April 25, 2008
Super Six Blog
NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships
April 25, 2008
Stanford women's gymnastics is currently warming up in preparation for the 2008 Super Six in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. They are on the campus of the University of Georgia and are looking for their first ever national championship. The SEC sends four of the six teams to this competition as host Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Florida will all represent the conference. Utah is the sixth remaining team left in the competition, which will sure be an intense battle here in the middle of SEC country. The arena is expected to be a complete sell-out with 10,000 available seats. The crowd yesterday was very pro-Georgia and should be just as loud or more in the Bulldogs favor. The Cardinal once again remains extremely loose, but have gotten some competition from Florida for being the loosest team left in the field. Utah is also a fairly loose team while the Gym Dogs, Tigers and Crimson Tide remain very business-like. Competition is set to begin in 40 minutes.
The Cardinal has finished up their training and is now awaiting the other schools to finish warming up. The crowd is slow arriving and capacity is still about only 50% full just 20 minutes away from competition. Last night the competition didn't start until about 15-20 minutes after the scheduled start time, so the fans outside should have plenty of time. Alabama just performed a southern line dance to remind everyone from Stanford in the arena how far away they are from home.
All competing teams have now cleared the floor and will now have 15 minutes before the official walk-in. The Stanford fan section seems to be working together on some cheers for tonight's competition. We will have to wait and see.
It is tough to describe what has just transpired. Every team got introduced to the crowd like a heavyweight boxer gets introduced in a title fight. Every team walked out to a highlight video and full smoke screen to the crowd. Host Georgia got a roaring ovation as the crowd is at about 90% capacity now. The rest seem to have taken the long way from their pre-game tailgates. The only team that was primarily booed was Florida, which can only be explained by the recent basketball and football history between the two schools. The Cardinal got a fairly positive reception by the crowd, more favorable than any of the other SEC schools.
We are now in the warm-up stages before the first warm-up. There was just a 9,500-strong Georgia chant, which kind of makes you think about how effective this "neutral" site is. The Cardinal begins the evening on beam and definitely are focused and don't seem effected by this atmosphere.
A correction to an earlier post, Stanford actually begins the night with a bye in the first rotation. The Cardinal will begin their competition with bars in the second rotation. Junior Kelly Fee will begin the event for Stanford followed by junior Nicole Ourada. Sophomore Carly Janiga will go third and senior Liz Tricase will follow the former Pac-10 freshman of the Year. Senior Tabitha Yim will go fifth and freshman Danielle Ikoma will make her NCAA Nationals debut and finish up the event. Georgia is currently on the floor and the arena is just about full.
The first rotation just completed and the host Gym Dogs hold the early lead after a score of 49.475 on the floor routine. Utah and Alabama got 49.100's on beam and vault respectively and Florida got 49.05 on bars in their first event. LSU and Stanford both have yet to perform an event yet. The Cardinal is now warming up on bars as they prepare for their first event. Fee will begin for Stanford.
Stanford just completed their first rotation and scored a 49.225. Senior Alex Pintchouk was a late substitution for Ikoma. Tricase and Janiga scored 9.900's in the first event and junior Nicole Ourada scored a 9.875. It was a good start for the Cardinal and when every team has two completed events after the next rotations, we will have a better idea of what the standings are. Georgia scored a 49.225 on vault and LSU opened up with a 49.125 in their floor routines. Florida got their second consecutive 49.05 on bars and have a 98.100 team score through two events. The Cardinal now move to beam and will have senior Lauren Elmore, Janiga, Fee, Yim, Ourada and junior Heather Purnell.
Each team has now completed two events and the field is very competitive heading into the second half of the event. The Cardinal just finished their beam routines and scored a 49.175, to give them a team score of 98.400, which puts them in second place. Utah is third with a team score of 98.375 and LSU is fourth with a team score of 98.350. Stanford got a huge lift from Purnell as she ended the event with a 9.850 and gave the team a real emotional spark. Yim also scored a 9.850 and Janiga continued her strong day with a 9.850 of her own. Fee ended with a 9.825. This is really anybody's competition as Georgia is only ahead of the pack by three tenths at the halfway point. Alabama and Florida round out the top six so far. The Gators have had a rough go of it so far as they have been routinely booed when their athletes have been announced to the crowd. Stanford now has a bye and will resume competition on floor in the fifth rotation.
The fifth rotation just ended and Georgia is continuing their strong run and scored a 49.375 on bars. They are currently a full point ahead of all the teams that have done three events, but Stanford has only completed two so far. Alabama had a rough time on beam and scored a 48.425 and are behind the pack in sixth. Florida put together strong routines on floor and scored a 49.400 behind three scores over 9.900 or better. They have a team score of 147.300 so far. Utah scored a 49.400 on vault and have a team score of 147.775. The Cardinal on floor will have in order Elmore, Janiga, Ourada, Purnell and Tricase.
Georgia just finished their events for the day and have put themselves in commanding position in this competition. They finished with a team score of 197.450 and Florida has also finished with a team score of 196.700. The Cardinal has one more routine on floor and we will have their score when it is complete.
The Cardinal finish their floor routines and own a 147.625 team score right now which puts them in third place right now behind Georgia and Utah. Utah has a team score of 197.775 and will be on the uneven bars for the final rotation. Stanford moves over to vault is currently .150 behind Utah and .075 ahead of LSU. The Cardinal are 1.025 ahead of the Crimson Tide. The Cardinal needs a 49.075 to finish ahead of Florida for the day. Lots of position will be made in this final rotation with Georgia watching on. Pintchouk filled in admirably for Tricase in the floor routine and performed her routine amongst chants of "UGA", who conveniently were honoring their four departing seniors during her routine. Yim led the way for the Cardinal, with a 9.900 in her floor routine.
Stanford finishes with a team score of 196.750 and will finish in third place nationally, which ties the best mark in school history. Georgia will win its fourth straight national championship and Utah finishes second with at team score of 197.125. An incredible performance by the Stanford team as they look towards making it three Super Six's in a row next season.