Parkinson Earns All-America Honors but Cougars Unable to Advance at NCAA Gymnastics Championships

BOISE -- Cougar sophomore Kelly Parkinson earned second-team All-America honors in the all-around and floor exercise but BYU was unable to advance into the team finals of the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships being conducted at The Pavilion on the campus of Boise State University.

Competing in its seventh NCAA Championships, BYU placed sixth in the first session of the team preliminary competition Thursday, with only the top three teams from each session qualifying for Friday's Super 6 Team Finals. Advancing from session 1 were perennial gymnastics powers Georgia, Utah and Alabama. Session 2 qualifiers were its top three teams, UCLA, Nebraska and Michigan.

Two-time defending national champion Georgia placed first in the afternoon session at 196.775, followed by Utah at 196.125, Alabama at 196.075, Louisiana State at 194.950, Oregon State at 194.750 and BYU at 195.500. UCLA won the evening session with a 197.250, followed by Nebraska at 196.0, Michigan at 195.925, Penn State at 195.350, Iowa State at 195.325 and West Virginia at 194.175.

"We needed to have our best meet to have a chance to move on but that just didn't happen," BYU coach Brad Cattermole. "We made some mistakes but we did some good things too. I was really proud of the kids. I thought they gave it their all and fought to the end. Kelly (Parkinson) had a good meet in the all-around."

Parkinson earned All-America status by finishing tied for fifth in the all-around with a 39.10 score and tied for seventh on floor with a 9.850 performance. Three other Cougars nearly earned All-America honors. Junior Angie Hickman (9.825 on vault) and senior Leah Niepraschk and sophomore Mindi Hilton (9.800 on bars) each finished just one spot and only .025 points from the required top-eight placement. Competing in session 2, Nebraska's Heather Brink won the all-around title with a 39.6. BYU junior Kim Little finished 15th in the session 1 all-around at 38.350 while senior Denice Pauga placed 18th at 37.775.

BYU opened the meet on the floor exercise and recorded a 48.725 with Parkinson leading the way with a 9.850. Little added a 9.775 and Marisa Cosgrave a 9.725 as BYU finished the first rotation in second place behind Louisiana State (49.0 on vault).

The Cougars moved to vault in the second rotation and finished the rotation with a brief lead as BYU and Oregon State were the only two schools to compete in both of the first two rotations. BYU scored 48.875 on vault for a 97.600 total as previous leader LSU sat out with a bye. Hickman provided BYU's top vault with a 9.825 effort, while Denice Pauga, Little and Parkinson each added 9.8 vaults.

With BYU sitting out the third rotation with a bye, the Cougars dropped to fifth as each school completed its second event of the meet. Utah took the overall lead at 98.150, followed by Georgia at 98.000, LSU at 97.850 and Alabama at 97.775. BYU trailed at 97.600 with Oregon State at 96.875.

In the fourth rotation, BYU's Leah Niepraschk and Mindi Hilton tallied 9.8 routines and Parkinson a 9.775 to help the Cougars earn a 48.575 bars score. With then meet-leading Utah and Georgia both sitting out with a bye, BYU moved into second place temporarily at 146.175, moving ahead of LSU, who dropped to 146.025 after a 48.175 total on beam. Alabama held the lead at 146.875.

BYU entered its last event, the balance beam, in the meet's fifth rotation but did not have enough to secure a third-place finish and a spot in Friday's team finals. Jeni Thomas led BYU with a 9.725 and Karen Nielsen added a 9.700 but the Cougars could only manage a 48.325 team score and a meet total of 194.500. Georgia scored a session-high 49.425 on vault to seal first place and Utah delivered the session's best beam score, a 49.050, to edge Alabama for second place.



Session 1

1. Georgia, 196.775

2. Utah, 196.125

3. Alabama, 196.075

4. Louisiana State, 194.950

5. Oregon State, 194.500

6. BYU, 194.500

BYU Event Scores:

Floor, 48.725

Vault, 48.875

Bars, 48.575

Beam, 48.325

Session 2

1. UCLA, 197.250

2. Nebraska, 196.000

3. Michigan, 195.925

4. Penn State, 195.350

5. Iowa State, 195.325

6. West Virginia, 194.175

Floor Exercise (Session 1 Only)

1. Suzanne Sears, Georgia, 9.900

Talya Vexler, Georgia, 9.900

Kristen Sterner, Alabama, 9.900

Denise Jones, Utah, 9.900

BYU Floor Scores:

7. Kelly Parkinson, 9.850

25. Kim Little, 9.775

34. Marisa Cosgrave, 9.725

39. Brooke Craig, 9.700

40. Candace Cosgrave, 9.675

Denice Pauga, 9.675

Vault (Session 1 Only)

1. Monica Fammer, Georgia, 9.900

Kristi Lichey, Georgia, 9.900

Suzanne Sears, Georgia, 9.900

Katie Hornecker, Alabama, 9.900

Andree Pickens, Alabama, 9.900

Gabi Weller, Towson, 9.900

BYU Vault Scores:

13. Angie Hickman, 9.825

15. Denice Pauga, 9.800

Kelly Parkinson, 9.800

Kim Little, 9.800

38. Mindi Hilton, 9.650

42. Hilary Johnson, 9.475

Uneven Bars (Session 1 Only)

1. Kathleen Schrieves, Georgia, 9.900

2. Natalie Barrington, Alabama, 9.875

3. Andree Pickens, Alabama, 9.850

Kristen Sterner, Alabama, 9.850

Dara Stewart, Alabama, 9.850

Jenny Schmidt, Utah, 9.850

BYU Bars Scores:

11. Leah Niepraschk, 9.800

Mindi Hilton, 9.800

14. Kelly Parkinson, 9.775

30. Kim Little, 9.700

39. Jeni Thomas, 9.500

42. Denice Pauga, 8.650

Balance Beam (Session 1 Only)

1. Kristi Lichey, Georgia, 9.850

Deidra Graham, Utah, 9.850

3. Amanda Curry, Georgia, 9.825

Talya Vexler, Georgia, 9.825

Denise Jones, Utah, 9.825

Angelika Schatton, Utah, 9.825

BYU Beam Scores:

19. Jeni Thomas, 9.725

22. Karen Nielsen, 9.700

25. Kelly Parkinson, 9.675

27. Denice Pauga, 9.650

33. Brooke Craig, 9.575

41. Kim Little, 9.075

All-Around Champion: Heather Brink, Nebraska, 39.600

All-Around (Session 1 Only)

1. Kristi Lichey, Georgia, 39.400

Denise Jones, Utah, 39.400

3. Andree Pickens, Alabama, 39.375

4. Deidra Graham, Utah, 39.275

BYU All-Around Scores:

5. Kelly Parkinson, 39.100

15. Denice Pauga, 38.350

18. Kim Little, 37.775