Area gymnasts Courtney Kupets and Ashley Postell have been selected to compete in the American Cup on March 1 at George Mason's Patriot Center.

Kupets, a 16-year-old from Gaithersburg, won a gold medal on the uneven bars at the 2002 world championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in November. Postell, 16, from Mitchellville, won the gold medal on the balance beam at the worlds. They are part of a four-woman U.S. team that will compete against four international gymnasts in March. The competition also will include four U.S. men's gymnasts against a quartet of international competitors.

"We're so excited to have two hometown heroes competing in the competition," said Dan Knise, co-chair of the American Cup local organizing committee. "We're expecting local ticket sales to boom."

According to Knise, organizers already have sold close to 3,000 tickets.

"These two young ladies took the world by complete surprise last fall in Hungary and are an indication of the depth of our talent," said Bob Colarossi, president of USA Gymnastics.

The American Cup is the first international competition in a series leading up to the 2003 world championships, which will take place Aug. 16-24 in Anaheim, Calif., and the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. The event brings together the top male and female gymnasts from the United States and from around the world. Past champions of the American Cup include Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas, Julianne McNamara and Mary Lou Retton.

Joining Kupets and Postell on the U.S. team are Tasha Schwikert of Las Vegas and Carly Patterson of Allen, Tex. Schwikert won the American Cup last year and is a two-time U.S. national champion. Patterson is the reigning U.S. junior national champion.

Two-time Olympian Blaine Wilson, Sean Townsend and defending U.S. national champion Paul Hamm have been selected to the men's team. The fourth member of the U.S. team will be selected following the men's Winter Cup Challenge in February.