On the Rise

Geralen Stack-Eaton
Alabama
Sr. | 5-9 

Key Notes:
• 2011 NCAA floor exercise champion
• 2011 national champion
• 2011 First team All-Around, Vault, Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise All-American
 

Samantha Peszek
UCLA
So. | 5-1 

Key Notes:
• 2011 NCAA balance beam champion
• 2011 First-team All-American on beam
• Became first gymnast to do a standing full on beam in collegiate competition

Megan Ferguson
Oklahoma
Sr. | 4-11

Key Notes:
• 2011 First-team All-American on beam and bars
• 2011 All-Big 12 on bars, beam and floor
• Finished in eighth place on beam and 13th place on bars at the 2011 NCAA individual event finals
 

Lora Evenstad
Nebraska
Sr. | 5-3 

Key Notes:
• 2011 First-Team All-American on floor exercise
• 2011 All-Big 12 on floor exercise and vault
•  Came in 11th at the NCAA championship event finals on floor
 

Mary Beth Lofgren
Utah
So. | 5-3

Key Notes:
• 2011 First-Team All-American
• Utah's top finisher at the 2011 NCAA Championships
• Tied for fifth on the beam with a 9.8375 in individual event finals
 

 

Keep an Eye on These Programs

UCLA
Key Players:  Samantha Peszek (So.), Vanessa Zamarripa (RS Jr.), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Sr.).

Noting the Bruins:  UCLA, the national preseason No. 1 team, was picked as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12. The Bruins return a total of eight All-Americans from last year's squad that finished second at the NCAA Championships - 2011 NCAA beam champion Samantha Peszek, 2010 NCAA vault champion Vanessa Zamarripa, 10-time All-American Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Aisha Gerber, Tauny Frattone, Monique De La Torre, Olivia Courtney and Sydney Sawa. UCLA's season opener is at the John Wooden Center on Sunday, Jan. 8 against Utah in a battle between the conference's top-two teams.

Alabama
Key Players: Geralen Stack Eaton (Sr.), Marissa Gutierrez (Jr.), Ashley Sledge (Jr.).

Noting the Crimson Tide: Defending national champion Alabama is ranked second in the 2012 preseason coaches’ poll. Geralen Stack-Eaton (2011 First team All-Around, Vault, Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise All-American, pushing her career total to eight All-American honors last season) returns to lead the Crimson Tide to what she hopes will be yet another season ending on a high note. Alabama opens the season at home against No. 9 Georgia on Jan. 13. Alabama will face six of the nation’s top-13 teams during the regular season and eight teams that are ranked in the top-25.

Florida
Key Players:
Marissa King (Jr.), Ashanée Dickerson (Jr.), Alaina Johnson (So.).

Noting the Gators: This is the sixth consecutive year Florida appears among the top-four teams in the preseason poll. Florida has ranked among the preseason top 10 each year since the poll’s inception in 1992. Eight opponents Florida will face in 2012 dual meet action appear in the poll, including four in the preseason top 10. In 2011, the Gator gymnastics team took seventh in the NCAA Championships. Florida returns four gymnasts in 2012 who own a total of nine All-America honors, including 2011 NCAA vault champion Marissa King, Ashanée Dickerson and Alaina Johnson. The Gators open up the season on Jan. 6 against NC State.

Top Contests to Follow in 2012
@

Jan. 8: No. 5 Utah Utes at No. 1 UCLA Bruins

@

Jan. 13: No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 7 Oregon State Beavers

@

Jan. 13: No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

@

Jan. 27: No. 8 Stanford Cardinal at No. 7 Oregon State Beavers

@

Feb. 3: No. 3 Florida Gators at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

@

Feb. 5: No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners at Arkansas Razorbacks 

@

Feb. 5: No. 8 Stanford Cardinal at No. 1 UCLA Bruins

@

Feb. 7: No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

@

Feb. 24: No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 12 LSU Tigers

@

Feb. 24: No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs at No. 3 Florida Gators

@

Feb. 24: No. 7 Oregon State Beavers at No. 14 Boise State Broncos

@

March 2: No. 5 Utah Utes at No. 7 Oregon State Beavers

@

March 4: No. 6 Nebraska Huskers at No. 3 Florida Gators

@

March 11: No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 1 UCLA Bruins

 

FROM THE COACHES

Valorie Kondos Field
UCLA
On the upcoming season and the depth on the squad:

"Right now we're about nine deep on each event with gymnasts who could come in and score well. I keep telling our team that they need to keep fighting to get into the top six. If our top six line-up doesn't continue to change this year, we won't ultimately realize our full talent. Also, we won't know our full potential for a few months. Vanessa Zamarripa isn't back yet on floor. Mattie Larson is about a month behind because she took two months off this summer. And Cassie Whitcomb is just now getting cleared to do more gymnastics based on her back issues. I think all of this will play out to be a really exciting season." 

Sarah Patterson
Alabama
On the returners and the upcoming season:

“Even though we only lost four routines to graduation from last year’s NCAA Championships, this team will be very different from last year’s in terms of its personality and chemistry. As coaches, we’re very excited to introduce this newest edition of the Crimson Tide to the best fans in the world.”

K.J. Kindler 
Oklahoma
On their depth and the upcoming season:

“I am strongly encouraged by our depth. On beam and floor we had more athletes prepared to compete, but had to draw the line somewhere. We hit 23 of our 24 lineup routines. We had a lot of success in our seventh, eighth and ninth positions as well. Looking at it now, it will be difficult to decide which athletes will represent OU week in and week out.”