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Gymnastics Notes: Riffanacht makes most of redemption

Published January 31, 2006 12:59 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rankings

1. Georgia 196.169

2. Utah 195.862

3. Alabama 195.587

4. Michigan 195.467

5. Florida 195.175

6. Oklahoma 195.050

7. Missouri 194.831

8. Nebraska 194.781

9. Iowa State 194.617

10. Arizona 194.575

11. UCLA 194.575

12. Arizona State 194.542

13. Stanford 194.475

14. LSU 194.425

15. Penn State 194.258

16. Denver 194.206

17. Auburn 194.056

18. Kentucky 193.837

19. Oregon State 193.725

20. Minnesota 193.567

21. Arkansas 192.387

22. Illinois-Chicago 192.281

23. New Hampshire 192.137

24. Michigan State 191.950

25. North Carolina 191.875

Utah senior gymnast Kristen Riffanacht waited two weeks for a chance to redeem herself after falling in her first appearance of the season.

When she finally got her opportunity, she made good, scoring a 9.725 on the floor and a 9.8 on the balance beam in Friday's win over Utah State and Southern Utah University.

Now, she's hoping she can maintain a spot in Utah's suddenly crowded lineup.

Riffanacht, who fell off the beam in her only other appearance, at Washington, earned consideration for another chance because she has had several good practices and has performed well in exhibition. Finding a spot for her was made a little easier when freshman Nina Kim came down with the flu and couldn't compete.

"I'm really pleased for her," Utah coach Greg Marsden said of Riffanacht. "She's been our captain for two years, and no one works harder in the gym. She was back to the Riffy that has done such a good job for us in previous years, looking confident and strong."

With Kim expected back this week when the Utes compete at Arizona State, Riffanacht likely will lose her spot on the beam. She could stay on the floor, although Gabi Onodi may go back to the leadoff spot. The senior competed in exhibition because she was trying a new floor pass.

For now, Riffanacht isn't too worried where she will fit in, feeling like she is finally over a preseason ankle injury and that first goof.

"When I relaxed and started training, it all just came back to me," she said.

No bouncing Baskett

Marsden doesn't solidify his lineups until the day before the meets, after he has seen who does well in practice, but it's unlikely he will take freshman Kristina Baskett out of the beam lineup. Baskett broke into the lineup last week after performing well in exhibition and scored a 9.725 en route to winning the all-around. She fell Friday, scoring a 9.25.

"She was a little flat, struggling in warmups and even the events she hit," Marsden said. "That was an example of a freshman. She was on such a high a week ago, and I think for her, she's just not used to it, that, 'That was great, but now I have another meet in a week.' "

Time for a remodel

Utah State coach Ray Corn conceded it might be time to simplify the Aggies' beam routines after he watched his team score just 47.5 on Friday. The high score was from Alex Martin, who earned a 9.625 as the first up. The Aggies had to count a fall, and several others lost bonuses and started below the 10.0 start value. Their high on the event is a 47.95 they earned in the season opener.

"We've been making some minor changes, but maybe it's time to make some wholesale changes, not with our big tricks, but the combinations," Corn said. "Maybe we need to bring them down a little bit and do some more things we can handle easier, even if we all start at a 9.9 value."

In the polls

Not much changed in the polls, with Utah remaining in second. . . . Arizona State, which plays host to Utah on Friday, scored a 195.175 in a win over Washington (191.525) and Seattle Pacific (190.225) and moved up a spot to No. 12. . . . Michigan, which plays host to Utah in two weeks, is ranked No. 4. . . . Individually, Nicolle Ford is fourth in the all-around, Ashley Postell is tied for eighth and Baskett is 10th. Baskett is ninth on the vault. Ford is third on the bars and tied for sixth on the beam. Postell is sixth on the floor and senior Gritt Hofmann is 10th on the beam. BYU's Alethea Boon is tied for eighth on the beam.