Feb. 17, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Next up for the No. 4 ranked Utah gymnastics team (5-1) is a tri-meet against No. 24 Arizona State (5-3) and Air Force (2-9) in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday, Feb. 20 ... The meet will start at 7:00 p.m. MST in the Wells Fargo Arena ... Utah suffered its first loss of the season last Saturday at (then) No. 12 Michigan, 196.725-196.350 ... All-America all-arounder Annabeth Eberle
, who is currently ranked fourth in the nation in the all-around, will miss this week's meet due to an ankle injury.
This week's Top 25 poll is based on season average. Next week, the rankings move to regional qualifying score: 1. Alabama 197.254, 2. Georgia 197.119, 3. UCLA 197.104, 4. Utah 196.846, 5. Florida 196.700, 6. Iowa State 196.567, 7. Stanford 196.500, 8. Iowa 196.442, 9. Nebraska 196.300, 10. (tie) Missouri, Louisiana State 196.250, 12. Oklahoma 196.175, 13. Michigan 196.162, 14. Auburn 196.135, 15. Arizona 196.125, 16. Washington 196.000, 17. Arkansas 195.975, 18. Oregon State 195.683, 19. Kent State 195.457, 20. North Carolina 195.365, 21. Denver 195.350, 22. Penn State 195.305, 23. West Virginia 195.260, 24. Arizona State 195.210, 25. Minnesota 195.033.
Injuries, illness and falls on vault and beam sent Utah reeling to its first loss of the year on Feb. 14, 196.725-196.350. Starters Annabeth Eberle
, Gritt Hofmann
and Stephanie Lim
missed all or part of the meet due to ailments and Utah had to count a fall on both vault and floor. Despite the loss, Utes won three of the four individual event titles: Eberle won the vault with a 9.95, even while injuring her ankle on the landing, Nicolle Ford
won the beam (9.90) and Melissa Vituj
captured floor honors (9.95). Utah led after three events but couldn't hold on when two Utes fell off the balance beam on the final rotation.
Utah's sophomore class has received less acclaim than its freshman or upperclass counterparts, but it has been a model of consistency. Kristen Riffanacht
(11-11), Natalie Nicoloff
(7-7), Gabriella Onodi
(4-4) and Dominique D'Oliveira
(4-7) have combined to "hit" 26-29 routines. Only the tiny junior class: Annabeth Eberle
(22-22) and Gritt Hofmann
(5-5) can claim a better "hit" percentage.
Utah expects to compete this week without the services of junior All-American Annabeth Eberle
, who is off to a terrific start despite a painful ankle condition. Eberle has been competing on an ankle that will require surgery when the season is over ... Eberle is currently ranked No. 4 in the all-around (39.625 average), No. 3 on vault (9.958), No. 9 on beam (9.895) and No. 10 on floor (9.915, tie). Veronique Leclerc
is ranked No. 16 on bars (9.869) and Nicolle Ford
is No. 17 on vault (9.892) ... Eberle leads Utah with 16 victories, has "hit" all 22 routines she has performed and is 6-0 in vault competitions this season ... Melissa Vituj
has four victories, second behind Eberle ... freshman Stephanie Lim
is expected to return to the lineup after a one-meet absence due to illness ... junior Gritt Hofmann
is questionable after missing all or most of the last four meets with hip and back injuries.
Utah vs. Arizona State: Utah leads 52-16-1. Series is tied 8-8-1 in Tempe. Utes lead 20-9-1 in regular season competition. Series was annual from 1976-98, but Utah and ASU have meet just four times since then. Last Ute win was in 2001 at the NCAA Championships. Last ASU win was in 2003 in Salt Lake City (197.450-197.150). Last Utah win in Tempe was in 1998. Last ASU win in Tempe was in 2000.
Utah vs. Air Force: Utah leads 1-0. Only meeting was at the 2001 NCAA Regionals in Salt Lake City.
Ranked No. 24 ... dropped seven places in the national rankings after its worst meet of the year last week at Washington (ASU lost 197.325-193.075) ... Sun Devils had three falls on bars, beam and floor in their meet at UW ... 5-3 ... 2-0 at home ... season-high 196.975 in win over Oregon State on Feb. 6 ... top all-arounders are sophomore Ashley Kelly (39.575 season best) and freshman Cassandra Jusino (39.45 best) ... former Ute All-American Shelly Schaerrer (Eaton) is in her third year as an ASU assistant ... head coach John Spini has a 294-106-2 record in his 24th season.
AIR FORCE UPDATE
Unranked ... 2-9 ... junior Jessica Liegl set a school all-around record on Feb. 8 (39.35) ... head coach Lisa Woody is 9-19 in her fourth year.
, the most successful coach in collegiate gymnastics history, is in his 29th year at Utah. He is college gymnastics' only 700 win coach (785-131-5). In regular season competition, Marsden is 390-57-2. 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.
"Obviously, I wish we were changing our lineup by choice and not as a result of injuries. However, I did plan that at some point this season, I would give others an opportunity to prove themselves in a competitive situation. They are all capable of doing a great job. In some ways it will be exciting to see how our team responds. We have to get Annabeth (Eberle) off that ankle long enough to see if we can get it to where it can withstand landings. For the past two weeks, she's landed and irritated it, so at this point we need to see if we can improve her situation before we get to the end of the season. I think Gritty (Hofmann) is getting better and may be back in the lineup sometime in the next two or three weeks.
"Although we have had at times had success at ASU, they rarely lose at home and are usually at their best there. ASU is an extremely talented team that is struggling with consistency right now. However, they are poised to have a breakout meet and I know they'll be ready for the Utes."