INDIANAPOLIS – Fighting off the pain of a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, two-time defending champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio) is halfway to a rare third consecutive all-around title after the first session of senior men’s competition at the 1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships Wednesday night at Market Square Arena.
“Today was just not a good day,” said a self-critical Wilson, who posted an all-around score of 55.675. “I didn’t hit a routine all night. There’s really no explanation. I guess it was just one of those nights. Usually my second day is better, but I just need to hit my routines on Friday. I’m looking forward to Friday, and hopefully I can turn it around.”
Wilson won the gold medal in parallel bars with a score of 9.550 and took silvers in still rings and pommel horse. If he completes the three-peat on Friday, it will mark the first time it has been done since former world champion Kurt Thomas achieved the feat from 1976-78.
Jason Gatson (Upland, Calif.) claimed individual event titles in floor exercise and high bar to become the only double gold medalist of the day, adding a silver medal in the vault. Gatson was in third place in the all-around with a score of 55.050. He trailed Wilson and Jay Thornton (Augusta, Ga.), who took bronze medals in vault, parallel bars and high bar on the way to a 55.300.
“This meet is a stepping stone for 1999 and 2000,” said Thornton, referring to next year’s World Championships in Tianjin, China, and the Sydney Olympic Games. “We’re all concentrating on increasing the difficulty of our routines and preparing for international competition, so in that respect, this year is just as important.”
One of the highlights of the evening came in the first rotation of the evening when Brent Klaus (Stroudsburg, Pa.) scored a 10.0 on vault to claim the individual title in that event, the first perfect score recorded by a male gymnast in that event at the national championships.
“I was very surprised about my 10 on the vault,” Klaus said, “but obviously I’m extremely pleased. I was extremely nervous going into the competition and I’m excited about my finish.” He ended the evening in ninth place in the all-around with a 51.775.
After posting the winning score on pommel horse, two-time Olympian John Roethlisberger (Minneapolis, Minn.) suffered a knee injury two events later on vault. Attempting to continue the competition in search of his fifth national all-around title, he further injured the knee while dismounting from the high bar. The preliminary examination indicated that he suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The 1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships continues through Saturday evening at Market Square Arena. For complete results and virtual rotation-by-rotation scoring updates, log on to USA Gymnastics Online at

1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships
August 19, 1998, Market Square Arena

Senior Division All-Around Standings (preliminary round, to be added to finals score on Friday)
1, Blaine Wilson, Columbus, Ohio, 55.675. 2, Jay Thornton, Augusta, Ga., 55.300. 3, Jason Gatson, Upland, Calif., 55.050. 4 (tie), Sean Townsend, Houston, Texas, and Steve McCain, Los Angeles, Calif., 53.475. 6, Mike Dutka, Fairless Hills, Pa., 52.525. 7, Guard Young, Oklahoma City, Okla., 52.450. 8, Garry Denk, Northbrook, Ill., 52.025. 9, Brent Klaus, Stroudsburg, Pa., 51.775. 10, Sanjuan Jones, Tallahassee, Fla., 51.450. 11, Trent Wells, Keizer, Ore., 51.375. 12, Jamie Natalie, Wilmington, Del., 51.300. 13 (tie), Gabe Hansen, Tulsa, Okla., and Mike Moran, Windsor, Conn., 51.250. 15, Chris Young, Winston-Salem, N.C., 51.200. 16, Todd Strada, Alpharetta, Ga., 51.175. 17, Kevin Roulston, Lititz, Pa., 50.975. 18 (tie), Justin Toman, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Derek Leiter, Lincoln, Neb., 50.650. 20, Brett McClure, Mill Creek, Wash., 50.625. 21, Aaron Cotter, Lincoln, Neb., 50.600. 22, David Kruse, Lompoc, Calif., 50.550. 23, Brad Kenna, Barberton, Ohio, 50.500. 24, Darren Morace, Westfield, Mass., 50.200. 25, Jeff LaVallee, Stafford, Conn., 50.150. 26, Jim Foody, Addison, Ill., 50.075. 27, Scott Vetere, Pennsburg, Pa., 49.575. 28, Kenny Sykes, Memphis, Tenn., 49.550. 29, Steve Van Etten, Riverside, Calif., 49.475. 30, Andrew Pileggi, Reno, Nev., 49.350. 31, Mike Morgan, Cincinnati, Ohio, 49.250. 32, Adam Benas, Latham, N.Y., 48.600. 33, Izy Mlay, Fremont, Calif., 48.525. 34, Ken Schiess, Sandy, Utah, 48.325. 35, Lindsey Fang, Allentown, Pa., 48.125. 36, Brendan O’Neil, Marlboro, N.J., 48.000. 37, Freddie Umali, San Jose, Calif., 47.950. 38, Mike Canales, Rochester, N.Y., 47.750. 39, Aaron Vexler, Amherst, Mass., 47.550. 40, Jason Krane, Marlboro, N.J., 47.000. 41, Peter Wieging, Tempe, Ariz., 46.950. 42 (tie), Josh Levin, Glen Ellyn, Ill., and Jon Portillo, Laguna Nigel, Calif., 46.750. 44, Kyle Zak, Plano, Texas, 46.350. 45, Randy Sooter, Tucson, Ariz., 46.300. 46, Jonathan Plante, Killingworth, Conn., 46.100. 47, Daren Lynch, Columbus, Ohio, 45.550. 48, John Roethlisberger, Minneapolis, Minn., 43.075. 49, Ron Roeder, Montrose, Pa., 43.000. 50, Jeff Johnson, Everson, Wash., 9.650. 51, Cortney Bramwell, Lewisville, Idaho, 9.250. 52, Todd Bishop, Cohoes, N.Y., 8.000.

Individual Event Champions

Floor Exercise: 1, Jason Gatson, 9.700. 2, Brent Klaus, 9.525. 3, Brendan O’Neil, 9.500. Pommel Horse: 1, John Roethlisberger, 9.575. 2, Blaine Wilson, 9.525. 3, Stephen McCain, 9.400. Still Rings: 1, Jeff Johnson, 9.650. 2, Blaine Wilson, 9.550. 3, John Roethlisberger, 9.400. Vault: 1, Brent Klaus, 10.000. 2, Jason Gatson, 9.700. 3, Jay Thornton, 9.650. Parallel Bars: 1, Blaine Wilson, 9.550. 2, Sean Townsend, 9.250. 3, Jay Thornton, 9.100. High Bar: 1, Jason Gatson, 9.400. 2, Jim Foody, 9.300. 3, Jay Thornton, 9.250.