Lincoln, Neb. » Four years ago, Kristina Baskett didn't hide her awe at sharing the NCAA uneven bars title with former Olympian Courtney Kupets.
Sharing an award with someone she'd idolized would be one of the highlights of her collegiate career, she said then.
Little did she know, four years later, she'd still be sharing a stage and being compared to Kupets, who is now a senior for Georgia.
Kupets is ranked No. 1 in the all-around and on the uneven bars, with Baskett ranked second on both.
While the two won't compete at the same time today, they are the favorites for the NCAA all-around title, which will naturally bring special attention to their individual scores throughout the preliminary competition.
The Utes haven't had an NCAA all-around champion since Theresa Kulikowski won in 1999. Kupets won the award in 2006 and 2007 and was having another champion-like year in 2008 before she tore her Achilles' tendon.
UCLA's Tasha Schwikert won the all-around title last year while Baskett was third behind teammate Ashley Postell.
"To just be in that position right now where people are thinking about me in that regard, that I could win is crazy," Baskett said. "It reflects how much I have improved here. I have to take a step back and think, 'OK, I do belong.' If it happens to be my night, that would be cool, too."
As nice as it would be to win the title, Baskett said she is focusing on helping the Utes qualify for the Super Six, not any individual goal.
"Courtney is a freakishly amazing gymnast, and I mean that in the best way possible," Baskett said. "But there are so many gymnasts who could have one of their best meets and win. I hope I have my second-best meet Thursday, then have my best on Friday."
Kupets echoed Baskett's thoughts of putting the team competition first, but said she knows full well Baskett is capable of the kind of gymnastics it takes to win the all-around.
"She is a gorgeous gymnast who has great form," she said. "That is the kind of gymnastics I like, when it looks nice and easy and is done to the perfection that she does it."
Georgia's Courtney Kupets and Utah's Kristina Baskett are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the all-around. Here is a breakdown of their regional qualifying scores.
Event Kupets Baskett
All-Around 39.72 39.62
Vault 9.94 9.94
Uneven bars 9.965 9.93
Balance beam 9.955 9.87
Floor 9.945 9.9