Freshman Kristen Riffanacht has been awesome in the first three meets.
Jan. 29, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY - Annie Medcalf, a member of Utah's gymnastics team from 2001-02, had a promising career cut short when a tumor was discovered in her vertebra. She underwent surgery last spring that required the fusing of five vertebrae, along with the removal of the tumor. Medcalf, a former U.S. National Team member from Stow, Ohio, has remained with the Utah team as an undergraduate student-assistant coach while she completes her academic degree. She is also writing a weekly diary.
WE'RE NUMBER ??????????
How do you go 1-2 in your home arena and wind up ranked No. 1? Good question. Answer -- don't pay too much attention to early season polls. Hey, we feel pretty good about where we are right now. Yes, we lost two close meets to very good teams that were on fire. But, we have not counted a fall yet this season. Our scores have been consistent even while using a variety of people in the line-up. Our freshmen are getting valuable experience that will pay dividends later in the season. They've really done a great job. We are getting a better feeling of who we are and what we need to do. We have the potential to get much better as the season progresses. Did I say potential, no -- we WILL get better as the season goes on. The team is working hard to eliminate those pesky little deductions, to stick landings and to add difficulty at the appropriate time.
I have a good feeling about this weekend. The Red Rocks are anxious for their first road trip. We love competing in the Huntsman Center, but it's time to shake things up a bit and see how we handle the challenges of competing at someone else's place. So we're off to Minnesota this weekend: "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and more importantly Mall of America. Here we come! Shop till you drop; isn't that the Minnesota state motto?
Sidebar: On Monday after practice, the team went to see Aeros, a gymnastics group from Romania. They were performing here on campus. Following the show we spent a little time with the athletes and also were introduced to some of our state senators that are in town for their legislative meetings. It was fun to see gymnastics showcased in a theatrical performance and it's always inspiring to meet and spend time with other athletes.
Now for my injury report, which gets better every week. Let me rephrase that ... it gets better every day! Kulio is looking strong. She has been swinging bars and doing a lot on beam. Monday and Tuesday she even did a few timers on vault and basic tumbling on floor. Tom, our team trainer, is tremendous! He has been hard at work putting these girls back together and is doing an excellent job. (The magic wand is working overtime these days!) He is expecting Kuli to be back as early as this weekend!
On Tuesday, Dominique did full bar routines and landed her dismount on the resi mat. That is just unbelievable. She had surgery that required two pins to be placed in her ankle on January 31. Modern medicine, coupled with her determination, has been amazing. She is also doing dance through routines on floor and beam with everything except tumbling. Crystal is also making good progress and is doing most of her routines on bars and beam. She even went over the vaulting table a few times on Tuesday. Gabi gets closer each week and could probably do a beam routine if we really needed her anytime now. All of them are anxious to get out and compete for the UTES.
As for the rest, they all seem determined to pick up the pace and work even harder to continue improvement. We changed up practices again this week, trying to keep things fresh and everyone focused. While improvement is seldom without its ups and downs, I think we are poised for something great sometime in the next few weeks. So stay tuned.
"Nothing great can be done without passion."