New Name To Watch
Feb. 11, 2009
By Amy Farnum Novin
Oklahoma’s team effort may have fallen short against No. 12 Nebraska on Feb. 8, but senior Ashley Jackson put forth a career-best performance to put the Sooners within reach of the victory.
She posted career-highs on the vault (9.925) and in the all-around (39.375) to claim the two titles against the Huskers. Jackson also registered a season-high 9.825 on the beam and placed second on the parallel bars with a 9.825.
Jackson is the top-ranked all-around competitor in the Big 12, and stands No. 18 in the nation with a 39.242 average this season. She also ranks 15th on the vault and floor, and has won five individual titles on the year. Jackson garnered Big 12 Gymnast of the Week for her efforts against Nebraska.
MAKING A NAME: Oregon State freshman Leslie Mak continued to make a name for herself in the ultra-competitive Pac-10 as she helped the Beavers knock off No. 23 Arizona State last weekend.
The native of Toronto, Ontario, registered her second straight score over 9.9 by posting a 9.925 on the uneven bars as she shared the event title with teammate Jen Kesler. Mak also turned in a career-high score of 9.85 on the floor exercise as she garnered Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week honors for the second consecutive week.
Mak currently is 10th in the national rankings on the uneven bars, while OSU is eighth on the balance beam and No. 10 on the bars and in the overall team rankings.
TIGER TALES: LSU senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney overcame a bout of bronchitis to claim the all-around title while sparking the Tigers to a season-high team score and win over Florida in SEC action last weekend.
The native of Manchester, Conn., captured her third all-around title of the season and 19th of her career, along with winning the floor exercise with a season-best and league-leading score of 9.975. Clare-Kearney was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for the first time this season, and sixth time of her career.
Clare-Kearney’s career title count now stands at 97, and she will vie for a possible 100 crowns with the Tigers travel to No. 5 Alabama Feb. 13.
LION ROARS AGAIN: Penn State Bradi Personett’s continued her domination of the opposition as she propelled the Nittany Lions to a sweep at the Penn State Quad with victories over Cornell, William & Mary and Pennsylvania on Feb. 7.
The junior from Katy, Texas, won all four event titles, and claimed the all-around title with a 39.575 – the second-highest all-around score of her career. Personett also posted a career-high 9.900 bars as she was selected Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for the second time this season and sixth time of her career.
STEPPING UP: Despite having to remove senior and top-point earner Mehgan Morris from the lineup due to injury, West Virginia notched a season-high team score to defeat George Washington in EAGL action Feb. 9.
The Mountaineers improved to 4-1 against EAGL opponents, and now hold a 36-1 advantage in the series against the Colonials. They entered the week ranked No. 23 in the nation with an average score of 194.119, but posted a season-best 195.125 to win the meet.