Greg Marsden gives some insight on his juniors and seniors.
Dec. 9, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
Our student-athletes have finals this week and then leave for Christmas break, so I have volunteered to fill in on the journal entries until they return.
The team has had a great preseason, but it's time to get going. We're so ready to compete! We're excited about our No. 4 preseason ranking and want to get out on the competition floor and see how we match up against an exceptional group of opponents this season.
We're also ready for our great fans, the road trips, the pranks on each other, the locker room camaraderie, the post meet meals with family and friends, and all the other great stuff our team experiences in the course of a season.
This is always a tough time for a college coach, though. Everyone works so hard to get ready for the season, but now we have a week of finals (no required gymnastics) and then the team goes home for a ten-day Christmas break. Get ready club coaches, I'm sending them back to you, so help me out here. When they return, we have eight workouts to prepare for our first meet. Fortunately, I have a very self-motivated, determined group of student-athletes whom I'm confident will come back ready to go. And that makes MY Christmas much more enjoyable. I might even get some sleep. No... forget that!
OK, here's my take on where everyone is as we prepare to begin the season. I'll start with our seniors and juniors this week and give my report on our sophomores and freshmen in my future holiday entries.
Melissa Vituj - Well, what can I say? She's been ready to compete since August. This kid loves to be in front of people. Mel's got two new vaults this year, a round-off flick-flack on, 1/2 front layout and a layout full. She has actually also trained a double full. What a talent! She has a new floor ex set (hint: shaken but not stirred) and is tumbling triple full, double tuck/pike, front layout double twist and Rudi to layout. Her beam is incredible (always), and her bars are better every year. She's ready on every event and poised to have her best season yet. Mel just gets better and better. I don't want this to end!
Veronique Leclerc - V's never looked better. She also has a new FX routine ...very fun! She's been doing Arabian double fronts that we hope to get in by mid-season. She seems more determined than ever and appears to have more confidence in herself. Perhaps that third place finish on bars at the NCAA Championships last April did more for her than we realized at the time. While she is still doing her front pike with a half vault, she has also learned a round-off flick-flack 1/2 on, front pike off...cool! As always, her bars look great and beam has come a long ways. This could be V's year to put it all together. Keep your fingers crossed and your arms up in a "V".
Annabeth Eberle - A woman among girls. I thank my lucky stars that AB chose Utah and not some other school. She, too, has a new FX routine. On vault, she is consistently training a round-off flick-flack on, tuck and layout 1 1/2 twist, and has done some doubles. Of course, she also still does her 1/2 front and full. Believe it or not, she is stronger and more fit than ever. She's adding a giant 1 1/2 pirouette, bail to handstand on the low bar, to her bar set. She's also doing great full-in dismounts, but still needs to be able to do it at the end of her set. Her beam is very strong and consistent. Our team elected AB and Mel our team captains. They both have incredible will and determination. They not only "talk the talk", but can also "walk the walk".
Gritt Hofmann - My German machine. No messing around this year. Gritty is ready to pick up where she left off last spring. Off-season surgery fixed a nagging shoulder problem and she has been on fire throughout the preseason. On vault, she's doing a new round-off flick-flack 1/2 on, front tuck or pike and tuck with a half off. She's keeping her great, high energy "Riverdance" floor routine, but plans to add a full-in midway through the season. Beam looks great, and she's been doing a cartwheel, double twist off the side dismount. With the shoulder fixed, she's also working bars again. Last year was this Fraeulein's bust-out year. Look for more of the same in the coming months.
These four upperclassmen will be at the core of our effort this season, but there are some exciting things coming from our younger team members as well. More about that later.
Now for some logistical information surrounding our home meets:
For all of you hard core gymnastics fans that don't even want to miss the warm-up, we will now open the doors to the Huntsman Center at 5:30 p.m. Timed warm-ups begin at 5:45 p.m. As always, competition begins at 7:00 p.m.
With the exception of two parking lots noted below, all parking lots surrounding the arena will be open and parking will be free and plentiful. The HPER parking lot (east of the arena) will be reserved for Crimson Club, and the small Service building lot (southwest of the arena) will be reserved for meet personnel, teams, etc. Also, Trax (light rail) stops right in front of the Huntsman Center. It doesn't get better than this.
Well, that's it for today. Until next Tuesday...
GO UTES! Greg