Lakes Points Way to U.S. Championships : He Has Highest Score in Western Gymnastics Qualifying Meet

Associated Press

Charlie Lakes of Los Angeles won three events Sunday--scoring a near-perfect 9.90 points on the horizontal bar--to qualify with the highest score for the United States Gymnastics Championships next month in Houston.

Also headed for the national meet on the strength of scoring 112 points or more in the U.S. Gymnastics Federation Western Regional Trials are Robert Gauthier of Brigham Young University, John Sweeney of Arizona State and Mike Matzek of Stanford.

Meet officials said that with only four competitors qualified from the West, it is possible others will get invitations to the championships, which require a field of at least 72.

Two other regionals were held this weekend at Iowa City, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio.

Following the U.S. championships, the Olympic team will be chosen for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

Lakes accumulated 114.90 points in the two-day meet. He scored 57.60 points in six compulsory events Saturday and came back with a 57.30-point effort Sunday in the optional competition.

Gauthier had 112.30 to Sweeney's 112.25 and 112.00 for Matzek.

Along with the horizontal bar, Lakes won the pommel horse with a 9.65 and tied for first in floor exercise with Gauthier and UCLA's Brian Ginsberg at 9.65.

Sweeney, a national champion in floor exercise and vault, was eighth after the compulsories with 55.95 but earned his berth in the national meet with firsts in the vault and parallel bars. His vault score of 9.65 and a 9.75 on the bars helped him to a 56.30 for the day and 112.25 for the meet.

Matzek edged Gauthier in the rings, 9.80 to 9.65.

Lakes said the regionals were difficult because they were his first real meet in about a year.

"It's tough to take time off and come into a meet," Lakes said.

Lakes said he missed part of his routine on the horizontal bar and thought he would lose three-tenths of a point. However, the judges did not make the deduction.

"I was really upset with myself but was happy when I saw my score," Lakes said.

In conjunction with the Olympic-level competition, a second event was held to determine berths for next year's National Team. Mike Bowers of Tucson, Ariz., and Arizona State's Jody Newman automatically qualified with scores of 109.65 and 105.60, respectively.

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