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Davis Leads in Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition

June 26, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ Jessica Davis, who competed despite a stress fracture in her right leg, finished first in three rotations to take a commanding lead over six competitors in the U.S. Olympic rhythmic gymnastics trials Tuesday.

Davis, who won the 1995 Rhythmic National Championships and the U.S. Olympic Festival title, had an all-around score of 36.85.

Natalie Lacuesta, who was forced to scratch from the trials due to a stress fracture in her left fibula, stands second. She was allowed to enter her 1996 Rhythmic National Championship score of 35.981 under the event’s selection procedures.

Tina Tharp and Alicia Albe were tied for third at 35.75.

Lauri Illy was in fourth place at 35.37, Liriel Higa was fifth with 35.27, Meghan Muller had a 34.22 for sixth, and Sasha Chernenko had 34.15. Only one of the competitors will be chosen for the Olympic team.

Davis demonstrated great fluidity in her movements despite her injury. She scored a 9.35 in the rope rotation while Illy was second with a 8.975 and Tharp was third with an 8.925.

In the ball rotation, Davis scored a 9.5. Higa was second at 8.975 while Albe was third with an 8.9.

A score of 9.45 in the clubs placed Davis first in that rotation with Tharp scoring a 8.975 and Albe third with a 8.95.

Tharp broke Davis’ string of first-place finishes in the rotations when she won the ribbon rotation with a score of 9.3. Illy was second with a 9.1 while Albe scored a 9.0 to finish third.

Competition will conclude Wednesday in the rhythmic events with artistic events taking place Thursday, starting with men’s compulsory judging.

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