Annabeth Eberle on her way down from a huge hop full.
Jan. 17, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
The No. 3 ranked Utah gymnastics team had its second great meet in two weeks, but this time, the Utes got back to the business of winning. Utah, which lost its 23-year-old home court win streak to top-ranked UCLA last week, started a new one against Brigham Young with a 196.800-194.700 win in the Huntsman Center. The Utes evened their record at 1-1 while BYU is 0-1.
Once again, Melissa Vituj was sensational on all four events only to settle for a close second place behind a "Jamie". Vituj, who finished second to Jamie Dantzscher of UCLA on Jan. 10, was edged 39.650-39.625 by BYU's Jaime Mabray this night. Still, Vituj tied her career high and improved her mark from last week's 39.60.
Vituj wasn't the only Ute to keep the crowd of 10,597 on its feet. Sophomore Annabeth Eberle placed third in the all-around with a 39.25 and set a personal-best on bars with a 9.95, courtesy in part to possibly the highest hop full in the history of the universe. Senior Kim Allan's season-best 39.125 was good for fourth place in the all-around.
While the Utes slightly improved upon their 196.75 score in the season-opener, only some extra exuberance kept them from cracking 197.00.
"If we'd hit floor, we'd have had a huge score," noted Head Coach Greg Marsden after the meet. "But we had an overabundance of energy. All of our mistakes were due to aggressiveness, which I'll take any day over being tentative."
Utah topped 49.00 on the first three events before ending with a 48.975 on floor. After starting with a 49.15 on the vault, Eberle's high-flying bar routine sealed a 49.325 score on that event. Utah stepped it up a notch on the beam, thanks in a large part to an incredible lead-off effort by sophomore Gritt Hofmann. Hofmann, who is bucking to move down in the lineup, performed a nearly flawless routine that received a 9.875. From the No. 3 spot, Allan set a new career mark with a 9.90 score. Vituj, ranked first in the nation on the beam to start the week, shouldn't lose ground after this meet, when she once again scored a 9.95.
Utah's freshmen again contributed big in the absence of senior All-American and NCAA Champion Theresa Kulikowski. Kristen Riffanacht showed she is an up-and-coming power by scoring a 9.875 on vault, 9.825 on bars and 9.80 on floor. Freshman Natalie Nicoloff chipped in a nice lead-off floor routine that earned a 9.80.