April 29, 2007
Salt Lake City, UT - Five members of the Stanford women's gymnastics team (SWG) qualified to event finals at NCAA National Chmpionships and they continued the Card's remarkable streak of consistent performances at the Championships--54 consecutive made routines. SWG made history on a variety of fronts as the championship weekend came to a close:
Junior Tabitha Yim became the most decorated gymnast in SWG history with a total now of 11 All American awards, including second team on bars and first team on beam, floor and the All Around
Six different Card gymnasts received a grand total of 13 All American titles, the most Stanford athletes ever so-honored at the NCAA Nationals
Over three days of competition every single Card gymnast hit every single routine, making them the only team at the championships to not have a fall throughout competition
A decent crowd of more than 5,000 people turned out for the showcase of the best athletes on each event. A total of 17 athletes earned spots in vault finals, but Junior Liz Tricase had to scratch from the event due to soreness from team competition and one Nebraska athlete also scratched. In vault finals each athlete is required to perform two different vaults. Freshman Carly Janiga stuck her first Yurchenko layout 1/1 for an impressive 9.85, but had to do a simpler layout Yurchenko for her second vault. That vault only has a 9.8 start value but Janiga did it very well and received a 9.65. The two scores are then averaged to determine the athlete's final score, which was a 9.75 that was unfortunately reduced by three tenths due to vault coach Mike Lorenzen's decision to increase the level of matting on the landing surface to an impermissible level (which results in the .3 "neutral" deduction). Sophomore Courtney Kupets from Georgia won the event with two terrific vaults and a 9.9188 average.
Thanks to their outstanding team showing on beam in prelims, Yim and sophomores Kelly Fee and Nicole Ourada all made beam finals. Yim led off on the event and earned a solid 9.8375 due to a couple of minor balance checks. Fee led off the second flight of the 15 gymnasts total in the event and it looked like she was on a roll until a wobble on the finish of her flight series that dropped her to a 9.725. Ourada had the distinction of competing in the last spot on the event and turned in a brilliant performance, including an upgraded back handspring with two layouts. She had a very slight check on the landing from her straddle jump, but her 9.85 was good enough for a tie with three other athletes for third place, a remarkable accomplishment for the sophomore who only competed on beam for Stanford seven times this season. Junior Ashley Postell from host Utah was crowned the champion with a 9.9375.
Janiga was the first floor competitor of the night and turned in an amazing routine with the best first (Arabian double front) and last (whip to 2 1/2 twists) tumbling passes of her young college career. A big bounce out of her landing on her second pass (double tuck) cost the fabulous freshman but the rest of the routine was special enough to garner a 9.8875 from the judges. Yim was the first competitor in the second flight (there were a historic 18 athletes in floor finals) and captivated the entire arena with dance ability that really sets her apart from almost every other gymnast in the field. Slightly weaker difficulty left her behind some really enormous routines from great tumblers, but Yim tied Janiga's 9.8875 and ended up sharing eighth place with her younger teammate. Freshman Morgan Dennis from Alabama won the floor title with an impressive display of tumbling that included a sky-high double layout, a full twisting double tuck, and a fron through to double tuck dismount.