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WAC Gymnasts Impress at NCAA Regionals, DU's Martin Advances to Semis
Courtesy: Denver
DENVER's MARTIN QUALIFIES FOR NCAA SEMIFINALS, DU PLACES FOURTH AT REGIONALS

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – (DU Media Relations) Junior all-arounder Moriah Martin (Lake Mary, Fla.) stretched Denver’s streak of sending at least an individual to the NCAA Semifinals to 14-straight seasons, as she led the No. 15 University of Denver gymnastics squad to a fourth-place finish on Saturday at the Tuscaloosa Regional inside the Coleman Coliseum. Martin scored a 39.150 in the all-around to finish fourth, and lead Denver to a 195.275. No. 3 Alabama and No. 9 Utah advanced to Nationals with a 197.400 and a 196.400, respectively. Iowa State finished third with a 195.400, while BYU posted a 194.475 and Kent State inked a 193.500 to round out the field.

“We’re really excited for Moriah, and we know she’ll represent the University of Denver very well on the national stage in two weeks,” head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said. “Moriah had a good night, and most importantly, she went four-for-four, and I know she’ll get back into the gym this week, clean a few things up and get ready for Nationals.”

Denver opened with a 49.175 on floor, led by junior Kaitlin Moorhead’s (Palo Alto, Calif.) 9.900 in the fifth spot of the rotation. Moorhead finished third overall at the Regionals. Junior Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio) followed that up with a 9.875 in the anchor spot. Sophomore Ellese Sakai-Hart (Aptos, Calif.) inked a 9.850 to start a string of four-consecutive routines of over 9.825 for the Pioneers. Junior Jorie Hall (Denver, Colo.) followed up Sakai-Hart’s performance with a 9.825. DU and Utah were tied for second after the meet’s second rotation, all square at 49.175. Alabama turned in a 49.350 on vault to take the early lead.

For the 10th time this season, Martin led the Pioneers on vault, recording a 9.875 for her performance. What’s turned into a great vault partnership this season continued on Saturday night, as Moorhead preceded Martin’s vault with a 9.825 of her own. Senior Simona Castro (Santiago, Chile) opened the rotation with a 9.800, her fourth 9.800 or better on vault in the last five meets of her career.  Denver combined for a 48.875 on vault, and took a 0.225 lead over Utah for second at the midway point.

Denver tallied a 48.950 in its third rotation of the evening, led by McGee’s 9.850 on bars. Castro opened the rotation with a 9.725, followed by a 9.750 from junior Melodie Pulgarin Linero (Barcelona, Spain) in her second meet back from injury. Junior bars specialist Emily Warfield (Lafayette, Colo.) inked a 9.800, while Martin scored a 9.825 one rotation shy of her 10th all-around appearance of the season. Denver and Utah were tied up at 147.000 heading into the final rotation for the final Nationals spot.

Hall led the Pioneers in their fourth rotation, earning a 9.825 on beam. The Pioneer junior finished fourth at the meet on the apparatus. Martin added a 9.725 to round out her evening, and Sakai-Hart opened the rotation with a 9.700. As a team, Denver combined for a 48.275 on the apparatus to conclude its 2013 campaign. Utah closed out its evening with a 49.400 on vault.

“It was not our best night on beam,” Kutcher-Rinehart said. “It was tough knowing that we were tied going into the last rotation with Utah on vault, and the crowd noise from Alabama on floor. We didn’t do a great job of performing under that intensity tonight. We’re almost there, and I think tonight proved to our girls that we can run with anyone in the country. We just have to get the job done in the moment, something we didn’t do tonight.”

Alabama advances to its 31st-straight NCAA Championships, while Utah advances to its 32nd-straight, the two longest streaks in the sport’s history. Martin’s National rotation order and pairing will be released on Monday.

“I’m excited to get another chance to compete,” Martin said. “Tonight isn’t exactly how I wanted the season to be, because I didn’t compete the way I know I can. (Competing without the team there) just takes a little bit more focus because I’m going to be by myself. I just want to work on some details in the gym over the next two weeks, and then go have fun at Nationals.”

The Pioneers will lose two seniors, in Brianna Springer (Arvada, Colo.) and Castro as the team, outside of Martin, sets its sights on 2014.

“We will have a very experienced group coming back,” Kutcher-Rinehart said. “Our juniors will now be seniors next year, and will be very motivated and very passionate about not letting this happen again. I’m excited about the freshman class coming in, and excited about the future of this program. Like I said earlier, we are right there.”

Martin will compete at the NCAA Semifinals on Friday, April 19, in Los Angeles, Calif., at Pauley Pavilion.


SOUTHERN UTAH FINISHES FIFTH AT NCAA REGIONAL

NORMAN, Okla. - (SUU Media Relations) Southern Utah University went a perfect 24-for-24 on Saturday afternoon, wrapping up the 2013 season with a fifth-place 194.850 at the NCAA Regionals in Norman, Okla. Sophomore Jamie Armijo recorded the T-Birds top finish, third place on the uneven bars, narrowly missing a berth at the NCAA Championships by less than half a tenth.

SUU finished its night on bars as Armijo anchored the lineup and scored a 9.875, finishing .025 behind Oklahoma's Taylor Spears and Rebecca Clark who won the event with a 9.900. Armijo was set up by a pair of 9.800's from Caitlin Kennedy and Arlyn Amor. They were preceded by matching 9.75's from Rochelle Bernier and Michaela Chernoch, leading to the T-Birds' meet-best 48.975 team score.

Southern Utah opened the competition on balance beam, scoring a 48.475 and improved its team score in each subsequent rotation. The T-Birds were led on beam by a quartet of 9.700's from Armijo, Chernoch, Ana Jaworski and Natalie Trejo. Kennedy's 9.675 capped the Thunderbirds' total on the event.

SUU moved to floor for its next rotation, finishing the event strong with three of its top marks. Chernoch, Armijo and Carly Sigler led the T-Birds with matching 9.750's. Sigler appeared on the floor for only the second time this season, capping the rotation with her 9.750 and marking a new career high after filling in for an ailing Caitlin Kennedy. Brittney Jensen and Jaworski rounded out Southern Utah's 48.575 on the event with a 9.725 and 9.600, respectively.

Amor led the T-Birds during their next rotation on vault, starting the event with a team-best 9.825. She was followed by a 9.775 from Bernier, a pair of 9.750's from Armijo and Jensen and a 9.725 from Baylie Divino. Southern Utah finished the event with a 48.825.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more from our girls tonight," head coach Scott Bauman said. "They went 24-for-24 and 18 of those routines came from our freshmen and sophomores. This will be a great experience for them and we are really looking forward to next year."

Armijo led Southern Utah in the all-around with a 39.075, finishing tied for seventh, and was followed by Chernoch with a 38.900.

The University of Oklahoma and Stanford finished first and second at the meet to punch their tickets to the NCAA National Championships after scoring a 197.375 and 196.800, respectively. The University of Washington (195.925) and Penn State (195.875) finished third and fourth, respectively, with the University of Iowa finishing sixth with a team score of 194.475.


BOISE STATE PLACES FIFTH AT NCAA REGIONAL

CORVALLIS, Ore. - (BSU Media Relations) Boise State closed out its 2013 season Saturday evening at the 2013 NCAA Corvallis Regional Championships at Gill Coliseum on the campus of Oregon State University. The Broncos earned a score of 195.350 to place fifth in their 27th regional appearance. The score was the fifth-best by a Bronco team at regionals.

Georgia won the meet with a 197.425 score, while Arkansas placed second with a 196.950. The two teams earned the two team qualifying spots for the NCAA National Championships held in Los Angeles April 19-21.

Arizona State placed third with a 195.70 team total, while Oregon State snuck past the Broncos in the final rotation, earning a 195.375 total to place fourth. California rounded out the teams, earning sixth with a195.125.

The top-two teams from each of the six regional sites, as well as the top-two all-around competitors or any individual event champions (who are not on an advancing team) qualified to participate at the NCAA National Championships.

Sophomore Caitlin Mann was the Broncos' top all-around competitor, earning a 39.10, good for the seventh-best score by a Bronco at regionals. The reigning Western Athletic Conference champion tied for sixth in the regional meet, narrowly missing an NCAA National Championship qualifying spot as an individual all-around competitor. Kelsey Black also competed in the all-around, tying for ninth with a 39.050 score. The score ties for the ninth-best by a Bronco at regionals. Kelsey Morris was the final Bronco to compete in the all-around, earning a 38.975 to place 11th.

Boise State opened up the evening on floor exercise, totaling a 48.70 team score. The Broncos stayed steady and consistent on floor all scoring with in a tenth of a point from each other. Black and Amanda Otaufi led the Broncos with a tie for 23rd, each earning 9.775 scores, while Morris and Mann earned 9.725 scores, tying for 32nd. Maddie Krentz tied for 35th with a 9.70, while Brittany Potvin-Green earned tie for 37th with a 9.675 after a .10 deduction for out of bounds.

Moving on to vault in the second rotation earning a 49.125 team total, the third-best score in Bronco regional history. Otuafi led the Broncos with her 9.875, tying for sixth in the meet. The junior's score tied her for the fifth-best score ever by a Bronco at regionals. Black joined her teammate in the record books, tying for eighth overall after scoring a 9.850, tying for the eighth-best score in Bronco regional history. Ciera Perkins, Potvin-Green and Mann all tied for 9.80 scores and 24th-place finishes while Morris earned a season-best 9.775 and a tie for 32nd to round out the Broncos' vault lineup.

The Broncos sat out on a bye during the third rotation, ending up in third mid-way through the meet with a 97.825. Georgia led at the halfway point with a 98.525 total, while Arkansas slid into the second spot with a 98.50.

In the fourth rotation Boise State earned another spot in the school's regional record books, earning the sixth-best regional team total on the uneven bars (48.80). Perkins led the charge with an excellent 9.80 performance and a tie for 15th, followed by Black with a 9.775 and a tie for 17th. Morris and Mann tied for 20th earning 9.750 scores, while senior Erin Wippermann closed out her Bronco career with a 9.725, tying for 23rd. Krentz earned a 9.70, good for tie for 26th-place.

Boise State closed out the night with a 48.725 on balance beam, tying for the seventh-best score at a regional. Mann tied for 14th earning a 9.825 to lead the Broncos and tie for the ninth-best regional score by a Bronco. Potvin-Green tied for 17th and earned a 9.80, while Morris and Kyrstine Jacobsen earned 9.725 scores, tying for 29th. Black earned 9.650 to tie for 36th and Alessandra Cinfio had an 8.950, placing 42nd, to round out the line-up. ­­

The Broncos close out a very successful season with an 18-7 record, a WAC Championship title and their 27th regional berth.

Other schools hosting regional meets include: University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa Regional), University of Florida (Gainesville Regional), Ohio State University (Columbus Regional), University of Oklahoma (Norman Regional), and West Virginia University (Morgantown Regional). For more information about the 2013 NCAA Gymnastics Championships, please visit www.NCAA.com.


SACRAMENTO STATE'S MCCARTNEY NARROWLY MISSES ADVANCING AT NCAA REGIONALS

CORVALLIS, Ore. --- Sophomore Kalliah McCartney finished sixth in the all-around to lead a contingent of three Sacramento State gymnasts at the NCAA Corvallis Regional on Saturday at Oregon State.
 
Georgia and Arkansas finished first and second in the team standings to earn the berths to the NCAA Championships at UCLA. The top two all-arounders outside of those two teams will also move on to the meet. Those spots were captured by Oregon State’s Chelsea Tang (39.300) and Brittany Harris (39.125). McCartney and Boise State’s Caitlin Mann were close behind as each totaled 39.100.
 
McCartney rotated with Georgia and began the meet on vault where she scored 9.825 to tie for 18th place. On bars, she received a 9.675 to tie for 30th. She scored 9.775 on beam and 9.825 on floor to tie for 26th and 15th, respectively.
 
Senior Nicole Meiller and junior Kailey Hansen also competed as individual specialists. Meiller scored 9.325 to place 38th on bars. Hansen tied for 17th on beam with a 9.800.


SJSU's GHER AND HARRISON COMPETE AT NCAA CORVALLIS REGIONAL

Corvallis, Ore. – (SJSU Media Relations) Bekah Gher finished 13th and Cassandra Harrison placed 17th in the all-around at the NCAA West Women’s Gymnastics Regional, hosted by Oregon State on Saturday.

Gher earned a 38.800, while Harrison finished with a 38.200. Katherine Grable of Arkansas won the all-around with a 39.650 total.

"This was a good experience for them," said Head Coach Wayne Wright, "but it was tough for them to be here not competing with the team, and that affected them.

Both gymnasts began the meet on floor. Harrison, who competed alongside Boise State, scored a 9.750, while Gher, competing with Arkansas, performed a 9.700 routine.

On vault, Harrison got her lowest score, a 9.650, since the season opener at the NorCal Quad (9.000). Gher’s 9.725 was her ninth vault performance of the year that yielded her a 9.700 or higher.

Harrison and Gher scored 9.625 and 9.575 on the bars, respectively.

Gher, who won the 2012 NCAA North Central Regional on beam, tied for 17th with a 9.800 showing on the apparatus. Falls plagued Harrison, however, and she scored a 9.175.

"They want to be here with the team," said Wright. "Now they know what it takes. There were some good teams here but also some teams they felt we were just as good as. That is one of their main goals for their senior year next year."


UTAH STATE GYMNASTS WRAP UP SEASON AT NCAA COLUMBUS REGIONAL

COLUMBUS, Ohio - (USU Media Relations) Utah State gymnastics' three gymnasts had solid outings Saturday night at the NCAA Regional Championships, hosted by the Ohio State at St. John Arena.

Junior Paige Jones and sophomore Sarah Landes competed in the all-around while freshman Stefanie Daley competed on the balance beam. Landes finished in seventh-place in the all-around with a score of 39.125 and Jones placed 11th with a 38.950, while Daley tied for 37th on beam with a 9.550.

"I'm proud of the girls. They competed really well," said head coach Jeff Richards. "It's a great end to the season for them and a great start for the team next year."

In the all-around, Landes tied for 18th on vault (9.800), tied for sixth on bars (9.800), tied for 28th on beam (9.700) and tied for 27th on floor (9.775). Jones tied for 37th on vault (9.700), tied for 18th on bars (9.750), tied for 32nd on beam (9.700) and tied for 24th on floor (9.800).

No. 7 LSU won the regional competition with an overall score of 197.275, securing a spot at the NCAA National Championships in Los Angeles. No. 6 UCLA will join them at their home gym for the finals after finishing second with a score of 196.950. They will be joined by all-around individuals Aubree Cristello from Arizona and Melanie Shaffer from Ohio State who were the top finishers not on a qualifying team.

The three Aggies spent the evening rotating with full teams who were in the competition. Landes was with UCLA, Jones with LSU and Daley with North Carolina State.

While Jones sat out on a bye for the first rotation, Landes got the night started on vault where she notched a 9.800. Daley's only performance of the night was in the first rotation where she registered a 9.550. Jones was the only Aggie in action on the second rotation, giving a bars performance worthy of a 9.750.
 
Both Aggie all-arounders were back in action for the third rotation with Jones notching a 9.700 on beam and Landes registering a 9.800 on bars after a beautiful dismount. For the fourth rotation, Jones was back on a bye while Landes hit a 9.750 on beam.

While Landes sat out on a bye for rotation five, Jones was on floor, notching a 9.800. Both were back in competition for the final rotation with Jones on vault and Landes on floor. Jones secured a 9.700 on vault, for her all-around score of 38.950. Landes landed a 9.775 on floor to earn a final score of 39.125.

Saturday was Jones' third NCAA regional appearance while it was Landes' second. As a freshman, it was Daley's first post-season competition. All three Aggie competitors will return next season.
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