March 17, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
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The No. 6 ranked Utah gymnasts (6-4) face yet another tough test this Friday when they meet No. 7 Florida (21-3) in Gainesville, Fla. ... The meet will start at 7 p.m. EST ... Utah is 3-1 on the road, with its only loss to Oregon State ... Utah will face the Gators without injured All-American and three-time NCAA champion Theresa Kulikowski
. Kulikowski broke her finger on Mar. 13 (missing Utah's Mar. 14 meet) and hopes to be back by regionals ... Utah will stay in Orlando, busing to Gainesville for the meet. Since it is spring break, the Utes plan to spend an extra day in Orlando, returning to Salt Lake on Sunday ... Real time stats and commentary can be found on Utah's web site at www.UtahUtes.com. The stats will also be posted live on Florida's site at http://www.gatorzone.com/stats/gym/2003/20030321.HTM.
UTES WIN ATTENDANCE TITLE
Utah has wrapped up its 20th attendance title in the last 22 years. The Utes, who are the best drawing gymnastics team in NCAA gymnastics history, averaged 9,851 to their six home meets this year. Georgia finished second, averaging 9,176 to seven home meets, and Alabama was third with a 8,120 average for five home meets. Since 1992, Utah's regular season home attendance has never dipped below 9,500 and its 10-year average is over 10,000 fans per meet. That is more than any other gymnastics team has averaged in a single season.
Monday and Wednesday starting at 1:30 p.m. in the Dumke Gymnastics Center. All practices are open to the public. Media interested in interviews should plan to be in the Dumke Gymnastics Center 30 minutes before practice begins. Interviews must be completed by the start of practice. Call sports information director Liz Abel at 801-581-3511 to arrange interviews.
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. Nebraska (197.340), 3. Arizona State (197.305), 4. Georgia (197.300), 5. Alabama (197.215), 6. Utah (196.980), 7. Florida (196.975), 8. Stanford (196.935), 9. Oklahoma (196.900), 10. Michigan (196.745), 11. Oregon State (196.500), 12. LSU (196.310), 13. Washington (196.300), 14. Iowa State (196.215), 15. Ohio State (196.105), 16. Auburn (196.100), 17. California (196.055), 18. Denver (196.035), 19. Arizona (195.965), 20. Iowa (195.895), 21. Minnesota (195.835), 22. Brigham Young (195.720), 23. Kent State (195.535), 24. North Carolina (195.440), 25. Penn State (195.375).
*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.
Seniors Kim Allan
and Kylee Wagner
both came up big on Senior Night before an appreciative crowd of 9,827 and junior Melissa Vituj
won the all-around and three individual titles to lead Utah to a 197.475-196.575 win over No. 15 Louisiana State. Allan overcame a sore Achilles to score a season-high 9.875 on the vault and she had a 9.90 on both bars and beam. Wagner ran out of her new vault, but recovered nicely on beam (9.825) and floor (9.850). Senior Theresa Kulikowski
was also honored before the meet, but was unable to compete after breaking her little finger the day before in practice. The junior class won all of the individual honors, with Vituj tying her career best in the all-around (39.675) and vault (9.95). Vituj also tied for first on beam (9.95) and floor (9.925), while classmate Veronique Leclerc
won bars (9.925).
UTE INDIVIDUALS ARE RANKED
Four Utes are ranked in the top 10 nationally this week: Annabeth Eberle
is ranked No. 7 in the all-around (39.505 RQS), No. 8 (tie) on floor (9.940) and No. 10 on beam (9.915). Melissa Vituj
is tied for No. 3 on beam (9.945) and is seventh on floor (9.945). Theresa Kulikowski
tied for second on bars (9.935) and Kim Allan
is No. 9 on bars (9.915).
For the first time this season, all six Utah gymnasts attempted a 10.0-valued vault last week against LSU. Five gymnasts stuck their vaults and three-Melissa Vituj (9.95), Kim Allan
(9.875) and Veronique Leclerc
(9.85)-had season or career bests. Utah scored a season-best 49.450 on the event ... In the absence of Kulikowski, freshman Dominque D'Oliveira competed in her first event to count last Friday and scored a 9.825 on the bars. D'Oliveira broke her ankle over Christmas and had surgery. She will not be able to compete on anything but bars this year ... Theresa Kulikowski
has won all six of her bar competitions this year and 9 of 15 total events.
Utah leads 23-3 ... Utes lead 2-1 in Gainesville and are 1-1 in dual meet competition ... Utes have won the last four, including the most recent competition in Gainesville in 2001.
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 (770-123-5). In regular season competition, Marsden is 384-55-2. 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. 7 ...21-3 ... competed in two quadrangular meets last week (Mar. 14 and 16) and went 6-0 ... First-year head coach Rhonda Faehn has Gators off to their best scoring start in school history. The Gators have received six of the school's top-20 scores this year, including a school-record 197.475 on Feb. 14 ... Five 39.00-plus all-arounders: Orley Szmuch (39.575), Erin Dooley (39.500), Kara Waterhouse (39.35), Jenny Crow (39.335) and Lindsey Miner (39.650).
"Florida has emerged as one of the strongest teams in the country this season and is getting better every week. (First-year head coach) Rhonda Faehn and her staff are doing a great job.
"Going into the final stretch here before the postseason, it is my hope that we can continue to improve the way we have the last two weeks. We've upgraded our difficulty and are just about where we want to be in that sense. Now it's important to eliminate deductions and become as consistent as we possibly can.
"As has been the case all year, we'll meet one of the top teams on its home floor and need to be at our very best to have a chance for success."