March 3, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
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The No. 6 ranked Utah gymnasts (4-4) host No. 12 Washington (12-5) in the Arendal Kitchen Design Invitational this Friday starting at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center ... Utah hopes to snap a two-meet losing streak against a team it has never lost to in 30 previous meets (there has been one tie) ... Utah is averaging 10,011 spectators in its three home meets this year.
Utah is ranked No. 6 in the latest national rankings, which are based on regional qualifying score (RQS)*. The new top 25 follows: 1. UCLA 197.980, 2. Arizona State 197.285, 3. Alabama 197.205, 4. Nebraska 197.180, 5. Georgia 196.855, 6. Utah 196.800, 7. Florida 196.770, 8. Stanford 196.705, 9. Oregon State 196.360, 10. Michigan 196.355, 11. Auburn 196.100, 12. Washington 196.085, 13. Denver 196.035, 14. Louisiana State 195.915, 15. Oklahoma 195.705, 16. Ohio State 195.665, 17. Minnesota 195.554, 18. Arizona 195.520, 19. Iowa State 195.400, 20. Penn State 195.260, 21. Iowa 195.140, 22. California 195.075, 23. Missouri 194.990, 24. Brigham Young 194.935, 25. Central Michigan 194.845.
*The RQS is reached by taking a team's six best scores, of which at least three must be road meets, dropping the high score and averaging the remaining five.
Two falls on beam and floor overshadowed some outstanding individual performances and Utah lost to Michigan 196.750-195.875. It was Utah's worst score of the year. The Utes were led by Melissa Vituj
, who won the all-around with a 39.550, and Annabeth Eberle
, who tied for runner-up honors with a 39.475. Vituj also won the floor (9.95), while Eberle captured the beam (9.925) and Theresa Kulikowski
won the bars (9.95).
Three Utes are ranked in the top 10 nationally: Annabeth Eberle
is ranked No. 5 in the all-around (39.465) and is tied for sixth on floor (9.930) and 10th on vault (9.895); Melissa Vituj
is tied for third on floor (9.945) and is fourth on beam (9.935); and Kim Allan
is tied for fifth on bars (9.905) ... Theresa Kulikowski
has won bars in all five meets she's competed in to date and has won 7 of her 12 total routines. She has not competed in enough meets to qualify for the national rankings ... Vituj and Eberle are Utah's win leaders. Vituj has 12 total victories and Eberle has 11 ... Some lineup changes might be in the works, depending on practice this week. Two athletes close to making the lineup for the first time to count are freshman Dominque D'Oliveira on bars and sophomore Gritt Hofmann
on floor. In three exhibition appearances, D'Oliveira is averaging a 9.80 on bars, with a best of 9.85. Freshman Natalie Nicoloff
is also a possibility to return to either the beam or floor lineups.
Utah leads the series with Washington 29-0-1 ... The Utes are 12-0 vs. the Huskies in Salt Lake City and 21-0-1 in regular season competition ... Utah has won two straight since tying the Huskies on Mar. 4, 2001 in Seattle.
Utah and UW have faced four common foes this year. Utah is 1-3 against UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon State, with its only win coming against Arizona on the road. Washington is 2-2 against the quartet, beating Arizona and Oregon State in Seattle and losing to ASU and UCLA on the road.
UTAH COACH GREG MARSDEN
, the most successful coach in collegiate gymnastics history, is in his 28th year at the U. He is college gymnastics' only 700 win coach (768-123-5). In regular season competition, Marsden is 382-55-2. 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.
Ranked No. 12 ... 12-5 ... Upset No. 9 Oregon State last week in Seattle (197.050-196.457) ... 197.050 vs. OSU is second-best score in school history ... Five Huskies have scored a 39.40 or better in the all-around: Carly Dockendorf (39.525), Emily Pritchard (39.475), Tanya Powers (39.40) and Kelly McDonald (39.40) ... Former Ute Tacia LaBatte
competed all-around last week and had a career-best 39.325 ... Head Coach Bob Levesque is 146-118 in his 13th season.
"After the last two weeks, we certainly have to look at opening our lineup back up, depending on how people do in practice this week.
"We have another tough meet ahead of us. Washington is a much-improved team from last season-a result of both a good recruiting class and getting a number of key players back who had season-ending injuries last year.
"The good news is that we should be pushed again and have the challenge of needing to be at or near our best to win the meet. The bad news is, we haven't met that challenge very successfully the last two weeks. I think it's important for us to continue to have these opportunities against good teams.
"I went back and watched the tape (of last week's meet) and there were certainly individually some very good things that happened. We just can't continue to beat ourselves, which is what we've done the last two weeks. Of course Mel (Vituj) and Annabeth (Eberle) were spectacular, as was Kim Allan
, who upgraded her dismount on bars. I was pleased with Kristen Riffanacht's
performance and she upgraded her last pass on floor to a double back. Dominique D'Oliveira
did a beautiful bar routine in exhibition and really strengthens our depth on that event. Theresa Kulikowski
was beautiful on bars and beam and had an unfortunate fall on floor, which I think is reflective of being only marginally ready to compete on that event.
"The disappointing things were the two falls on beam and floor at this point in the season and our inability to stick landings, especially on vault. These are things we have worked on and will continue to work diligently to correct."