Mar. 2, 1998
UTAH VS. STANFORD
Fri., March 6 * 7:30 p.m. (PST)
Stanford, Calif. * Burnham Pavilion (1,200)
The No. 2-ranked Utes (6-1) make their last regular season road trip of the year this week, going to No. 15 Stanford (6-4) ... The meet will be held in Stanford's 1,200-seat Burnham Pavilion on Friday, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Mountain Time ... Utah has won five straight meets since losing at Michigan on Jan. 23. The Cardinal have also been red hot of late, although their five-meet win streak was snapped at Oregon State last Friday. One of those wins was against Michigan at the UCLA Invitational ... Although the Utes are 6-0 all-time against the Cardinal, this is their first ever visit to Stanford ... Utah starts the week ranked No. 2, but will likely slip to No. 3 when the new rankings are released on Tuesday ... Utah has won a record ten national championships, including four in the 1990s (1990, '92, '94, 95).
UTE TRAVEL ITINERARY
Flight Plans: Mar. 5--LV Salt Lake City at 3 p.m. (Delta #853). AR San Jose at 3 p.m. Mar. 7--LV San Jose at 10:45 a.m. (Delta #1864). AR Salt Lake at 1:20 p.m. Hotel Accommodations: Hyatt Rickeys (415) 493-8000.
PRACTICE TIMES & INTERVIEW POLICY
Monday, Tuesday (1:30-4:30) in HPER W106. All practices are open. Media interested in interviews should plan to be in the practice facility (HPER W106) by 1:00 p.m. All interviews must be completed by 1:30 p.m. Note: Head Coach Greg Marsden is available during practice, upon request. Interviews outside practice can be arranged by calling sports information director Liz Abel at 801-581-3511.
IN THE POLLS
Utah opens the week ranked No. 2, but should drop at least a spot when the new poll comes out late Tuesday. Starting Mar. 3, the rankings are based on regional qualifying score (RQS), which will likely put Utah behind Georgia and Alabama. The RQS will determine the rankings from here until the end of the season. As of Feb. 24, the nation's top five ranked teams were: Georgia, Utah, Alabama, Florida and UCLA.
Junior Angie Leonard, whose 39.60 all-around score tied for the best score this season (and eighth-best score in school history), led Utah to a 196.175-192.775 romp over Utah State before a crowd of 9,934 in the Huntsman Center. Leonard also won bars (9.95), beam (9.925, tie) and floor (9.925). Utah was magnificent on three events, but struggled on beam--counting two falls. Freshman Shannon Bowles finished second all-around despite her first fall of the year on the beam. Bowles won the vault competition (9.90). Traci Sommer tied with Leonard on the beam (9.925).
Sophomore Jenny Schmidt underwent surgery on Dec. 27 to repair the patellar tendon in her right knee and is out for the season.
UTAH COACH GREG MARSDEN
Utah's Greg Marsden, the most successful coach in collegiate gymnastics history, is in his 23rd year at the U. He owns a 659-90-3 record (333-41-1 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 Marsden's teams have placed in the top-two nationally. The only coach in Utah's gymnastics history, Marsden is a seven-time national coach of the year selection.
Utah leads 6-0 ... Utah is 2-0 at home and 4-0 at neutral sites ... the two teams have never met in Stanford ... last year, Utah set a school record in beating Stanford at home (197.925-196.800 on Mar. 7).
Utah and Stanford have met three common opponents: Arizona, Washington and Michigan. Utah is 2-1 against the trio, defeating Arizona and Washington and losing to Michigan. The latter two were on the road. Stanford is also 2-1, with wins over Arizona and Michigan and a loss to Washington in the season-opener.
Utah is averaging 10,510 fans at its four home meets, with two meets drawing in excess of 11,000 ... Utah is 2-1 on the road, with wins at Washington and Utah State, and a loss at Michigan ... Utah is 2-0 against Pac-10 teams so far this year--defeating Arizona and Washington. The Utes meet Stanford this Friday and host Oregon State on Mar. 14 ... Utah has completed a 49.00 circuit twice this year--against Brigham Young (196.825) and Washington (196.225) ... Uneven bars has produced Utah's highest score in all seven meets, including a season-best score (for any event) of 49.475 vs. Utah State on Feb. 27 ... Utah has struggled on its "trademark" event--the balance beam--this year. Similar results to the last two years--when Utah was the best beam team in the nation--were anticipated again, but have yet to materialize. Utah had three falls at Michigan, two at Utah State and three last week at home. Prior to Friday, Utah appeared to be back on track--going three meets without counting a fall on beam.
Senior Traci Sommer continues to come on strong as the season progresses. The two-time balance beam All-American tied for first on that event with a 9.925 last Friday--her second win in a row on beam. Also for a second straight week, she recorded her best score of the year on floor (9.85). Sommer, who has missed two meets with injuries this year, has done just 15 routines total. 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" 147 of 166 routines (89%). Her breakdown by year: 46-51 (1995), 42-47 (1996), 45-53 (1997), 14-15 (1998).
Junior All-American Angie Leonard won her second all-around of the season last Friday with a 39.60. It tied for the best score by a Ute this year and is also tied for the eighth best score in school history. She won three of the four events: bars (9.95), beam (9.925, tie) and floor (9.925). Her floor score tied her career best. Leonard's 39.60 all-around was her 13th career 39.00 all-around. Her victory on bars vs. USU was her fourth bar win of the year (third in a row) and her 15th career victory on that event. She is second on the team in wins this year with 11. Her victory breakdown this season: bars (4), all-around (2), vault (2), floor (2), beam (1). Utah's most consistent upperclass all-arounder, Leonard has hit 111 of 121 (92%) routines in her career. On bars, she is a near-perfect 32 of 33. She has not missed a bar routine since her freshman year. On all events this season, she is 26 of 28, with a miss on vault and beam.
Freshman sensation Shannon Bowles is scheduled to go all-around this week, barring a flareup of her foot injury. Bowles returned to the all-around lineup last week after a one-week absence and placed second all-around (39.025), despite her first fall of the year on the beam. She won the vault with a 9.90. Bowles, Utah's win leader with 13, has won an event(s) in all but one meet. The exception was the Washington meet, where she competed on just one event (bars), due to a foot injury. Her three all-around victories is tops on the team. The current U.S. National Team member tied the eighth highest all-around score in school history with her 39.60 against BYU on Feb. 6. She followed with a 39.50 against Minnesota on Feb. 13. Bowles is the only Ute to score a 10.0 this year (on beam) and just the second Ute freshman ever to score a 10.0. Bowles' individual victory breakdown follows: beam (4), all-around (3), vault (3), floor (2), bars (1). She won her collegiate all-around debut on January 23 at Michigan, scoring a 39.25. She has the most 9.875-or-better scores on the team (12)--four on beam, four on bars, three on vault, one on floor.
MORE ON THE UTES
Marilyn Ekdahl--Freshman has competed in every meet on bars and in five meets on vault ... broke career uneven bar high two weeks running ... then best 9.85 at Washington on Feb. 20 and new high 9.875 against Utah State on Feb. 27 ... on vault has twice scored 9.75 (vs. Arizona and Minnesota) ... had great collegiate start, tying for second on both vault (9.75) and bars (9.75) against Arizona ... has hit 11 of 12 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) ... season-best 9.775 on vault was also on Feb. 6 ... tied personal record on floor last week, with a 9.85 ... 9.825 beam score at Washington on Feb. 20 ... second all-around against Minnesota (38.80) ... has hit 22 of 28 routines ... 69 of 78 (87%) in her career.
Ashley Kever--Has done well on floor this year despite battle with injuries ... 9.85 on floor last Friday was season-best ... had 9.80 floor scores at Michigan (Jan. 23) and Washington (Feb. 20) ... since 9.65 season-opener, has scored 9.70 or better in every meet ... bidding to break into beam lineup where she was one of Utah's best last year, but is 0-2 in '98.
Molly Northrop--Extremely consistent bar and beam worker suffered first fall of the season last week (on beam) ... is now 13 of 14 ... second-team beam All-American prefers to lead off on that event, where she has 9.80 season best and has scored 9.70 or better in four meets ... has moved down to No. 4 in the bar lineup, where she has 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 ... is now set in vault and bar lineup (missed Feb. 20 meet at Washington because of illness) ... season best 9.70 on vault last week ... best bar score of 9.85 against Minnesota on Feb. 13 ... leads off Utah's vault and bar sets.
Angelika Schatton--One of team's best vaulters is averaging a 9.75 ... 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 is coming into her own as season progresses ... career-best 39.175 all-around against Washington ... also had "bests" on vault (9.725, tie) and beam (9.85, tie) in Washington meet ... personal best 9.90 on floor against USU on Feb. 27 ... has received 9.80 or better on floor all six attempts (missed Minnesota meet with flu) ... won two straight floor competitions (Utah State, Feb. 2 and BYU, Feb. 6) ... also went all-around at Michigan, scoring 38.60 ... has hit 17 of 19 routines.
6-4 ... had won five straight before losing at Oregon State last weekend ... injuries were a factor early, but Stanford is at full strength now ... Larissa Fontaine, a former six-year member of the U.S. National Team, and Katie Fitzpatrick qualified individually to nationals last year. Fontaine was a three-time All-American in 1996 ... first year Head Coach Mark Cook, an assistant for last year's NCAA Champion UCLA squad, is 6-4 at Stanford.
"We either resolve our problems on balance beam or we won't be competitive. Physically and in terms of talent, that should be a great event for us. For some reason, it has been an inconsistent event for us this year ... We've never been to Stanford before. I don't know what kind of meet they run or what their equipment's like. Are we looking forward to it? Yes, we're looking forward to it. They have a great team and, like every team we meet, will be sky high for us. We'll have to be very good to win. I'm looking forward to see how we respond to that kind of pressure ... I was very pleased with three events last week. We did a couple of new things on vault. Other than Angie's full twisting front, we hit our new vaults. We made our biggest jump on floor exercise though. We became a fairly competitive team on floor exercise (Friday) and if we continue in that vein, I'm much more comfortable with that event than I've been to this point."