Jan. 22, 2003
By Mark Jaffee
Nothing could deter Cheshire's Kristen Riffanacht. Not the 10,834 crowd at the Huntsman Center, nor the fact that this was her very first college gymnastic meet as a member of the powerhouse University of Utah team.
It certainly didn't bother the 18-year-old freshman who was competing against country's No. 1-ranked team, UCLA, earlier this month.
Clearly, Riffanacht's opening performance at the Division I level scored high marks in the uneven bars (9.75), vault (9.85), and floor exercises (9.875).
Last Friday, Riffanacht maintained that strong effort against Brigham Young University in the uneven bars (9.825), vault (9.875) and floor exercises (9.8).
The early-season performances drew positive reviews from Utah women's head coach Greg Marsden, a seven-time National Coach of the Year, who has guided the team to 10 NCAA titles.
When Riffanacht committed to Utah last fall, Marsden said he expected one of his top recruits to make an immediate impact. A year later, Marsden isn't surprised by Kristen's positive start.