April 26 – Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program Announcements

ATHENS, Ga.– The Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program announced Monday that Georgia freshman Courtney Kupets is a finalist for this year’s Honda Award for gymnastics.
The Honda Award is given annually to the top female athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports.
Kupets joins Alabama senior Ashley Miles, UCLA senior Kate Richardson and Utah sophomore Ashley Postell on the ballot, which is voted on by 1,000 NCAA member schools.
Last week Kupets claimed the NCAA All-Around title, leading Georgia to the program’s seventh national championship. She also earned co-championships on the balance beam and uneven bars, making her only the second Georgia gymnast to win three NCAA individual titles in one year (Hope Spivey, 1991).
At the conclusion of this year’s regular (collegiate) season, Kupets was the only gymnast in the nation ranked in the top 5 on every event. Her 40 scores of 9.9 or better are the second-most in school history, trailing only Karin Lichey¹s one-year record of 42 during her Honda Award-winning year of 1999.
A Georgia gymnast has won this award five times including Lucy Wener (1989), Hope Spivey (1991), Kim Arnold (1997 and 1998) and Karin Lichey (1999). In 1992 Heather Stepp won the Honda Inspiration Award.
In addition to the selection, American Honda will donate $1,000 to the women¹s athletic fund of each nominee¹s university. The winner¹s program will receive $5,000.
The winner is expected to be announced early next week.

April 26Women’s International Assignments for May, 2006

May 12-13 – Belgium World Cup

Ghent, Belgium
Alicia Sacramone, Ashley Priess, Hillary Mauro

May 26-27 – Moscow World Cup

Moscow, Russia
Kassi Price, Natasha Kelley, Kayla Hoffman


April 19-22Women’s NCAA National Championships

By Mike Lorenzen, President
National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women
Oregon State University in Corvallis played host to the 2006 NCAA Division I Women’s Gymnastics National Championships, April 19-22. Twelve teams and a number of individuals arrived after a season that presented some interesting challenges to athletes and coaches who faced a new code and more rigorous judging. Scores throughout the season came down from the remarkable heights seen in previous years, but the terrific parity that has recently characterized collegiate women’s gymnastics does not seem to be in any way affected. While three of the four teams that have ever won a national title (Alabama, Georgia, and Utah) came to Corvallis with realistic championships hopes again, the most dominant team in the last six years, UCLA, was eliminated after NCAA Regionals, as was Pac 10 Champion Stanford. Host Oregon State qualified as a team for the first time in several years with a stellar NCAA Regional performance and the entire gymnastics community was excited to welcome Arkansas to “the Big Dance” for the first time in only their fourth year of existence. Conference representation was dominated by the SEC with five teams (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and LSU) and the Big 12 with a remarkable three of four teams (Iowa State, Nebraska, and Oklahoma). Individual qualifiers from schools that have been absent from the National Championship for awhile (including New Hampshire, Michigan State, and North Carolina State) lent to an air of new possibilities and wide-open opportunities.
The first day of the meet is split into two sessions and the afternoon event saw what was probably the most competitive preliminary session in recent memory-all six participating teams were perennial participants or aspirants to the Super Six, meaning three teams with storied pasts were going to be left out of the final day fight for the team title. Alabama came out strong with an impressive performance on floor to start the day while Utah suffered some nerves on balance beam but no one counted a miss in the first rotation. That was the theme for the remainder of the session as the scores and many of the athletes seemed only to tighten with each passing rotation. Nebraska started in the second rotation on bars and showed good consistency and control that would serve them well through the remainder of the night. While Alabama added a good vault effort to their floor start, Utah struggled a bit again on floor and suffered a couple of out of bounds that were enough to really keep things interesting. Michigan began the meet with impressive difficulty and execution on bars and had a few minor challenges on beam and floor with landings and finishes. By the end of the first session there were just a few tenths separating all of the teams and qualification came down to the final rotation. Utah started building momentum on bars and turned in an impressive performance on vault, including a Yurchenko 1½ and two round off ½ on front pikes, that was enough to help them edge just past Michigan by .175 after the Wolverines gave away some critical tenths on vault landings. Alabama relinquished their lead as Nebraska finished with some great difficulty on floor (two double layouts and two full-in mounts) and very solid vault landings for a 196.325, leaving Alabama in second with a 196.25 just ahead of Utah’s 196.175. Michigan, LSU, and Oklahoma all had their seasons come to a close.
Individually, Utah sophomore Ashley Postell won the all-around with a 39.525, including third place on both vault (9.90) and bars (9.875). Ashley Miles, a senior from Alabama, was top vaulter (9.95), while Utah freshman Kristina Baskett took bar honors with a 9.90. Alabama’s Terin Humprey and LSU’s April Burkholder tied for first on balance beam (9.875). Ne