Gymnastics Notes: USU still in dark over defeat

Gymnastics Notes
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LOGAN - Jessica Parenti won the all-around for a third consecutive meet to lead the Utah State gymnastics team past Cal 195.325-192.340 on Monday night.

Parenti opened her night by winning the vault with a school record-tying 9.950. She finished with an all-around score of 39.425.

The Aggies' final score was their third in a row over 195.

It has been a week since Utah State lost a controversial meet at Texas Woman's University, 195.950-195.900, and officials and coaches are still trying to figure out what happened.

It was announced Utah State had won the meet 195.900-195.875, but after a closed-door meeting that lasted almost 45 minutes, the judges came back out and announced Texas Woman's had won.

Two scores on floor exercises were changed for Texas Woman's, giving the Aggies the loss.

It is normal for judges to confer after the meet to double-check scores, but usually it only takes a couple of minutes, and scores are rarely changed.

As of Monday, Carole Ide, the president of the National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges, was still trying to find out exactly what happened.

"I don't have the authority to change the final score, but I do want to get to the bottom of it," she said. "I want to understand the actions of the judges."

Utah State coach Ray Corn said he has gotten over the disappointment of losing the meet, but he is still frustrated at how the discrepancies happened. Texas Woman's didn't use tearsheets, which are used at most meets to show what scores are given out, and the meet didn't have out-of-bounds judges.

One of the scores changed was that of a Texas Woman's athlete who initially was penalized for stepping out of bounds, an automatic one-tenth deduction. The deduction was removed in the meeting.

"These meets should be standardized," Corn said. "If that had happened, this wouldn't have taken place."

Sophomore Jessica Parenti said the Aggies are using the debacle as motivation for the rest of the season.

"We want to go out and prove we deserved to win that meet," she said.

Parenti did her part to help the Aggies win, taking the all-around with a career best 39.350. Parenti only recently returned to the all-around after sitting out the first half of the season with mononucleosis.

She is taking naps twice a day and sits every chance she gets during meets. Even then, she still doesn't have the energy to compete on the floor every meet. She took herself out of the floor lineup against Boise State.

"I'd say I'm about 60 percent," she said. "But it's hard to tell what normal is; it has been so long, I'm going off memory. I hope I'm still affected by [the mono], because I want to feel better than this."

Utes get another recruit

Shortly after Sarah Shire, one of the most sought-after recruits committed to Utah on Friday, her friend, Annie DiLuzio, also committed. DiLuzio, who trains out of Byers Gymnastics in Sacramento, Calif., is considered one of the nation's top vaulters, and placed 24th in the all-around at the 2004 U.S. Nationals.

Oregon State and Alabama were also heavily recruiting DiLuzio, who is known for her vaulting and floor skills.

In the rankings

Thanks to its second-highest score of the year that it posted Friday, Utah jumped from third to No. 1 in the latest rankings. BYU is 16th, SUU is 20th and Utah State is 25th. Utah's Ashley Postell is ranked third on the balance beam, ninth on the floor and third in the all-around. Nicolle Ford is sixth on the balance beam and fifth in the all-around. Rachel Tidd is third on the uneven bars and Annabeth Eberle is eighth in the all-around.

Bruins' boys

UCLA has found an unusual fan base this year. Several members of the UCLA football team have turned out to support the gymnasts. A core group of eight players are often joined by several others, and they wear Superman costumes and bathing suits, have their faces painted, and act, in general, like they are at a football game instead of a gymnastics meet.

However, their rowdiness, combined with the close proximity of the bleacher seats they occupy that puts them virtually on the floor, particularly the vault runway, has led to some complaints from opposing coaches.

UCLA coach Val Kondos said a representative from the school spoke to the players last week about their behavior, and she has asked them to sit higher up in the stands.

"Just like any other spectator, if their behavior becomes unruly, they should be escorted from the arena," Kondos said. "As you can imagine, I don't want to squelch their enthusiasm and support, but we also want to offer a positive and healthy environment for everyone at the event."

Assessing the competition

With meets against Utah, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, UCLA and LSU topping its schedule, Florida has competed against six of the current top 10 teams. Gators coach Rhonda Faehn, who competed for UCLA from 1990-92, said this is the deepest the country has been in talent since she can remember.

"Making the Super Six [at nationals] is going to be tough because everyone is so close in talent," she said. "It's phenomenal."

Around the nation

Nebraska lost to Michigan 195.900-194.200. . . . Alabama topped Stanford 197.100-194.975 Sunday. . . . UCLA posted a national-best 197.850 to defeat Florida, which had a 196.650. . . . Oregon State earned a 195.525 to down Iowa State (195.100), Washington (194.500) and UC Davis (191.500).

Freak accident

Utah senior Gritt Hofmann broke the ring finger on her right hand Saturday during a medicine ball exercise with teammate Gabi Onodi. Hofmann still is expected to compete Friday against Washington.