Utah Edges UCLA in Tiebreaker to Join Five SEC Squads in Super Six
April 16, 2009
Lincoln - The Southeastern Conference made it a perfect five-for-five on the day, dominating the evening session to conclude the first day of competition at the 2009 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Thursday. SEC schools Alabama and Arkansas both advanced to Friday's Super Six Team Finals along with perennial power Utah, joining afternoon qualifiers Georgia, Florida and LSU.
Utah, which joins Georgia in the hunt for their 10th NCAA women's gymnastics crown, tied UCLA with a 196.625 at the conclusion of the session. The Utes advanced to their 10th consecutive Super Six by winning the first tiebreaker criteria of combining all six individual scorers in all four events (234.650-234.575).
Kristina Baskett led the Utes with the top all-around score of the session with a 39.60, trailing only Georgia's Courtney Kupets during the first and second session combined. Kupets became just the second gymnast in NCAA history to capture three individual NCAA All-Around titles with her 39.80 during the afternoon session.
The Bruins became the only former team national champions to miss out on tomorrow's hunt for another title. Utah will be joined by defending champion Georgia and former champion Alabama in seeking a crown. Utah was last in a tiebreaker in 1997, but lost to Nebraska at Gainesville, Fla.
UCLA finished the meet on floor as Ariana Berlin received a mark of 9.85 to give the Bruins a floor mark of 49.30 and a total score of 196.625, putting them in a tie with Utah. UCLA needed a final individual score of 9.875 on floor to break the tie, but came up short with the mark of 9.85.
Alabama led the second session with a strong 197.025 to post the top team score of the session. The Crimson Tide rolled to victory behind solid all-around performances from Ashley Priess (39.450) and Ricki Lebegern (39.450).
Alabama was joined by the Razorbacks, who notched a 196.95 to take second in the session. Michelle Stout helped carry Arkansas to its first Super Six with a 39.525 in the all-around that included a session-best 9.975 on vault.
While the Super Six will feature a rich championship history, the team finals will also feature a first-time competitor in Arkansas. The Razorbacks will bring a fresh look to the championship field, while LSU will be making just its second Super Six appearance in school history.
Tomorrow's Super Six Finals begin at 6 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tickets can be purchased at the Nebraska Ticket Office or by calling 800-8BIGRED. Tickets can also be purchased at the Bob Devaney Sports beginning at 4 p.m.
Final Team Results:
1. Alabama - 197.025
2. Arkansas - 196.95
3. Utah - 196.625 (advances to Super Six)
4. UCLA - 196.625
5. Oregon State - 195.35
6. Illinois- 195.05
Individuals Advancing to Event Finals:
Vault: 1. Michelle Stout, Arkansas (9.975), 2. Michelle Rodriguez, Oregon State (9.95), 2. Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA (9.95); 2. Kristina Baskett (9.95)
Bars: 1. Ashley Priess, Alabama (9.90); 1. Ariana Berlin, UCLA (9.90); 1. Kristina Baskett, Utah (9.90); 4. Morgan Dennis, Alabama (9.875), 4. Michelle Stout, Arkansas (9.875); 4. Elise Wheeler, Southern Utah (9.875)
Beam: 1. Ricki Lebeger, Alabama (9.90); 1. Ashley Priess, Alabama (9.90); 2. Alex La Chance, Arkansas (9.90); 1. Sarah Nagashima, Arkansas (9.90); 1. Melissa Fernandez, Illinois (9.90); 1. Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA (9.90); 1. Kristina Baskett, Utah (9.90); 1. Elise Wheeler, Southern Utah (9.90)
Floor: 1. Daria Bijak, Utah (9.90); 2. Mandi Rodriguez, Oregon State (9.875); 2. Vanessa Zamarippa, UCLA (9.875); 2. Brittani McCullough, UCLA (9.875); 4. Kylee Botterman, Michigan (9.875).