All-American Annabeth Eberle and the Utes are back in the Super Six.
April 25, 2003
LINCOLN, Neb. -
The University of Utah gymnastics team hopes its postseason success holds for another meet when it competes for the NCAA Championship tonight as a member of the Super Six.
The competition starts at approximately 7:15 p.m. CDT and live stats will be posted on the Internet at http://www.ncaasports.com/gymnastics/womens/results/20030425.
The Utes, who placed second behind host Nebraska in Thursday's evening qualifying session, plan to put the same lineup on the floor tonight. Joining Utah and Nebraska are UCLA, Alabama, Georgia and Michigan. It is the ninth time Utah has made the Super Six since the NCAA moved to that format in 1993.
Despite its history, which includes 10 national championships, Utah is maybe the surprise qualifier into the Super Six field. That's because the Utes entered the championship with a No. 8 national ranking, its lowest ever final ranking. However, when it counted on Thursday, Utah's 196.85 was the third best score across both sessions, trailing only Nebraska (197.325) and UCLA (196.950).
In the blind draw conducted at the conclusion of Thursday's competition, Utah drew the following rotation: bars, beam, bye, floor, vault, bye.
Individually, five Utes secured a total of 10 All-America honors on Thursday, led by sophomore Annabeth Eberle, who made the first team in the all-around and on vault and the second team on bars. Eberle tied for fourth across both sessions in the all-around with a 39.475. She tied for first in the evening session on vault with a 9.95 and tied for fifth on bars with a 9.875.
Theresa Kulikowski became the first Ute ever to win All-America honors on every event she competed at the NCAA Championships throughout her career. Kulikowski made first-team All-American on both of her events at this championships, tying for first in the night session on bars (9.90) and tying for second on beam (9.90). She finishes her career as a 14-time All-American. The three-time NCAA champion will try to pick up a couple of more victories at the individual event championships on Saturday.
Junior Melissa Vituj upped her All-America total to seven by making the first team on the floor exercise and the second team in the all-around. Vituj tied for third on floor in the evening session with a 9.90 and tied for sixth in the all-around with a 39.325.
Junior Veronique Leclerc earned her third and fourth All-America awards by tying for first on bars (9.90) and making the second team on vault via a sixth-place tie (9.875).
Freshman Kristen Riffanacht made the All-America second team as a rookie on vault, tying for sixth with a 9.875.
Eberle, Kulikowski, Vituj and Leclerc will all represent Utah on Saturday in the individual event championships: Eberle on vault, Kulikowski on bars and beam, Vituj on floor and Leclerc on bars.
Thursday's Team Results
Session I 1. UCLA 196.950 2. Alabama 196.775 3. Michigan 196.125 4. Arizona State 194.225 5. LSU 194.00 6. Iowa 193.825
Session II 1. Nebraska 2. Utah 196.850 3. Georgia 196.625 4. Florida 196.325 5. Stanford 196.200 6. Auburn 193.525