Posts Tagged ‘Gael Mackie’

NCAA report

January 10, 2009

A few highlights:

Surprise, surprise, Georgia held off West Virginia, 195.425-194.075. Courtney Kupets was back to her old tricks, winning the all-around with a 39.45.

Alabama barely held off the surging Auburn Tigers, 195.675-195.650. (Auburn’s A.J. Mills won the all-around.)

Florida defeated Oklahoma 196.500-195.075 (UF’s Melanie Sinclair took the all-around title.)

LSU overcame a couple “slow” rotations to beat Iowa and Southeast Missouri State, 194.175-191.675-191.375. (LSU’s Susan Jackson won the all-around and had a 9.95 on vault.)

Utah barely held off UCLA, 196.175-196.075 after Ute seniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim fell on floor exercise. Junior Beth Rizzo also badly sprained an ankle on the event. Rizzo, who put in a solid two years for the Utes as a walk-on (she was denied a scholarship last year so Canadian Gael Mackie could join the team last year) has finally attained a scholarship.

UCLA was carried by its freshman; the Deseret News reports that 16 of its 24 routines were performed by frosh gymnasts, and only two were performed by upperclassmen.

The Bruins have also permanently lost senior Kristina Comforte, who retired after suffering a torn labrum in her shoulder. Also, Utah’s Stephanie Neff, a senior, has given up gymnastics due to back problems.

Utah’s Jamie Deetscreek, in her first meet as an all-arounder, won with a 39.1 to Baskett’s 39.05.

Little siblings — big potential

November 25, 2008

Family acts are fairly common in gymnastics. Parents tote all their kids, not just one, to the gym to wrench out energy at a young age, stuff like that.

Seems like good gymnastics runs in families too — one need only look to the Hamms (Betsy Hamm, Paul and Morgan’s older sister, was an NCAA Champion for the University of Florida during the late 90s) and the Roethlisbergers (John’s big sis Marie was a contender for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team) and a few others (the Khorkinas, Svetlana and Yulia, the Dantzchers, Jamie, Jalynne and Janelle, the Mackies, Gael and Charlotte, and on and on) for affirmation.

Here are a few new faces with “old” names poised to make a splash during the coming quad (although whether their splash will be as big as those their siblings have made is TBD).

Dasha’s sis Natalia Joura, International Level 10, Floor Exercise:

Chellsie’s sis Skyler Memmel, 2008 PKI Elite Qualifier, Balance Beam:

The incredible Nailia Mustafina, younger sister of up-and-coming Russian junior Aliya Mustafina, 2008 WOGA Classic, Balance Beam:

On the men’s side, there’s Glen Ishino, Allyse’s younger brother.

Glen Ishino practices parallel bars in the Cal Bears gym:

Missed anyone? Drop me a comment.

Bijak to Beijing

June 11, 2008

Utah's Daria Bijak is headed to Beijing.The Desert News, one of two outlets that covers the University of Utah gymnastics team thoroughly, is reporting that Utah sophomore Daria Bijak has been named to the German Olympic team.

Long time coming. Bijak missed the 2000 Games with an injury, and Germany did not qualify a full team in 2004.

Germany named four men’s athletes: Fabian Hambuchen, Philipp Boy, Marcel Nguyen and Eugen Spiridonov — and three women: German champion Oksana Chusovitina, Katya Abel and Marie-Sophie Hindermann. The Deseret News article does not name who the other two female Germans named to the team were.

Bijak joins other Ute Olympic team members like Cheryl Weatherstone (Great Britain 1984), Missy Marlowe (USA 1988) and current teammate Gael Mackie (Canada 2004).

Bijak, 16th all-around at this year’s NCAA Championships, is one of the few (if not the only) NCAA vaulters to do a handspring laid-out front.

Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Vault:

Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Floor Exercise:

Church, Mackie and Utah floor choreography

February 20, 2008

Gael MackieA couple weeks ago I blogged that neither Gael Mackie nor Shavahn Church had yet competed for their respective schools, Utah and UCLA. Both were feted as huge newcomers.

And they will be…maybe next season.

Church has a knee injury, but still managed to show off her great lines with an uneven bars exhibition when UCLA romped Cal 195.225 to 189.425 Sunday. (Thanks to reader Alisa for the link.)

Shavahn Church, 2008 UCLA vs. Cal, Uneven Bars:

Mackie finally competed on uneven bars when Utah came to Washington last Friday, earning a 9.775. Good friend Jaz was at the meet in Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus. She was impressed with the overall quality of Utah’s gymnastics, but found their floor choreography a bit lacking.

Hard to believe, given the sensational splashy routines Kristina Baskett competed in 2006 and 2007.

Kristina Baskett,  2006 NCAA Championships, Floor Exercise:

Kristina Baskett, 2007 NCAA Championships, Floor Exercise:

Rick at Gymnastics Coaching apparently felt the same way — at least about Utah’s acrobatics, when he attended the Utah-Arizona State meet a few weeks ago.

My only criticism of the Utes last night was their tumbling. Aside from [Ashley] Postell’s drop-from-the-sky triple twist, It’s not strong. The routines are clean and safe. But to me the Arizona girls were more dynamic and exciting tumblers.

Church, Mackie yet to compete for UCLA, Utah

February 6, 2008

UCLA and Utah made a big deal of getting freshmen Shavahn Church and Gael Mackie, respectively, a year earlier than originally planned.

Both arrived at their schools in the winter and began working out with their teams, but neither has had a score count yet.

Shavahn ChurchAfter standout 2003 and 2004 seasons as a U.S. junior Church, who holds dual citizenship with Great Britain, declared that she would compete for England in senior international competition. Which she did at the 2005 World Championships, 2006 European Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Injuries have slowed her down since then, and some saw her decision to come to UCLA a year earlier than planned as a way of throwing in the towel on her Olympic aspirations.

In her “Between the bars” online diary entry for Jan. 6, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos-Field reported that Church had not been cleared to train following arthroscopic surgery to “clean out her knee” in December.

Gael MackieMackie is uninjured, but the Utes’ lineup is really, really deep. The 2004 Canadian Olympian has competed an exhibition bar routine in two meets but has yet to be placed in the lineup. Utah coach Greg Marsden told The Salt Lake Tribune that Mackie needs to “relax and gain some confidence.”

Mackie herself sounds raring to go.

“I think about it all the time, how much I want to be in the lineup,” she said. “I came here to perform and stuff, so hopefully I’ll get to.”

Mackie to join Utes for 2008 season

December 7, 2007

The University of Utah women’s gymnastics team got an early Christmas present yesterday in the form of Canadian star Gael Mackie, who is set to join the team Dec. 26.

Soon-to-be-Ute Gael Mackie.

The Daily Utah Chronicle, the student newspaper at the University of Utah, reported yesterday that Utes coach Greg Marsden is “99.9 percent sure” Mackie will be in the Utah lineup for its home-opener against top rival Georgia Jan. 9.

There is one step yet to complete. Mackie and the Red Rocks are waiting for Mackie’s high school diploma to be awarded by the Ministry of Education and sent to the NCAA for approval.

The Ministry of Education represents an additional step to graduating high school in Canada that is not present in the United States. Canadian graduates must be approved by the government in the form of the Ministry, rather than by high schools, as is the case in America.

“We’re hoping that (her transcripts are approved) at the end of this week, next week at the latest,” Marsden said.

As soon as the NCAA announces Mackie’s eligibility, then “it’s just a matter of her getting a plane flight and being here,” Marsden said.

Mackie in top form might be just the thing Utah needs to give them the edge over Georgia. Then again, nobody expects Suzanne Yoculan’s Gym Dogs to just lie down.