Kristina Baskett (left) tied for the NCAA bar title. (Photo by AJ Boldan).
April 22, 2006
CORVALLIS, Ore. -
Ute freshman Kristina Baskett became Utah's first gymnastics NCAA champion since 2001 by winning her "worst event" at the individual event championships, Saturday. Baskett scored a 9.85 to tie Georgia's Courtney Kupets for the 2006 NCAA uneven bar title. The Ute rookie later marveled at her company on the winner's stand: Kupets is a World Champion on the event and a U.S. Olympian.
"I guess it's not my worst event anymore," understated Baskett, who is Utah's first uneven bar champion since Angie Leonard won it in 1999, and its first champion on any event since Theresa Kulikowski won the balance beam in 2001. Baskett warmed up for her victory on Thursday, when she won the afternoon session with a 9.90. She was also Utah's top bar scorer in the Super Six (9.875). She was accompanied on the uneven bar awards platform by teammates Ashley Postell (fifth, 9.7875) and Nicolle Ford (sixth, 9.775).
For the most part it was clear that the Ute contingent of Baskett, Postell, Ford and Gritt Hofmann had poured their hearts and limbs into team competition on Thursday and Friday to lead Utah to a second-place national finish. Only Baskett seemed to have anything but heart left for the individual competition. Postell, who along with Ford, competed in the all-around both team nights, qualified for finals on all four events. After two events, Postell said, "My body hurts all over. I don't have anything left." She later pulled out of the floor exercise competition, although she did compete and place on the uneven bars.
Postell, the NCAA all-around runner-up, finished fifth on bars (9.7875), seventh on beam (9.8) and eighth on vault (9.7813). Little wonder she was too tired to compete her big-trick floor routine: Postell was the only competitor of the championships to make the all-around every night, even though she scratched from floor finals.
By qualifying for team finals, all four Utes were automatically accorded first-team All-America status. Utah won a total of 11 All-America awards--eight first team and three second team.
Postell is a 10-time All-American after just two seasons--winning the most possible citations--and a nine-time first-team All-American. She was a five-time first-team All-American at this championships and the NCAA runner-up in the all-around. Postell placed third in the all-around and on the uneven bars as a freshman in 2005.
Along with Ford's two first-team honors this year was a second-team award in the all-around (she placed fifth in the afternoon session on April 20). Ford now owns seven All-America awards total, including four first-team honors, since 2004.
Hofmann, a first-team All-American on the floor exercise a year ago, finished her career as a two-time first-team All-American.
Freshman Baskett completed a sensational freshman season as a two-time All-American. She won second-team honors on vault (tying for seventh in the opening round).
2006 Utah All-Americans
Ashley Postell First Team All-Around: 2nd, 39.525 Vault: 8th, 9.7813 Bars: 5th, 9.7875 Beam: 7th, 9.8 Floor: scratch
Nicolle Ford First Team Vault: 7th, 9.7875 Bars: 6th, 9.775
Second Team All-Around: 5th (qualifying session), 39.275
Kristina Baskett First Team Bars: 1st, 9.85
Second Team Vault: 7th (qualifying session), 9.85
Gritt Hofmann First Team Vault: 10th, 9.725