The new Ute freshmen pose with their parents in front of the Dumke Center.
Aug. 18, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
The 2003-04 Utah gymnastics team arrived on campus over the weekend and reported for orientation on August 18, two days before the start of classes. New to the team are four freshmen: Jacey Draper, Nicolle Ford, Stephanie Lim and Rachel Tidd. The returners are seniors Veronique Leclerc and Melissa Vituj, juniors Annabeth Eberle and Gritt Hofmann, sophomores Dominique D'Oliveira, Natalie Nicoloff, Gabriella Onodi and Kristen Riffanacht.
The incoming freshman class has a leg up on the upperclassmen in one respect. The University of Utah was selected to host the 2007 NCAA Championships, when the current freshmen will be seniors. Utah was also picked to host an NCAA regional in 2005.
The 2004 season promises to be another good one for Utah, which is the only program in the nation to qualify for all 22 NCAA Championships to date. The Ute gymnasts have made 28 straight national championship appearances, including the AIAW years and have won 10 national championships.
Here's a quick look at the 2004 Utes:
Dominique D'Oliveira, So., Johannesburg, South Africa
Overcame December ankle surgery to make Utah's NCAA lineup on the uneven bars, where she started Utah off with big routines both nights of team competition.
Jacey Draper, Fr., Lake Oswego, Ore.
Former U.S. National Team member and three-year international elite placed second on vault and ninth in the all-around at the 2002 Junior Olympic Championships.
Annabeth Eberle, Jr., Reno, Nev.
Three-time All-American tied for fourth in the nation in the all-around as a sophomore last year and finished sixth on vault.
Nicolle Ford, Fr., Binghamton, N.Y.
Four-year international elite competitor placed 20th in the all-around at the 2001 U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
Gritt Hofmann, Jr., Berlin, Germany
Outstanding on beam and floor in 2003, she scored a career-high 9.925 on beam vs. Utah State.
Veronique Leclerc, Sr., St. Hubert, Quebec
Three-time All-American placed third on the uneven bars at the 2003 NCAA Championships.
Stephanie Lim, Fr., The Woodlands, Texas
Placed seventh all-around at the 2002 Junior Olympic Championships and was the 2002 J.O. Region 3 all-around champion.
Natalie Nicoloff, So., Hermitage, Pa.
Became one of the country's best lead-off beam workers as a freshman and "hit" both beam routines at the NCAA Championships.
Gabriella Onodi, So., Budapest, Hungary
A back injury prevented Onodi from competing as a freshman but the former Hungarian National Team member is ready to go this year.
Kristen Riffanacht, So., Cheshire, Conn.
Great freshman year culminated with second-team All-America honors on the vault. She competed on vault and floor at the NCAA Championships.
Rachel Tidd, Fr., San Marcos, Calif.
Four-year U.S. National Team member placed fourth in the all-around at the 2001 USA Championships. She was coached in club by former Ute All-American Meredith King-Paulicivic.
Melissa Vituj, Sr., Ada, Mich.
An eight-time All-American, Vituj was named the 2003 NCAA Division I North Central Region Gymnast of the Year.