Posts Tagged ‘Darlene Hill’

Pacific Rim redux

April 13, 2008

Al TrautwigThanks NBC, for broadcasting the women’s team competiton (and three half-performances from Paul Hamm.)

Many gymnastics fans don’t agree with everything NBC commentators say, particularly color commentator Al Trautwig, a basketball/hockey expert who often comes off as a buffoon in his attempts to translate the sport for the couch-potato watching public.

But they do slip interesting tidbits into their talk when not reminding viewers that the balance beam is only four inches wide (which, to their credit, I don’t believe they did in this broadcast.)

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More of Darlene Hill’s story

April 7, 2008

Mt. Laurel, N.J.’s Darlene Hill possibly solidified her status as an Olympic team contender with gold on the floor exercise at the Pacific Rim Championships two weeks ago.

The South Jersey Courier Post, which ran an initial article on Hill back in October, figured her win merited another one. It’s here that we actually learn a little more about her.

1996 Olympic Champion Lilia PodkopayevaShe’s got a terrific story, and this one undoubtedly won’t be the last done on her.

Hill aggravated a shoulder injury during training and rolled her ankle the first day she got to San Jose, Calif., where the three-day [Pacific Rim] competition was held. She did not compete on the uneven bars, another strength area, in order to rest her shoulder. But her stellar performances on floor and vault contributed to the team gold. All told, the U.S. men and women collected 15 gold, five silver and four bronze for a total of 24 medals.

“The competition was pretty much me having to prove to the world that I am ready for the Olympic team,” said Hill, a 2007 Lenape High School graduate who attends Burlington County College. “I felt honored being on that team and the crowd was behind me for the first time. It was a lot of fun.”

Soft-spoken and stoic, Hill didn’t discuss the mental burden she was carrying during the competition. Her grandmother, Eloise Dixon, who had raised her and supported her Olympic dream, had died just three weeks earlier.

“She was devastated,” [coach Kim] Bonus said. “It was really rough. But what a victory to show herself what she can do even in the worst of times. I always knew she could do this. I had complete faith in her.”

Shades of Lilia Podkopayeva, yes?

Darlene Hill: Olympic sleeper now?

April 2, 2008

No post on this blog has had as many comments as one written in October about 18-year-old Darlene Hill, who trains at the Will-Moor School of Gymnastics in Mt. Laurel, N.J.

Will-Moor, by the way, has produced some very respectable alumni, including Arizona State’s Beate Jones and Stanford’s Alex Pintchouk.

But back to Hill. In October, some said she has Olympic potential. Others didn’t think so. All that was before she won floor at the Pacific Rim Championships last weekend.

The Pacific Rim is an interesting meet because it’s about the last time any Olympic contenders emerge from the woodwork if they haven’t already done so. In 2004, it was Allyse Ishino’s coming out party – after all, she beat Carly Patterson there.

Is the same true for Darlene Hill?

Darlene Hill, 2008 Pacific Rim Championships Team Finals, Floor Exercise:

Darlene Hill, 2007 Glasgow Grand Prix Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

NCAA Gymnastics: 2009 letters of intent

November 15, 2007

So far, here’s who’s going where in 2009:

Oklahoma University Women’s Gymnastics has signed 2006 World team member Natasha Kelley, Sara Stone and Megan Ferguson, while the men’s team received letters of intent from Patrick Piscitelli, Chad Crumley and Troy Nitzky.  

Signing Kelley is a coup for Oklahoma coach K.J. Kindler, who spent several years at Iowa State before taking over for a scandal-plauged Steve Nunno. Nunno’s greatest contribution to Oklahoma was probably getting 2003 World bars champ Hollie Vise, although Vise’s contribution to the Sooners thusfar has been mostly having her name attached to its gymnastics program. It’s a reason for someone like Kelley to be interested.

Natasha Kelley has signed a letter of intent to compete for the University of Oklahoma.

Oregon State has gotten the yes from Adonica Glatt, Leslie Mak and Canadian Stephanie McGregor.

That’s it for now. As Rick at Gymnastics Coaching pointed out earlier today, the top five college-eligible elites in the nation (ranked by GymGemz, a site focusing on college gymnastics) are 2007 U.S. Championships runner-up Shayla Worley, recently retired elite Bianca Flohr, WOGA’s Christa Tanella, tumbling ace Randy Stageberg and Olympic sleeper Darlene Hill.

Worley and perhaps Hill may hold off saying yes to any school before the 2008 Olympic Trials, although from what I understand a letter of intent doesn’t marry a gymnast to a particular university.

And as any one of the to-be reunited Magnificent Seven could tell you, there’s enough to be made to pay for several educations if you happen to be on an Olympic gold medal-winning team.

Darlene Hill: Olympic sleeper?

October 4, 2007

Darlene Hill deserves a lot more recognition than she’s getting.

Third at the U.S. Classic in July and ninth at Nationals in August, the 18-year-old Mt. Laurel, N.J. native seems to have come from out of nowhere and should be on Martha Karolyi’s short list of gymnasts slated for international exposure. Except for a 12.85 on balance beam during prelims at the U.S. Championships, she could have been a contender to make the world team. (She got a 13.95 on day two.)

The South Jersey Courier Post ran a nice article on Hill a few days ago. According to the story, Hill not only trains, she spends her evenings coaching, something few elite gymnasts have time for.

“I love teaching little kids,” she said. “They are so determined and they look up to you.”

Gymnastics Coaching has it exactly right:

Darlene Hill would be a starter on the National Team for any country in the World — except the USA. She’ll have to stay healthy and be very consistent in training camps to be chosen for the Olympics.

Hill might just be the most underappreciated gymnast of the quad. Or she could turn out to be an Olympic sleeper.

Darlene Hill on Floor Exercise at the 2007 U.S. Championships (9.0 B panel score!):

(via Gymnastics Coaching)