ACRO TEAM OFF TO GOOD START

March 26, 2003 11:00 pm

CERES — The American Sports Acro and Gymnastics team of Sonora earned a bevy of medals in its first meet of the season.

Many of the medals were won by first-year competitors:

• Jade Mena, Abby Castleberry and Vanessa Walker won a gold medal with a score of 20.05 in women's trio.

• Angela Gardella and Julianne Capito scored 19.8 for a gold in women's pair.

• Tommy Hudson and Kadi Patterson won gold in mixed pairs at 17.05.

• Nicholas Ashe and Colton Patterson scored 18.4 for a gold in men's pair.

• Aaron Sloan, Trevor Stevens, Patterson and Iain Ward scored 17.15 for a gold in men's four.

• Jessica Scholz and Merolyn Niemann earned a silver at 19.2 in women's pair.

• Jazmyn Hyde and Jacqueline Pierce scored 15.00 for a women's pair bronze.

Also, Haylee Stevens and Castleberry finished third with a 18.95 with a routine set to music from "Aladdin."

In advanced competition, veterans Jordan Thomason, Kayla Njirich and Jessica Williams earned a bronze in trio with scores of 12.49 in balance and 11.47 in tempo. Thomas has four years in the sport, Njirich five and Williams 14.

They competed at level 10, the highest in acrosports except for elite.

Next up, on Sunday, is a meet in Fremont. Also scheduled are meets April 5 in San Jose and April 26 in Madera, the state championships May 17 and 18 in Riverside, the regional championships June 28 and 29 at a site to be determined, and the nationals Aug. 2 through 7 in Florida.