Nov. 13, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY--
Four Junior Olympic National qualifiers, including three J.O. National champions, signed National Letters of Intent today with the University of Utah gymnastics team. Samantha Partyka (Katy, Texas), Maddy Stover (Fullerton, Calif.), Kari Lee (Peoria, Ariz.) and Tiffani Lewis (Las Vegas) will join the Utes next fall.
"This is an exceptional signing class that will help us remain nationally competitive," said Ute coach Greg Marsden. "We'll be losing four senior members from our starting lineup after this season and we think Samantha, Kari, Maddy and Tiffani are all capable of stepping in and contributing immediately."
Partyka (pronounced par-TEE-ka) is a two-year elite, a member of the Junior Olympic National Team and a three-time J.O. national champion. Her J.O. national titles came on vault in 2012 and vault and floor in 2013. She was also the 2012 J.O. all-around runner-up and competed as an elite in the Visa Championships in 2010 and 2011.
"Sam is an elite level competitor who loves to win. She has no fear factor and her routines on each event are packed with difficulty," said Utah coach Megan Marsden.
Partyka trains at the Champion Gymnastics Academy under coach Kellie Mizoguchi and is a senior at Katy High School (Texas). She is the daughter of Greg and Jackie Partyka.
Stover qualified for four J.O. National Championships, winning national titles on the beam in 2011 and in the all-around in 2013 (Senior B Division). The J.O. National Team member also placed third on bars and floor at the 2013 nationals. She is a three-time California state all-around champion (2011-13) and won regional titles on beam (2012) and vault (2013).
"Maddy's attention to detail and beautiful movements will remind our fans of (former Utah All-American) Shannon Bowles, especially on beam. She will be a very good all-arounder for us," said Megan Marsden.
A senior at Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., Stover trains at Wildfire Gymnastics--where her mother Nancy is the program director--for coaches Rick Watson, Rhonda Schwandt-Hoffman, Stephanie Calvert, Tom Wakeling and Whitney Watson.
She is the daughter of Paul and Nancy Stover. Her mother was a four-time All-America gymnast for Cal State-Fullerton and was on the bronze medal U.S. team at the 1979 World University Games. Her father ran track at Clarion University. Brother Andrew was an All-America gymnast at Illinois-Chicago and a member of the J.O. National Team.
Lee, whose first name is pronounced CAR-ee, placed first in the all-around at the 2013 J.O. National Championships in the Senior A Division. A J.O. National Team member, she also won the all-around at the 2013 IGI Chicago Style Gymnastics Meet and took fourth all-around at the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup. She was the 2012 Region 1 all-around champion.
"Kari is strong on all four events and will add depth to our lineups. She could make a big difference in our beam lineup with her proven consistency and winning track record," said Greg Marsden
A senior at Liberty High School in Peoria, Ariz., Lee trains at Flames Gymnastics Academy--a club owned by her parents Sam and MeJa Lee. Her coaches are Attila Szentes, Nicole Wendelgass, Roni Mejia and Gilbert Mejia.
Lewis competed in the 2012 J.O. National Championship, placing eighth in the all-around. Her 2013 victories included vault and floor titles at the Nevada State Championships and the Valley of the Sun Challenge. Lewis placed first in the all-around, vault, bars and beam at the 2013 Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Challenge. She could not compete at the 2013 J.O. Nationals due to injury. She won five uneven bar titles at invitational meets in 2012 and won the all-around at the state championships, the SCEGA Classic and the Magical Classic.
"Tiffani is a dynamic competitor who is especially good on the power events but has the ability to contribute everywhere," said Greg Marsden.
Lewis trains at Brown's Gymnastics Las Vegas for coaches Terry Gray, Tatiana Lewis and Wendy McGee, and is a senior at Southwest Career and Technical Academy. She is the daughter of Shane Lewis and Stacey Ginoza, and her stepfather is Jason Ginoza.
The newest Utes have signed with the only school to qualify for 38 consecutive national championships, including all 32 NCAA Championships. The Utes have won 10 national championships, placed in the top-three 22 times and qualified into the Super Six 18 times since its inception in 1993.
No online videos were available for Tiffani Lewis
Utah holds every gymnastics attendance record, averaging over 14,000 fans a home meet for the past five years and over 11,000 a meet in the last two decades. The Utes have won 29 national gymnastics attendance titles and won the all-sports NCAA women's attendance title in 2010, 2011 and 2013.