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MALONEY TAKES U.S. GYMNASTICS CROWN

A consistent performance in all four events paid off for 17-year-old Kristen Maloney as she won U.S. Gymnastics women's championship Saturday night.

Maloney, fourth in the national championship all-around competition last year, finished with 76.749 points to hold off the challenge of defending champion Vanessa Atler.

After the competition, Maloney was recognized as the gymnast of the year and sportswoman of the year for the second consecutive year by USA Gymnastics.

Atler, who last year became the first junior national champion to win the senior women's title the following year, was second with 75.762.

Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu placed third with 75.161 and Jennie Thompson, 17, placed fourth at 74.837.

Maloney, who will be a high school senior in Pen Argyl, Pa., in the fall, entered the all-around finals Saturday leading Moceanu by .715 points. Atler was in sixth after having problems on the uneven bars, in which she received a 8.225 from the judges.

"It made me a little bit nervous," Maloney said of going into the competition.

Maloney, who competed with a stress fracture in her tibia, finished first in a field that included three former national champions -- Atler, Moceanu and Kim Zmeskal.

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