Twelve U.S. athletes travel to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico this week to compete in the Pan American Trampoline Championships. Headlining the team are current national champions, Chris Estrada and Erin Blanchard, both of Lafayette, Louisiana, and eight-time national champion, Ryan Weston of Pocatello, Idaho. Both men competed on the 2005 World Championships team and have both previously finished in the top five at a World Cup event. Blanchard, in her first year as a senior, won the Pacific Alliance junior women’s competition earlier this year.
Other senior men are 2005 World Championships team member Kevin Strickland, Tinton Falls, New Jersey and current junior elite national champion Steven Gluckstein, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, who is competing in his first event as a senior. He won the junior men’s competition at the Pacific Alliance in April of this year. The women’s senior team includes Amanda Bailey, Levelland, Texas, and Brittany Dircks, Orland Park, Illinois, both of whom were on the 2005 World Championships team and Kaci Barry, San Diego, who, like Gluckstein, is competing in her first senior event.
The 2006 Pan American Championships, held August 17-19, is the qualifying competition for next year’s Pan American Games, where trampoline will make its debut. Five countries are scheduled to compete in Mexico, including the host country, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and USA. Only eight men and eight women will qualify to the Pan American Games in trampoline for 2007. The Pan American Games is an Olympic-style event and includes 56 sports. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host the 2007 Pan Am Games.
USA Gymnastics will also send members of the Junior National Team to Monterrey for a junior competition. Junior elite national champion, Nani Vercruyssen, Honolulu, Hawaii, plus Dakota Earnest, Levelland, Texas, and Alaina Williams, Amarillo, Texas, will compete in the junior women’s division, while Philip Devine, Winnebago, Illinois, will compete in the junior men’s division. Also chosen for the junior team, but unable to participate, are Janci Karvas, Lubbock, Texas, Jesse Kiley, Jenison, Michigan, Neil Gulati, Irvine, California, and Andrew Muzzarelli, Rockford, Illinois.