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Next American gymnasts tumbling onto scene

Posted: March 2, 2013 3:00 p.m.
Updated: March 2, 2013 3:00 p.m.

Jacob Dalton, of the United States, performs on the rings during the American Cup gymnastics competition in Worcester, Mass.

 

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Fifteen-year-old Katelyn Ohashi won her first senior gymnastics competition, and Olympian Jake Dalton took the men's title on Saturday at the American Cup.

The event is the first of the World Cup season and the most prestigious international gymnastics competition on U.S. soil. It was supposed to be Kyla Ross' return to competition after the London Olympics, but the youngest member of the Fierce Five dropped out with a bruised heel.

Instead, it turned into a coming out party for the next generation of American women, Ohashi and runner-up Simone Biles, who will try to follow up London gold with a repeat in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Previous American Cup winners included future Olympic champions Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.

Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas were in attendance — doing the Harlem Shake, firing a T-shirt cannon and awarding prizes to members of the crowd of 4,577. Ross performed an exhibition on the balance beam before the awards ceremony.

Ohashi, the 2011 U.S. junior champion, scored a 15.333 on the balance beam and held onto the lead with a 14.4 on the floor exercise. Biles, who was third at juniors last year and, like Ohashi, found out she was in the field on Tuesday, had a 15.733 on the vault — the highest score in the competition — and was in position to win before falling off the balance beam during a tumbling series near the end of her routine.

Dalton, the 2012 NCAA champion who was fifth in the floor exercise in London, surpassed a field that included the Olympic silver and bronze medalists with four scores of 15 or higher, including a 15.7 on the floor.

Danell Leyva, the defending American Cup champion and winner of the bronze all-around in London, struggled to recover from a stomach bug and stumbled badly in the floor exercise and high bar and finished sixth in the field of eight. Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev was second on the men's side, followed by London silver medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany.

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