Feb. 23, 1998
The No. 2-ranked Utes (5-1) return home to host Utah State (4-5, prior to a Monday meet at Southern Utah) in the University Park Hotel Classic, Friday at 7 p.m. ... Utah is going after a season sweep of the Aggies, having already defeated them in Logan on Feb. 2 ... Utah leads the series 68-3 ... Utah starts the week ranked No. 2, with Utah State checking in at No. 23 ... Utah has won a record ten national championships, including four in the 1990s (1990, 92, 94, 95).
Utah ran its national-record regular season home win streak to 143 with its 194.950-192.175 win over Minnesota on Feb. 13. The Utes last regular season home court loss was 19 years ago, on Feb. 20, 1979 to Cal State-Fullerton. Including postseason competition (Utah has hosted seven regional championships and seven national championships), Utahs all-time home record is 282-12 (96%). In the last 14 years, just two opponents have come within a point and a half of Utah during a regular season meet in the Huntsman Center: Utah defeated Oregon State by three quarters of a point in 1996 and beat Georgia by 1.4 points in 1991. Among the teams to fall by larger margins to Utah during that time span are the likes of national powers Alabama, UCLA, Michigan, Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Penn State, Nebraska, Brigham Young, Washington and Minnesota.
IN THE POLLS
Utah opens the week ranked No. 2 and should stay there when the new poll is released late Tuesday. The Feb. 24 poll will mark the last time the rankings will be determined by season scoring average. Starting March 3, the rankings will go by regional qualifying score (RQS). As of Feb. 17, the nations top five ranked teams were: Georgia, Utah, Alabama, Florida and UCLA.
Utahs highest road score of the year pushed it past No. 17 Washington, 196.225-195.225 in Seattle last Friday. Utah rang up the big score despite missing two key performers. Freshman all-arounder Shannon Bowles competed only on bars due to a foot injury and junior Sarah Northrop missed her usual turn on vault and bars due to illness. Junior All-American Angie Leonard and freshman Theresa Wolf picked up the slack, placing second and third all-around, respectively. Leonard posted a season-best 39.325 all-around, which included a first-place 9.90 bar routine. Wolf cracked 39.00 for the first time in her career, scoring a 39.175.
Sophomore all-arounder Shannon Bowles, who competed on just one event last week (bars) due to a foot injury, will go at least one event again this Friday. She is questionable for the all-around. Sophomore Jenny Schmidt underwent surgery on Dec. 27 to repair the patellar tendon in her right knee and is doubtful to return this season.
UTAH COACH GREG MARSDEN
Utahs Greg Marsden, the most successful coach in collegiate gymnastics history, is in his 23rd year at the U. He owns a 658-90-3 record (332-41-1 regular season). His ten national championships is triple that of any other coach. Four of those titles have come in the 90s (1990, 92, 94, 95). Fourteen of Marsdens teams have placed in the top-two nationally. The only coach in Utahs gymnastics history, Marsden is a seven-time national coach of the year selection.
Utah leads 68-3 ... Utes took the first meeting this year, 195.950-193.400, in Logan on Feb. 2 ... Utah is 29-0 against the Aggies in Salt Lake City.
Utah is averaging 10,702 fans through its first three home meets, with two meets drawing in excess of 11,000 ... Uneven bars has produced Utahs highest score in all six meets ... Utah, which has struggled on the beam in road meets this year, broke loose with a 49.050 in Seattle last Friday ... Utah has completed a 49.00 circuit twice this yearagainst Brigham Young (196.825) and Washington (196.225) ... Two-event (bars, beam) performer Molly Northrop is the only Ute who has competed in every meet without a miss. She is 12 of 12 ... Three out-of-state Utes will have relatives in the stands this week: Angie Leonards mother Sandy from Arizona and an uncle from Chicago; Shannon Bowles parents Paul and Susan from New Hampshire; and Denise Jones parents John and Frankie from California.
Senior Traci Sommer came off the injured list with a bangreturning from a back injury that kept her out of the lineup against Minnesotato record her best scores of the year on all three events she performs. She won beam with a 9.95her first win of 1998and had a 9.85 on vault and 9.80 on floor. Sommer, who has missed two meets with injuries this year, has competed in just 12 events through six meets. An all-arounder up until this year, she has 18 career 39.00 all-arounds and owns the fifth-best score in school history (39.70, Mar. 7, 1997). In her career, she has hit 144 of 163 routines (88%). Her breakdown by year: 46-51 (1995), 42-47 (1996), 45-53 (1997), 11-12 (1998).
Junior All-American Angie Leonard finished second all-around against Washington with a season-best 39.325. Her score included season-bests on vault (9.85) and floor (9.825, tie). Her 39.325 was the 12th 39.00 all-around of her career. She won her third bar competition of the year with a 9.90. It was her 14th career victory on the uneven bars. She is second on the team in wins this year with seven: One of those came in the all-around (vs. Arizona on Jan. 16). Utahs most consistent upperclass all-arounder, Leonard has hit 107 of 116 (92%) routines in her career. On bars, she is a near-perfect 31 of 32. This year, she is 22 of 24, with a miss on vault and beam.
Freshman sensation Shannon Bowles should be available on at least bars again this weekand possibly multiple eventsdespite a foot injury. Bowles, Utahs win leader with 12, failed to win an event for the first time last week. The three-time all-around winner competed only on bars against Washington because of her foot injury. The U.S. National Team member won both the previous all-around competitionstying the eighth highest all-around score in school history with her 39.60 against BYU on Feb. 6 and scoring a 39.50 against Minnesota on Feb. 13. Bowles is the only Ute to score a 10.0 this year (she did it on the beam) and just the second Ute freshman ever to score a 10.0. Bowles individual victory breakdown follows: beam (4), all-around (3), vault (2), floor (2), bars (1). She won her collegiate all-around debut on January 23 at Michigan, scoring a 39.25. Her ten 9.875-or-better scores is a team best (four on beam, three on bars, two on vault, one on floor).
MORE ON THE UTES
Marilyn Ekdahl Freshman is a regular in bar and vault lineups ... set career-best with 9.85 on bars last week at Washington ... best score of 9.75 on vault twice (vs. Arizona and Minnesota) ... had great collegiate start, tying for second on both vault (9.75) and bars (9.75) against Arizona ... has hit 10 of 11 routines.
Denise Jones Second-year all-arounder has struggled with consistency ... best meet was on Feb. 6 against BYU, when she set career bests in the all-around (39.25) and on bars (9.90), and hit season highs on vault (9.775) and floor (9.80, tie) ... 9.825 beam score at Washington on Feb. 20 ... second all-around against Minnesota (38.80) ... has hit 19 of 24 routines ... 65 of 74 (88%) in her career.
Ashley Kever Has done well on floor this year despite battle with injuries ... both season-best floor scores came on the road: 9.80 at Michigan (Jan. 23) and Washington (Feb. 20) ... since 9.65 season-opener, has scored 9.70 or better in all six meets ... is scheduled to compete on beam as well this Friday ... one of Utahs best beam workers last year, she has yet to hit in 98, going 0-2.
Molly Northrop Only perfect multiple-event Ute left who has competed in every meet, she is 12-12 ... prefers to lead off on beam, where she has 9.80 season best and has scored 9.70 or better in 4 of 6 meets ... also gives Utah big score threat early in bar lineup, with three 9.85 or better scores, including career-best 9.90 on Feb. 6 ... won first event of career on Feb. 6, when she tied for first on bars.
Sarah Northrop Cracked lineup late, but has quickly made up for lost time ... 9.80 on both vault and bars on Feb. 6 in first competitive routines of season ... 9.625 on vault and 9.85 on bars against Minnesota on Feb. 13 ... has cemented lead-off spot on vault and bars, although she missed last weeks meet at Washington due to illness.
Angelika Schatton One of Utes best vaulters is averaging a 9.75 through six meets ... career-best 9.80 vault against both Michigan (Jan. 23) and BYU (Feb. 6) ... competed on floor three times (Arizona, Minnesota and Washington) ... 9.80 in first beam to count against Minnesota ... has made beam lineup twice this year.
Jenny Schmidt Surgery on Dec. 27 to repair patellar tendon in her right knee ... injured while training uneven bars prior to Christmas ... was coming back from season-ending knee surgery last year (Mar. 7, same knee) ... will miss entire 1998 season.
Theresa Wolf Freshman uncorked career-best all-around against Washingtonscoring 39.175 ... also had bests on floor (9.875), vault (9.725, tie) and beam (9.85, tie) in Washington meet ... has received 9.80 or better on floor in all five meets (missed Minnesota meet with flu) ... won two straight bar competitions (Utah State, Feb. 2 and BYU, Feb. 6) ... also went all-around at Michigan, scoring 38.60 ... has hit 15 of 17 routines.
4-5 prior to Monday (Feb. 23) meet at Southern Utah ... coming off 194.450-193.425 home loss to Boise State last Friday ... best score of year was 194.100 vs. UC-Santa Barbara on Feb. 13 ... probable all-arounders are Lyndsey Gaustad (38.55 best) and Christy Denson (38.95) ... Head Coach Ray Corn is 297-168-2 in 21 years.
I felt like we got over a big hurdle at Washington. We knew they (the Huskies) were a good team and we knew we had to hit balance beam to win the meet. Hitting beam under those conditions was a big psychological hurdle to get over. Hopefully we can build on that ... We need to get people a little healthier and get Shannon (Bowles) back in the lineup ... For the most part, I am pleased with where we are in terms of difficulty at this point. We need to upgrade Angie Leonards vault (to a 10.0) and work hard to upgrade our tumbling on floor. Our dance on floor is better than anyone Ive seen to date. Really, our tumbling on floor is the only place I feel that were weak at this point.