Gritt Hofmann shared the floor title with freshman Kristina Baskett.
Jan. 7, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY -
SALT LAKE CITY--The Utah gymnastics team overcame a rocky start and took advantage of UCLA's even rockier finish to win its opening meet, 194.875-193.850, in Pauley Pavilion. A win seemed out of the question for the No. 2 Utes after they kicked off the season with two falls on the uneven bars. Despite righting the ship after the disastrous start, Utah went into the final rotation trailing the No. 3 Bruins (5-1) by .325. A shocking finish on the floor exercise by UCLA, which committed three falls and a major break, let the Utes back into the chase. Utah responded with a solid beam set to snatch its third straight victory over the Bruins. Utah has now won three of its last four season-openers--all against UCLA.
Nothing suggested a Utah victory after sophomores Katie Kivisto and Ashley Postell fell victim to opening-night nerves and fell off the uneven bars. Relief came from freshman Nina Kim, who was mostly outstanding in her college debut and confidently swung through a 9.725 bar routine after the fall by Postell. Sophomore Jessica Duke (9.80), freshman Kristina Baskett (9.875) and junior Nicolle Ford (9.875) followed suit and the Utes wouldn't count another fall for the rest of the night.
"We tried to take ourselves out of it on the first two routines, but I told the team I was very proud of how they responded," said Utah head coach Greg Marsden. "It was obvious that our first two competitors were big-time nervous and the falls were very atypical of them. We did a good job on the other three events and I was pleased that none of our mistakes after (the opening falls) were due to tentativeness or nerves."
Ford placed second in the all-around with a 39.20, highlighted by her high degree of difficulty and execution o the bars (9.875) and balance beam (9.85). Hofmann also kicked off the New Year in midseason form, adding a 9.70 vault and 9.775 beam score to her winning floor routine.