July 03, 2008, 4:12 p.m. (ET)


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Jr. Olympic Skills competition, the official youth skills competition of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), will converge on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Candidate City of Chicago July 24-27 for the National Finals. Seventy-two athletes ages 8-13 will compete in four fundamental sports - basketball, soccer, tennis and track & field - for the opportunity to be crowned champions of their sport.

The athletes competing in Chicago qualified by winning their age and gender category at one of 150 regional events, stemming from 7,500 local qualifying events across the country. They represent the event's top 72 young athletes across the country out of more than 1.7 million competitors.

Now in its third year, the U.S. Jr. Olympic Skills competition, with the help of sponsors Kellogg's Frosted Flakes ®, AT&T, World Sport Chicago, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), McDonald's and Nike, introduces America's youth to the excitement of a multi-sport competition, encouraging participation in Olympic sport, emphasizing fair and friendly play, and promoting an active lifestyle.

"With the assistance of our sponsors and extensive community network, the U.S. Jr. Olympic Skills program is an avenue for youth to follow their dreams, stay physically active, build confidence and character, embrace the Olympic Movement and hopefully evolve into our next Olympians," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr.

Maritza Correia, two-time world champion, 11-time NCAA champion, 2004 Olympian and the first African-American woman to capture an Olympic swimming medal, will serve as athlete ambassador for the event. Correia will appear at the Opening Ceremony on July 24 at Soldier Field to share her story and inspire the competitors.

The athletes who qualified for the 2008 Jr. Olympic Skills National Finals can be found in the attached document and below. Competition will take place on the University of Illinois - Chicago campus. For more information on the Jr. Olympic Skills program, please visit www.jrolympicskills.com.

About the USOC
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. Learn more about the U.S. Olympic Team and USOC at www.usolympicteam.com.

For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at 719-866-4529.


2008 NATIONAL FINALISTS - BASKETBALL

8-9 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Hunter Whitaker Rochester, NH East
Ben Pyle McPherson, KS Central
Juan Carlos Garate Jr. Whittier, CA West

8-9 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Katherine Wolff Bowie, MD East
Taylor Robertson McPherson, KS Central
Savanna Christensen Laie, HI West

10-11 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Patrick Kilmartin Torrington, CT East
Tristan Baker Springfield, MO Central
Cameron Loftis San Jose, CA West

10-11 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Anne Rowe Hyattsville, MD East
Sydni Dykes Arden Hills, MN Central
Katie Nelson San Diego, CA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Lee Messier Narragansett, RI East
Matt McClure Bartlett, IL Central
Kyle Anderson Oregon City, OR West

12-13 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Kaliyah Mitchell Stone Mountain, GA East
Haley Cook Cicero, IN Central
Halie Bergman Hilmar, CA West


2008 NATIONAL FINALISTS - SOCCER

8-9 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Steven Foran Sarasota, FL East
Anthony Alvarez Melrose Park, IL Central
Brendan Armstrong Albuquerque, NM West

8-9 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Annika Mertens Travelers Rest, SC East
Emily McGuire Broken Arrow, OK Central
Kamaile Aluli Hauula, HI West

10-11 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Nate Inman Greenville, SC East
Cameron Young Tulsa, OK Central
Jonathan Barajas Indio, CA West

10-11 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Cheyenne Deininger Newport, NC East
Vanessa Ramage Racine, WI Central
Mara Basich-Pease San Luis Obispo, CA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Nathan Wallace-Springer Edinburg, VA East
Taylor Stephen Nixa, MO Central
Jose Munoz Stockton, CA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Haley Neese Mebane, NC East
Maria Martuch Birchrun, MI Central
Caitlin Cardoza Brentwood, CA West


2008 NATIONAL FINALISTS - TENNIS

8-9 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Case Tolliver Bluefield, WV East
Dylan Young Huntsville, AL Central
Saisiddarth Domala San Ramon, CA West

8-9 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Carissa Pompa Rochester, NY East
Madelyn Anderson Thompson, ND Central
Savanna Christensen Laie, HI West

10-11 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Kyle Chisu Edwards Morristown, NJ East
Vincent Rettke Madison, AL Central
Monroe Porter Parker, CO West

10-11 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Nicole Gabe Princeton, WV East
Erin Young Huntsville, AL Central
Jasmine Smith Landers, CA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Marco Amendola Cumberland, RI East
Ryan Fedewa Spring Lake, MI Central
Zachary Frampton Laie, HI West

12-13 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Abigail Muesse Winder, GA East
Katie Stanage Hot Springs Village, AR Central
Rachel Christensen Laie, HI West



2008 NATIONAL FINALISTS - TRACK & FIELD

8-9 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Ian Clough St. Johnsbury, VT East
Marcus L Martin Lorain, OH Central
Matthew Beck Martinez, CA West

8-9 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Nesiah Ely Potomac, MD East
Carley Helton Hebron, KY Central
Brianna Harvey Fort Irwin, CA West

10-11 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Brett Norman West Long Branch, NJ East
Jared Jubert Matteson, IL Central
Iram Hinojosa Eagle Pass, TX West

10-11 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Julie Duncan Medford, NJ East
Jasmine Finch Birmingham, AL Central
Jamilee Iddings Kelso, WA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Boys
Name Hometown Region
Shane Jackson Monticello, NY East
Geriand Cook Minneapolis, MN Central
Kyle Isom Vacaville, CA West

12-13 Year Old Division - Girls
Name Hometown Region
Taylor Konrath Marathon, FL East
Shayna Stevens Blue Springs, MO Central
Felicianna Vazquez Waianae, HI West
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