Aug. 7, 2001
NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma sophomore gymnast Jock Stevens and OU assistant coach Guard Young are among 38 competitors vying for spots on the U.S. National Team as the 2001 U.S. National Championships get underway Wednesday in Philadelphia. The top 14 gymnasts at this event will make up the 2001-02 U.S. National Team and the top six gymnasts will be selected to compete at October's World Championships in Belgium.
Stevens is competing in his fourth straight U.S. Championships. A former junior national champion in the floor exercise and the high bar, Stevens is competing at the senior level for only the second time.
"I went into the national qualifying competition with a make-or-break attitude, which was a lot of pressure," said Stevens. "So coming into this meet, I just want to have fun. I stayed in the gym all summer. I didn't take any sort of vacation, which was kind of a sacrifice, so I just want to go out and show everyone what I've learned. If I make the national team, that's just a bonus."
Young is a current U.S. national team member who hopes to retain his position and perhaps claim a spot on his first World Championships team. However, like Stevens, he isn't putting pressure on himself.
"My goal here is just to enjoy myself," said Young. "I just want to enjoy being in front of the crowd, because that's what gymnastics is about to me, performing."
"Guard has a real chance to make the world team and I expect him to make the national team," said Oklahoma Head Coach Mark Williams. "Jock has a real chance to make the senior national team for the first time, but I just want them both to go out and represent Oklahoma well."
NBC will broadcast the championships on September 2.