Stars compete at Burbank Hilton

Jim Riggio

They came from all over North America, all young gymnasts, hoping to

continue to hone their skills in search of future glory.

More than 650 gymnasts from 48 teams were on hand at the Burbank

Airport Hilton during the weekend for the 23rd annual Golden State

Friendship Challenge.

"It's one of the top three meets in Southern California for junior

women's gymnastics," said Camille Goldberg, director of Golden State

Gymnastics, which hosted the meet.

Chris Clark, the head coach for Golden State, said he was

impressed with the quality of talent he saw throughout the weekend.

"There are some of the younger ones that definitely have

potential, but it's a long road," Clark said of the Olympic dream.

"Only seven girls get picked every four years."

One of the most talented gymnasts of the meet was 15-year-old

Bridget Glass of Oakley, Calif. Glass, who competes for Golden Gate

Gymnastics, is figured to be one gymnast with an impressive future.

She plans to participate in a series of meets around the country

later this spring.

Glass said she realizes making the Olympic team won't be easy, and

she is looking at alternatives if she isn't one of the seven selected

to compete in the 2004 Athens games.

"I think it would be great to get to the Olympics," said Glass,

who said she spends 22 hours a week training. "I also want to go to a

Division I college, like UCLA or Stanford."

One athlete who competed in the event who stands a good chance of

being a part of the Olympics or other international events is

16-year-old Danielle Hicks of Oshawa, Canada. She is a member of the

Senior National Team.

"The goal for this meet was to get a feel for some new skills on

the balance beam and on the bars, because I've been out with a back

injury," Hicks said. "I achieved those goals the first day of being

here, because it went real well and I connected on my skill on the

bars."

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