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Utah Gymnastics: 30 moments to remember

Published March 16, 2005 1:39 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

11976 - In response to Title IX, the University of Utah's P.E. Department hires Greg Marsden to coach a women's club gymnastics team. His salary is $1,500. The Utes finish 10th at

nationals.

21981 - Utah wins its first national championship, the AIAW title, finishing with a 145.65. UCLA was second with a 144.10. "The first one is always special," Marsden said. "We weren't expecting it."

31982 - Utah wins its second national title, and its first in the newly formed NCAA. Utah's margin of victory was one of the largest, with the Utes finishing 148.6 and Cal State Fullerton second with 144.15.

41982 - Sue Stednitz wins Utah's first all-around national title, scoring a 37.2. She also won the balance beam with an 18.7. Scores from both nights were averaged then. Teammate Christa Canary finished second in both events.

51983 - Utah wins another national title, and keeps its mark perfect at home in the postseason. "I remember being in the hallway before the meet, and Greg handed us a card," said Lisa Mitzel, a freshman on the team. "It said, 'Congratulations, you just won your third national title,' it was like we'd already won it. It made the meet seem effortless."

61984 - Utah spoils host UCLA's plans to finish first, earning a 186.05 to take the crown back home to Salt Lake City.

71984 - Megan McCunniff, now Marsden, retains her all-around title and also wins the vault title. Since 1982, only four others have won two or more all-around titles. The others are Alabama's Penney Hauschild (1985-86), Oklahoma's Kelly Garrison-Steves (1987-88), Kentucky's Jenny Hansen (1993-95), Georgia's Kim Arnold (1997-98).

81985 - With the championships in Salt Lake City, the Utes win their fifth in a row. "There was a black cloud over us all year, because we didn't have Megan [McCunniff] or Linda [Kardos] on the team and no one thought we could win without them. We wanted to prove them wrong," Marsden said.

91985 - Elaine Alfano wins the NCAA vault championship, her third, to become Utah's only three-time event winner. Georgia's Lucy Wener (uneven bars), Michigan's Beth Wymer (uneven bars) and UCLA's Kim Hamilton (floor) are the only other three-time event winners in NCAA

history.

101986 - For the first time, the NCAA Championships are held in the South, at Florida, but the result is the same, another Utah win. "We weren't supposed to win it," Marsden remembered. "Arizona State was the favorite, and they just fell

apart."

111987 - Utah's championship winning streak is finally broken by Georgia, which edges the Utes 187.9-187.55 in Salt Lake City.

121990 - After a three-year drought, Utah wins its seventh national title, this one coming at Oregon State. "No senior class had ever graduated without a national title, and that would have happened if we

hadn't won," Missy Marlowe said. "I'm glad we were able to keep that streak

alive."

131991 - Utah sets an NCAA attendance record for gymnastics drawing 15,238 fans to watch the Utes down Cal State Fullerton 193.95-186.8. "It was such an overwhelming feeling to look up and see there wasn't a seat available anywhere," Marlowe said.

141991 - Marlowe rewards the record-setting crowd that came to watch the Feb. 11 meet against Cal State Fullerton by scoring a 10.0 on the uneven bars, earning the first perfect score in Utah history. It was the first of three 10.0s she earned on the event that year. She scored six overall in her career, with the one on vault being her favorite.

"It was the only one I knew I had gotten before the score went up," she said. "I just nailed it, I didn't even look

back."

151991 - After Utah defeats Georgia 193.55-193.5 in Athens, Marsden and Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan get into a disagreement over the scoring. As a result, the two avoided scheduling one another until this year.

161991 - A team led by Marlowe, Shelly Schaerrer, Tracy Richard and Kristen Kenoyer, one of Utah's all-time best teams, falls short at the NCAA Championships, fin-

ishing second to host Alabama. Frustratingly, is a scoring mistake that left Marlowe in a tie for first with Alabama gymnast Gina Basile. Marlowe should have won the title outright, and Basile should have finished fourth.

171992 - Utah gymnast Aimee Trepanier was featured on a billboard in a pose from her floor routine, but it was so provocative to many, women's groups demanded it be brought down. Marsden made light of the situation months later at the Utah arts festival when he was carried in on a cart in a tutu in the same pose, while holding a placard with the festival's slogan, "What is art?" He also promoted the event on a billboard, in the same pose as Trepanier's.

181992 - Favored early on, Utah doesn't disappoint, winning its eighth crown at Minnesota by more than a point over second-place Georgia. Utah clinched the championship before its final rotation was even over, allowing Marlowe to perform the final floor routine under little pressure. "It was just a magical time," Marlowe said. "We were a show-stopper from the time the meet started until it ended."

191992 - Marlowe has one of the most dominating performances at the NCAA Championships, winning the uneven bars, balance beam, floor and all-around titles. The same year, she wins the Honda Broderick Cup given to the nation's best female athlete. Others up for the award that year were Mia Hamm, Dawn Staley and Lisa Fernandez.

201993 - Utah finishes 17-0 in the regular season, its only perfect regular season mark.

The Utes finish third at the NCAA Championships behind Georgia and Alabama.

211994 - Marsden pulled his team off the floor during a meet with Brigham Young after he got into an argument with a judge who penalized his team when he went out on the floor to get a better view of a card showing the level of difficulty. Utah lost, 194.125-125.80.

221994 - With its meet over, Utah needed a gymnast from Alabama to fall for it to win. Alabama cooperated, and Utah edged the Tide 196.4-196.35.

231995 - On March 25 against BYU, Suzanne Metz scored a 39.95 in the all-around to set a team record for all-around score, which still stands. Her scores were 9.975s on the balance beam and uneven bars, and 10.0s on the floor and vault.

241995 - Utah wins its ninth national title. Utah finished on a bye and didn't think it had a chance to win, until the three teams ahead of it fell apart, giving the Utes the crown.

251995 - Suzanne Metz completed her senior year hitting all of the 56 routines she performed, an NCAA record. Current Utah freshman Ashley Postell is threatening the mark, hitting 37 of 37 so far.

261999 - Utah was host to the NCAA Championships, but didn't make the cut for the Super Six. The Marsdens attended the Super Six, some of the gymnasts decided not to watch.

"We'd had some falls on the first two events, so we knew we weren't going to make it," Ashley Kever said. "It was just devastating."

271999 - Utah great Theresa Kulikowski finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when she won the all-around and balance beam as a freshman. She finished second on vault and floor, and was winning the floor until the last competitor, Bowling Green's Marny Oestrengn scored a 9.925.

282000 - Injuries were a problem for the team and the coaches. Gymnasts Shannon Bowles was out with a broken neck and Kulikowski was out with a torn ACL. Utah assistant Aki Hummel spent the last two meets of the year on crutches after breaking a leg in a skiing accident, then Marsden pulled his hamstring while the team was warming up at the NCAA Championships. Utah had to get an assistant from Denver to spot during the meet. Utah finished second to UCLA.

292003 - Utah's string of 170 dual home wins, an NCAA record, is broken by UCLA, which beats the Utes 197.225-196.75.

302004 - On March 19, the Utes scored a 198.6 against BYU, to set a school record for highest team score. That is an average of 9.93 per routine. Utah has scored above 198 only two other times, a 198.425 against BYU in 2002 and a 198.05 against Utah State in 2004.