April 28, 2007
Salt Lake City, UT - Stanford women's gymnastics (SWG) made history at the NCAA National Championships team finals, becoming the only team at the event to hit all 24 routines each night of competition. SWG turned in a very strong performance for a 196.825 that gave the team a fifth place finish overall. Defending national champion Georgia ran away with the meet, winning their third team title in a row with a remarkable 197.85. Host Utah took second with a 197.25, followed closely by Florida at 197.225 and UCLA at 196.925. Nebraska finished in sixth place with a 195.975. The four tenth spread between the second and fifth place teams makes the 2007 Nationals one of the most tightly contested in history.
See the complete results at: http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/w-gym/stats/2006-2007/042707-ncaa-team-final-results.html
The Card had a great draw, starting on vault and following Olympic order through the six rotations, and began the night with a solid effort that wasn't quite as strong as the previous night. All six vaulters hit and it was still one of the team's best vault performances of the season, but the rotation score of 49.225 ended up putting the team in a bit of a hole behind the front runners. The biggest vaults came from Juniors Tabitha Yim and Alex Pintchouk, with a 9.9 and 9.875 respectively.
Following a bye SWG moved to bars, looking to make up some ground and improve on the team's prelim results on what has been Stanford's best event throughout the 2007 season. Sophomore Kelly Fee led off with a super clean set and the next five Card competitors all hit, but tight scoring through the whole evening meant the team maxed with 9.85s from Yim and fellow Junior co-Captain Liz Tricase. The team total of 49.1 was enough to put Stanford in a strong position at the half, nearly a tenth ahead of UCLA and nipping at the heels of Florida and Georgia.
An impressive finish on beam in team prelims was key to SWG's qualifying to the finals and they moved to the event confident of their ability to make up some ground against the leaders. Junior Lauren Elmore led off with a nice set for a 9.8 and the next four in the lineup bettered that mark with a string of routines highlighted by Yim's 9.9 and Fee's 9.875, matching the great effort that earned both gymnasts First Team All American honors in team prelims. The Card finished with a 49.25 that was the third highest team total of the evening and it put the team well into the mix of the leaders going into their last event.
Stanford started on floor with a few small nervous errors on Thursday night and the team faced the challenge this night of ending on this event, the one that requires the most endurance and can be most impacted by altitude. SWG impressed the entire arena with a performance that was stronger than prelims and showed no sign of fatigue. Elmore added a full twisting double back in her first pass for the first time this season and drilled it for an inspirational 9.8 that Fee immediately matched. Freshman Carly Janiga closed out a really impressive NCAA Nationals debut with a 9.9 that matched her winning score from Day 1. Sophomore Nicole Ourada and Yim were the other two team members who competed All Around both nights and hit every routine--both turned in fantastic floor routines for matching 9.875s. The tight scoring in the final rotation ended up making a big difference in the finish as the Card slipped just one tenth behind UCLA in the fourth slot.
SWG returns to competition for one more day as five Card gymnasts have qualified to the individual event finals on Saturday night. Competition will start at 7 pm in the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus. The finals format will have the top four gymnasts (plus ties) from each session on each event competing for the title of national champion. Tricase and Janiga will compete on vault; Ourada, Fee, and Yim on beam; and Janiga and Yim will compete on floor. The scores and results can be followed at the championships website: