4-8, at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. The event features competition in regional team, all-around and individual apparatus.

Eleven champions from 2015 are expected to compete this year (athletes are listed alphabetically and includes competition level for this year): Cameron Bock of Tustin, Calif./SCATS Gymnastics, Level 10/Junior Elite/15-16; Chase Clingman of Leesburg, Va./APEX, Level 9/Junior Olympic/ 13-14; Joe Dixon of Thousand Oaks, Calif./Victory Gymnastics Academy, Level 10/Junior Elite/15-16; Vitaliy Guimaraes of Arvada, Colo./5280 Gymnastics, Level 10/Junior Elite/ 15-16; Asher Hong of Frisco, Texas/WOGA – Frisco, Level 8/Junior Elite/ 11-12; Wesley Knudson of Meridian, Idaho/Danik Gymnastics, Level 9/Junior Olympic/ 13-14; Angel Leon of Tucson, Ariz./Gymnastics World Central, Level 10/Junior Elite/ 15-16; Samuel Phillips of Woodland Hills, Calif./Gymnastics Olympica USA, Level 9/Junior Elite/ 13-14; Matthew Romalia of Highlands Ranch, Colo./5280 Gymnastics, Level 8/Junior Olympic/ 11-12; Franklin Valentin, East Hartford, Conn./Tri-Town Gymnastics Centre Inc., Level 10/Junior Olympic/ 17-18; and Matthew Wenske of Houston, Texas/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10/Junior Elite/ 17-18.

The levels are determined by age and skill level. Level 8 consists of athletes who are 11 and 12 years old; Level 9 athletes are 13 and 14 years old. At Level 10, there are two age divisions, 15-16 year olds and 17-18 year olds. Each level has two divisions – Junior Elite and Junior Olympic.

For Level 10 athletes competing in the Junior Elite Division, the Junior Olympic National Championships is a qualifier for the 2016 P&G Gymnastics Championships (June 23 -26 in St. Louis, Mo.), where the Level 10 Junior National Team will be determined. Six Level 8 and 10 Level 9 gymnasts from the Junior Elite Division will be named to the Level 8/9 Junior National Team at the conclusion of the Junior Olympic nationals.

In the Junior Olympic division, the top 24 all-around qualifiers, plus the top 12 individual event qualifiers in each age group, advance to Saturday’s Level 10 and Sunday’s Level 8/9 Junior Olympic Division all-around and individual event finals. The combined score from the preliminary session and the finals session will be used to determine the all-around and individual ivent final rankings.

On Saturday, Level 10 Junior Elite athletes from each age division compete to determine the Level 10 Junior Elite Division all-around and event champions. Level 8 and the Level 9 Junior Elite athletes compete on Sunday to determine the respective all-around and event champions.

Competition begins May 5 with three Level 10 preliminary sessions at 8:50 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 6:10 p.m. (Junior Elite). The remaining schedule is: May 6 – three Level 8-9 preliminary sessions at 9:00 a.m., 1:40 p.m., and 6:20 p.m. (Junior Elite); May 7 – two sessions of Level 10 all-around and individual event finals, 9:50 a.m. (Junior Elite) and 3:35 p.m. (Junior Olympic): and May 8 – two Level 8-9 all-around and individual event finals, 8:50 a.m. (Junior Elite) and 12:50 p.m. (Junior Olympic).

The meet coordinators are Al and Cindy Scharns, and Branch Gymnastics is the host club.

To advance to the Junior Olympic National Championships, gymnasts competed in state and regional championships and qualified based on their all-around ranking or individual event placement.

The U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships is one of the national championships of USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body in the United States. Many Junior Olympic champions have gone on to make the U.S. National Team and represent the United States in international competition and/or to compete in collegiate gymnastics. All of the members of the men’s medal-winning 2004 (silver) and 2008 (bronze) U.S. Olympic Teams, as well as the 2012 Olympic Team, are former Junior Olympic National Championships participants. Past participants include 2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm; Olympic and World medalists Jonathan Horton and Danell Leyva; and World medalists Jake Dalton and John Orozco.