Feb. 2, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
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The No. 4 ranked Utah gymnasts will put their 4-0 mark on the line against one of college gymnastics new powers this Friday in the Huntsman Center when they host No. 8 Iowa (4-2) ... Iowa, which has won its last two meets with scores of 196.75 and 196.775, qualified to the NCAA Championships last year for the first time ever ... This is the first of two meetings between Utah and Iowa this year. They will both compete in Seattle in a tri-meet with Washington on Mar. 5 ... Good seats remain for Friday's University Park Marriott Classic and tickets may be obtained from the Ute ticket office (801-581-UTIX) and on the Internet (UtahUtes.com).
This Friday's meet will feature three of the best all-arounders in the nation, led by Utah All-American Annabeth Eberle
. Eberle, who has won her last three all-around competitions, is ranked No. 4 in the nation this week with a 39.612 average. Close behind the star Ute are two Hawkeyes: Stephanie Gran is ranked No. 5 (39.608) and Alexis Maday is No. 6 (39.542). Eberle is also ranked No. 3 on vault with a 9.956 average, while Gran is No. 2 on floor (9.958).
BIG 10 AGAIN AND AGAIN
Utah is in the middle of a three-meet Big Ten stretch. The Utes, who beat Minnesota last Friday in Salt Lake City (196.600-194.625), will host Iowa this Friday. Then it's off to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a dual meet with the Michigan Wolverines on Feb. 14.
This week's Top 25 poll is based on season average: 1. Alabama 197.344, 2. Georgia 196.930, 3. UCLA 196.790, 4. Utah 196.769, 5. Iowa State 196.737, 6. Florida 196.612, 7. Stanford 196.600, 8. Iowa 196.400, 9. Nebraska 196.225, 10. Oklahoma 196.110, 11. Washington 195.950, 12. Missouri 195.887, 13. Arkansas 195.869, 14. Louisiana State 195.856, 15. Arizona 195.825, 16. Auburn 195.783, 17. Michigan 195.781, 18. Arizona State 195.333, 19. Kent State 195.270, 20. Oregon State 195.112, 21. Penn State 195.087, 22. West Virginia 194.894, 23. North Carolina 194.708, 24. New Hampshire 194.706, 25. Denver 194.687
won two events and the all-around, Melissa Vituj
performed a rare triple twisting flyaway dismount on bars and Veronique Leclerc
returned from the injury list to win bars in a 196.600-194.625 victory over then No. 23 ranked Minnesota. Eberle stayed undefeated (4-0) on vault with her 9.95 routine. She won her third straight all-around (39.60) and floor (9.925) titles, tying for the latter with Vituj. Vituj also won beam (9.925) and Leclerc came back from a two-week layoff to win bars (9.85).
Junior All-American Annabeth Eberle
is No. 4 in the national all-around rankings for the second straight week (39.612 average) and moved up a place to No. 3 on vault (9.956 average) ... Also ranked in the top 20 on vault for the nation's best vaulting team are freshmen Rachel Tidd
(No. 12, 9.894) and Nicolle Ford
(No. 17, 9.887) ... Eberle leads Utah with 12 victories, an average of 3.0 per meet. She is undefeated (4-0) on vault and has won the last three all-around competitions ... Freshman Stephanie Lim
, who competed well in exhibition on three events last week, has earned a place in the lineup this week on vault, bars and floor ... Junior Gritt Hofmann's
hip continues to be a problem and she is doubtful for this Friday. Hofmann missed Utah's meet at BYU on Jan. 23 after injuring her hip in the pre-meet warm-ups. She tried a floor routine last week vs. Minnesota and aggravated the injury.
Utah and Iowa have met just twice previously, with Utah winning both (1989 and 1992) ... Utah leads 1-0 in the Huntsman Center (1989) ... Their other competition was in Provo in 1992.
Ranked No. 8 ... 4-2 record ... season-high 196.775 last week in a win over North Carolina State ... biggest win to date was against perennial NCAA Championships' qualifier Michigan (196.75-196.325) on Jan. 24 ... meet in SLC is first on the road for the Hawkeyes since they placed second of four teams (behind Washington) at the Cancun Invitational in Cancun, Mexico, on Jan. 2 ... Seniors Stephanie Gran (39.608 average) and Alexis Maday (39.542 average) are ranked No. 5 and 6 in the all-around this week ... Gran is No. 2 on floor (9.958) ... Head coach Mike Lorenzen is 21-23 in his fifth year.
, the most successful coach in collegiate gymnastics history, is in his 29th year at Utah. He is college gymnastics' only 700 win coach (784-130-5). In regular season competition, Marsden is 389-56-2. He has spent his entire career at Utah and has won 10 national championships, double that of any other coach. Four of those titles came in the '90s (1990, '92, '94, '95). Fifteen of his teams have placed in the top-three at the national championships, most recently in 2000 (second). Marsden is a seven-time National Coach of the Year recipient.
"Iowa is the real deal. They have been consistently scoring in the mid to high 196 range. We'll certainly have to put forth a better effort this week than we have in the past two weeks if we expect to remain undefeated. Our schedule will continue to be very challenging. After this week's meet with Iowa, we go on the road to some places where it's very hard to win: Michigan and Arizona State.
"While I wish we'd performed a little better the last two weeks, we're moving a lot of people in and out of the lineup in an effort to determine what works best. Although she competed in exhibition last week, Stephanie Lim continues to impress everyone and has earned an opportunity to be in the lineup to count. Melissa Vituj has been upgrading her difficulty, ending her bar routine with a rare triple twisting flyaway, and adding a double twisting front layout to her floor routine. Annabeth Eberle's ankle seems to be improving, which is great news. She seems unshakable. It was good to have Veronique Leclerc back in the lineup. She did an especially good job on bars.">br>