ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Danell Leyva has won his first title at the U.S. gymnastics championships, beating two-time defending champion and world bronze medalist Jonathan Horton.
Horton had all but erased Leyva’s lead midway through Friday night’s meet. But with Leyva making few mistakes and closing on his two best events, Horton had to be perfect. He wasn’t. He fell on his first release move on high bar, his second-to-last event, and Leyva finished with a high-flying spectacle on high bar to clinch the title.
After sticking his last landing, Leyva’s excitable stepfather and coach, Yin Alvarez, grabbed him in a bear hug and rubbed his head. “That’s my boy!” Alvarez yelled as Leyva walked off the podium.
Leyva finished with 183.8 points, 2.75 ahead of Horton. Three-time junior champ John Orozco was third.