Posts Tagged ‘Rhonda Faehn’

Florida inks Randy Stageberg

November 13, 2008

Many thought Shayla Worley, a Florida native, would be inclined to pick the University of Florida for her NCAA career. Nope, she went for Georgia.

Florida doesn’t seem too down, though — after all, it got Randy Stageberg to sign a letter of intent today.

Coach Rhonda Faehn on Stageberg:

“Randy is a tremendous athlete and person. She is the perfect all-around package and is known for her power and charismatic style. Randy has a wonderful talent for making the difficult skills she performs look easy. She’s been a Senior National team member on the elite circuit for many years so she is comfortable and familiar with competing under high pressure situations. She will make an immediate impact on all four events as a Gator.”

Stageberg may not be done on the international stage, either — according to Florida’s website, she is headed to Houston for a Karolyi camp.

Future NCAA floor champion? It could happen.

Randy Stageberg, 2008 U.S. Championships, Floor Exercise:

LSU, with a bullet

January 22, 2008

Georgia. Florida. Utah. Alabama. Stanford. UCLA.

Louisiana State?

LSU junior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney.The LSU Tigers have been making a strong statement so far this season that they belong in the Super Six. First it was at the highest opening meet score in school history, a 195.725 over Denver, Minnesota and Texas Woman’s at the Cancun Classic Jan. 4.

Then it swept Iowa at home and posted a 195.9 against Arkansas, moving in three weeks from being ranked no. 10 to no. 5.

Now, as it looks forward to Saturday’s meet at Georgia, LSU looks stronger than ever. Does that mean it actually has a chance at beating the SEC powerhouse Gym Dogs? Probably not. But with a good score, the surprise team of the season so far could surprise a bit more. 

The lynchpin of LSU’s pre-2007 success was LSU star April Burkholder, who delivered energetic performances and much of the team’s choreography. LSU has did not seem to have a performer who was been able to replace her last year, although Ashleigh Clare-Kearney nad Susan Jackson, a former training partner of Carly Patterson and Hollie Vise at WOGA, are both fairly strong.

As it happens, Clare-Kearney is this week’s SEC Gymnast of the Week.

Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, 2007 SEC Championships, Uneven Bars:

In addition, junior Clare-Kearney is currently ranked no. 1 in the nation in the all-around, tied with Florida’s Melanie Sinclair.

Can they keep it up? Could LSU, ranked 10th in preseason polls, break into the Super Six? Nothing is certain. Even Georgia has hardly exceeded expectations so far this season.

Also: New blog The Olympic Effect takes a closer look at Florida’s successes and shortcomings, suggesting the former is due to successful politicking by coach Rhonda Faehn. Faehn, of course, learned it during her elite days with Bela Karolyi, who is undoubtedly the greatest politicker in gymnastics history.

The Top 10:
1 Florida 196.975
2 Georgia 196.642
t3 Alabama 196.362
t3 Utah 196.362
5 LSU 195.725
6 Michigan 195.675
7 Oklahoma 195.583
8 UCLA 195.550
9 Stanford 195.375
10 Arkansas 195.275

Georgia opens 2008 campaign with loss to Utah

January 13, 2008

The top-ranked Georgia Gym Dogs lost their season-opener to third-ranked Utah at the University of Utah Friday night.

Georgia's Grace TaylorBut not by much. The final score was 196.3-196.2, Utah was at home, and Georgia was mostly without sophomore Grace Taylor, who competed uneven bars only, and senior Megan Dowlen. It’s likely that those two, particularly Taylor, would have made the difference in the meet.

Utah senior Ashley Postell, who clinched Utah’s win during her floor exercise in the final rotation (9.9), won the all-around, balance beam and floor. Ute standout Kristina Baskett was second and Georgia junior Tiffany Tolnay third, leaving Olympic silver and bronze medalist Courtney Kupets fourth.

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