Outstanding senior Melissa Vituj competes for the last time tonight at UCLA.
April 17, 2004
LOS ANGELES -
Ute first-team All-Americans Nicolle Ford, Melissa Vituj and Annabeth Eberle will try to end the season on a high note tonight when they compete in the individual event finals at the 2004 NCAA Championships at UCLA.
Ford, a freshman, made the cut on both bars and beam, where she scored a 9.925 and a 9.875, respectively in Thursday's qualifying session. Vituj, Utah's marvelous senior and an 11-time All-American, will perform her final routine on the floor exercise. Vituj tied for first across both sessions on the floor on Thursday with a 9.95. Junior Eberle, a four-time All-American, will seek an NCAA title on the vault, where her 9.95 on Thursday also tied for first across both sessions.
Ford is putting the finishing touches on a great championships, where she has "hit" 7-8 routines. She and Vituj are both second-team All-Americans in the all-around, with Vituj placing seventh and Ford eighth. Just missing out on All-America status in the all-around was Eberle, who placed 10th. Vituj's inclusion in the floor exercise finals makes her the first Ute since Aimee Trepanier (1992-95) to make the NCAA floor finals all four years of her career. Eberle is one of the favorites on vault, having finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the nation.
The three were honored as All-Americans at a brunch at L.A.'s famous Mann Theater this morning.
Competition begins at 7 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. MDT) in Pauley Pavilion. The live stats link for the NCAA Championships is http://www.ncaasports.com/gymnastics/womens/results.
The order of competition was determined by a blind draw conducted by the NCAA. There are two flights for every apparatus. Eberle is the third competitor in the second flight (eighth competitor overall) on vault; Ford is up fifth in the first flight on bars and third in the second flight (ninth overall) on beam; and Vitju is the first competitor on the floor exercise.