PUURS, Belgium – The U.S. delegation to the 2006 Flanders International Acro Cup and World Cup, a key event leading up to the World Championships and International Age Group Competition, returned from the April 13-16 competition with seven total medals, four gold and three silver, and the Team Cup for the senior division.
Clare Brunson of Riverside, Calif., and Michael Rodrigues of Livermore, Calif., claimed their first World Cup medal. They scored 28.800 points to earn the silver medal in the World Cup level’s mixed pair competition. They finished behind Russia’s Revaz Gurgenidze and Anna Kachalova, who scored 29.050.
“We are thrilled with the overall performance by our athletes at this year’s Flanders Cup,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “This is one the best showings by our athletes in international acrobatic gymnastics competition. Having Clare and Michael finish second in the World Cup competition is a positive indicator for the World Championships and other key international events, especially when coupled with the four gold and two silver medals won in the senior and age group divisions.”
In the senior age division, U.S. athletes collected two gold and two silver medals, which resulted in the USA’s capturing its first Team Cup for overall team achievement. Julian Amaro of Victorville, Calif., and Tyler Spray of Livermore, Calif., both members of the senior national team, wowed the crowd and the judges on their way to winning the men’s pair gold medal with a combined exercise score of 28.530. In the mixed pair event, the USA went one-two. Brian Kincher and Kristin Allen, also of Livermore, won the title with 26.410 points, with Jon Gaiter and Devyn Aguilar, both from Riverside, finishing second at 25.970. The trio of Mariah Henninger, Tisa Penny and Ally Kidd, all of whom live in Livermore, finished behind Great Britain in the women’s group final, 27.870 to 28.030.
The USA also won two gold medals in the age group division. Cassidy Dolstra of Tracy, Calif., and Jordan Rozsa of Livermore won the title in women’s pair (28.500). The remaining gold medal went to Madeline Bones and Kyle Bloom, both from San Jose, Calif., in the mixed pair competition (27.350). Three U.S. teams that competed in women’s group advanced to the finals: Ariel Walsh of Rosebud, Mo., Kayla Huesgen of Rosebud and Amber Kottwitz of Owensville, Mo., finished in sixth place (28.250); Marina Mihov of Pleasanton, Calif., Samantha Olivencia of Los Banas, Calif., and Kristen Sanchez of Livermore were seventh (28.200); and San Jose’s Michaela Meyer, Michelle Meyer and Elizabeth Morris finished 12th (26.850).
In the junior age division, the women’s group of Caitlin Cusano of El Dorado Hills, Calif., Paula Kidwell of Fair Oaks, Calif., and Makaela Bogowitz of El Dorado Hills were the lone U.S. qualifiers to the finals and finished in 12th place (27.650).
The Flanders Cup, held in Puurs, Belgium, hosted 560 athletes from 19 countries in four competition divisions, World Cup, senior, junior and age group (based on age and level of expertise). For complete results visit: www.usa-gymnastics.org/acro.