Casey Bryan, 15, of Woods Cross went into his last event of the all-around national-championship competition late Saturday night thinking he was .1 down, but even after he scored only 8.55 in that event, he was the U.S. Gymnastics Federation's Class II national all-around champion by a full point.
Bryan and USA Gymnastics World Coach Chris Leech had been a little mixed up on the scores, but it made little difference.Bryan, the No. 1-ranked 15-and-under male in the country, won his first national all-around championship 111.1-110.1 over J.D. Rieves of New Jersey Saturday at Cal State University-Fullerton. Joe Duda of New Jersey was third at 109.8. There were 216 boys in Class II.
Bryan followed it up with a gold medal on parallel bars in Sunday's individual-event finals. He also took silver medals on rings and horizontal bar and bronze in vaulting and floor exercise. In fact, he placed 10th on pommel horse, too, even though he didn't make the finals in that event. His two-day score was 10th-best in the country.
"We definitely put Utah on the map," says Leech, whose club members also took home a national Class I (16-up) gold medal on parallel bars by Rob Kjar of Woods Cross and a bronze medal in Class I vaulting by Jeff Harris of Sandy.
Kjar finished 15th and Harris was 41st in the Class I all-around. It's the first year in that division for both of them.
Bryan is only the second male national junior all-around champion from Utah. Darren Elg, of Sandy and currently BYU, was the first to win one in 1987.
Leech said that for Sunday's individual-event finals, Bryan "was a little french-fried after the high of winning the national championship." Saturday's all-around concluded about 2 a.m. MDT.
On Sunday, Bryan went into bars down .8, based on Saturday's scores, but his 9.6 Sunday was the highest individual score of anyone under 19 years old in the meet, said Leech, and his two-day total was 18.75.
Bryan lost the gold on high bar by .05 to Jamie Ellis of New Mexico, 19.1-19.05, and he lost the gold on rings by .25, totaling 18.7.