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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:57 a.m., Friday, April 14, 2006

Hawai'i trampolinist advances to final

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i's Nani Vercruyssen placed fourth in the junior trampoline preliminaries on Friday and narrowly advanced to Saturday's Pacific Alliance Gymnastic Championships finals at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

Vercruyssen, a 14-year-old Kaimuki Middle School eighth-grader, is trying to become the first Hawai'i trampoline gymnast to win a medal at the Honolulu event.

American Erin Blanchard scored 61.60 to win the preliminaries. Canada's Samantha Sendel was second at 57.10 followed by Australia's Jaimi Meyer at 56.30 and Vercruyssen at 55.70.

Vercruyssen absorbed a 2.4 deduction on her optional routine when she lost her balance, and bounced off the trampoline on to the padded outer surface before landing in a standing position on the floor.

The top four out of six gymnasts qualified for Saturday's 4 p.m. finals. Events also are being held at the Neal Blaisdell Arena.

Vercruyssen is competing in her first international competition in Hawai'i. She is one of the eight members on the U.S. Trampoline Team. A crowd of about 90 friends and family gathered to watch Vercruyssen compete.

This is the first time trampoline — an Olympic discipline — is being held at the Honolulu event which ends Saturday.

Team USA won the senior women's all-around title Thursday night. Americans Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel tied for the all-around gold medal.

Memmel is the reigning all-around world champion, and Liukin is the world all-around silver medalist.