Once Mel's start value was straightented out, she almost reached perfection.
Feb. 13, 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.
OUCH! The UTES are on FIRE!!!
Last Friday's meet at Utah State went great. Everyone was on top of their game and it made for Utah's highest score so far this season. Everyone stepped up their performances; improvements were everywhere. One of the most noticeable was the landings. All year the coaches have stressed landings and on Friday it paid off. The girls were hitting vaults like it was going out of style, not to mention beam and bar dismounts as well! It was really good to see everyone having fun and doing well at the same time. Every gymnast who took the floor had a smile on her face and confidence in her step. When the Red Rocks have that kind of attitude, you can't shake 'em and it is impossible to stop 'em. Needless to say, it was a happy bus trip home from Logan!
I'm sure you have heard about the other excitement at the meet about Mel's beam score and if not, I'll give you the inside scoop. Those of you watching the meet saw an almost flawless routine from junior Melissa Vituj, but then a 9.775 was posted. Now, how could a routine that good get such a low score? (Not that scores matter. Mel did an amazing routine, added some difficulty in her flight series, and that's all that really matters. But, it is nice to know why she received that crazy score).
Well folks, judges are human too and they get caught up in watching our gymnasts just as much as we do. At Utah State, the judges were so interested in the fact that Mel sings during her beam routine they completely missed her full turn. That doesn't seem like a very big problem, but because that particular skill is a requirement, .20 was taken off of her start value. Let me step back for a minute to clarify this further. Each college gymnast starts every routine at a 9.50. From there, they can add .50 to the start value by doing harder skills or difficult combinations of skills. This is called bonus. After they compete, the judges flash the start value and then the gymnast's score, which is the start value minus any deductions. In Melissa's case, we all know that she received all of her bonus and very, very few deductions, if any.
So when we saw a 9.80 start value, we knew that something was wrong. Mel ran in the locker room and watched the video that Cameron had taped, and sure enough, there was her full turn. In the meantime, Greg talked to the judges and they saw the error in their ways and changed Mel's start value from 9.80 to 10.0. The result was a career-best 9.975 for Mel. What a happy ending!!!
This week, the coaches started practice out by saying how wonderful everyone did on Friday. The team achieved all the coaches asked for, but like most coaches, they are constantly wanting more from their athletes. The difference between a good team and a great team is the willingness to push the limits and do just a little more than everyone else. The Red Rocks have proven to be a good team this year, now it is time to become great! The plan is to up the ante and start adding more difficulty to their routines. We have a very talented team this year with the capability to break out some incredible gymnastics. Wish them luck in the next few months to keep working hard and stay healthy.
We are away for two more weeks. This weekend we're at Arizona and then we're off to Oregon State. After that, it's hello Huntsman Center. And remember, even though the Utes are far away, you can still keep track of them on this website. See ya soon!
NO EXCUSES. . . . . NO REGRETS!