Women's Gymnastics Places Seventh at NCAA Championships
April 16, 1998
Los Angeles, CA - Despite not reaching its goal of qualifying for Friday's championship round, the Washington women's gymnastics team turned in its best showing ever at the NCAA Championships with a seventh-place overall finish. Two Huskies -- Tiffany Simpson and Klara Kudilkova -- qualified for Saturday's event finals and were named All-Americans during the first day of competition.
Washington placed fourth in the evening session of the championships with a score of 195.450, but only the top three teams from the session advanced to Friday's finals. Utah used a strong showing on its final event, uneven bars, to pull away from the Huskies and fifth-place LSU (195.350) to claim the final slot in the finals with an overall score of 195.775. Defending NCAA champion UCLA won the evening session with a score of 196.925 while Florida finished second at 196.750.
The Huskies found themselves playing catchup to Utah and LSU after Washington's second rotation when the team turned in a 48.100 score on balance beam.
"We hit on one, we had one fall and the others had some breaks in their beam routines and that was what it came down to for us," said Washington coach Bob Levesque. "If we had put together a meet like we had two weeks ago when we won the regional, then we would have advanced to the finals. It was a real dog fight and, despite the beam, we stayed in the meet until the very end."
Washington entered its final rotation, the vault, trailing Utah by .25 points and LSU by .05. The Huskies top two competitors, Simpson and Kudilkova turned in 9.950 performances to finish second overall in the event and pull Washington ahead of LSU, but they could not catch the Utes.
Kudilkova won the session's all-around competition and finished third in the total meet's all-around competition with a score of 39.550, trailing only Georgia's Kim Arnold (39.725) and Kim Lichey (39.700). Kudilkova's finish was the second best by a Husky at the NCAA Championships. In 1987 Yumi Modre placed second in the all-around.
Simpson's 39.375 score placed her sixth overall at the meet. Both Kudilkova and Simpson were named first-team All-Americans for their performances on all-around, vault and floor exercise. Kudilkova was a second-team All-American on beam and bars.
In the earlier afternoon session top-seeded Georgia had no problem advancing to the Super Six with a score of 197.825. Alabama placed second at 196.475 and Arizona State took advantage of several falls by Michigan on the beam to edge the Wolverines 195.450 to 195.425 for the third spot in Friday's finals.
1998 NCAA Women's Gymnastics ChampionshipsLos Angeles, Calif.
All-Around: 1. Kim Arnold (Georgia) 39.725, 2. Kim Lichey (Georgia) 39.700, 3. Klara Kudilkova (UW) 39.550.
Vault: 1. Susan Hines (Florida) 10.000, 2. Mohini Bhardwaj (UCLA), Kudilkova (UW) and Simpson (UW) 9.950.
Bars: 1. Heidi Moneymaker (UCLA) and Angie Leonard (Utah) 9.950, 3. Mohini Bhardwaj (UCLA) 9.250.
Beam: 1. Stella Umeh (UCLA) 9.950, Shannon Bowles (Utah) 9.900, 3. Betsy Hamm (Florida) and Amy McClosky (LSU) 9.875.
Floor: 1. Umeh (UCLA) 9.950, 2. Hamm (Florida) and Simpson (UW) 9.925.