Casey Bryan of Woods Cross, who rose to prominence last year when he won the Junior National title in the 1993 National Gymnastics Championships at the Delta Center, has rocketed his way to not only the national senior team but the U.S. team for the World Championships as well.
Bryan finished sixth Thursday night in his first senior national championships at the Nashville (Tenn.) Auditorium to qualify for the national team (top 14 finishers) and the World Championships (top seven), which will be held in November in Dortmund, Germany. Bryan trained at USA Gymnastics World in Woods Cross and is now representing the University of Oklahoma, where he will be a sophomore.Bryan's total for compulsory (54.60) and optional (53.80) rounds was 108.56. The senior men's meet was won by UCLA's Scott Keswick (111.82). Bryan is the only newcomer to the national team.
Also making a national team in her national-championship debut is Tooele's Deidra Graham, 14, who trains with Sandy's Olympus School of Gymnastics. Graham placed 10th overall Thursday in the junior girls' division with a two-day total of 72.26 and qualifies for the national junior elite team (top 12), which means she will draw likely some assignments for international competition from the U.S. Gymnastics Federation.
Graham won the silver medal on uneven bars, scoring 9.65 in Thursday's optional round.
Olympus coach Mary Wright said Graham hit all eight (four compulsory, four optional) of her events. "Compulsories were the best four she's ever competed, and in optionals, she didn't even have a wobble on beam (9.25 score)."
Graham's teammate, Taryn Apgood, had troubles with her landings and placed 15th (69.94) in the junior competition. Cassidy Vreeke of Murray's Rocky Mountain Gymnastics, placed 21st (68.53). The junior competition was won by Dominique Moceanu of Karolyi's (Houston) (75.90).
Apgood, who scored 9.05 on optional bars despite a fall on her dismount (costing .6), was the only junior in the meet to use a Comaneci release and was thrilled, said Wright, that Nadia Comaneci was in the audience. Comaneci told Wright she was flattered someone was using her trademark front-flip-and-recatch move on the high bar and planned to sign an autograph for Apgood today.