Saturday, January 2, 2010



Every year we collegiate gym fans have to say goodbye to the seniors they have watched through their four years of NCAA gymnastics.  Most of these gymnasts have ripened, matured, and in many cases changed from tense, post-elite career gymnasts, to relaxed, happy, yet nonetheless hardworking gymnasts who are now ready to take the next step in their lives.

And this year was a huge one for goodbyes.  Many seniors, our dearly departed, have had to say goodbye to their college gymnastics career, and we have had to say goodbye to them.


I can think of no other gymnast who has had the incredible sporting and personal success that Courtney Kupets has had.  She had a terrific elite career.  She performed her way at Nationals to an automatic spot on the US 2004 Olympic team.  She fought through not one, but two ruptured achilles, considered another run at elite but wisely thought again, and had what has to be the most successful college career of any gymnast past, and probably any will again for a long time.  All the while doing so, she has studied for her design career, gotten great grades, looked like (if all those Dawgy dancing videos are any kind of testament to) she had a hell of a good time doing so. 
Watching Courtney compete was incredible in her last year, when the 10.0s came raining down and she competed routines that looked like their was no way in hell she was ever going to mess up.  Here was a girl who could, for the better part, compete beam as competently and thoroughly and with as little muss and fuss as brushing those pearly whites of hers takes.  Kupets has the kind of talent and steadiness- a steadiness that improved every year - that simply makes the mind boggle.  It is undeniable.  This girl has reached legend status.


Corey Hartung- It is hard to say goodbye to the fluid grace of Corey Hartung's gymnastics.  The Florida senior's liquid floor routine to the Blues for Kook score made famous by Silvia Mitova was a firm crowd favorite while her elegant beam was a stand out for her incredible flexibility and fragile strength.  Hartung was always a highlight of the Florida line up and her uncanny grace will be missed.

Ashleigh-Clare Kearney- who cannot award an honourable mention to the one gymnast who managed to wrest an individual apparatus trophy from Courtney Kupets?!! This phenomenal vaulter has been a force for the LSU team and it was wonderful to see her not only take the vault title, but share the floor exercise honours with Kupets.  Clare-Kearney was also rewarded with a 10.0 during a meet with North Carolina and was generally a shining light for LSU.

Kristina Baskett- it will be nigh on impossible not to miss the sunny Utah senior with the gorgeous smile and fabulous all-around capabilities.  Toward the end of the season, the steady Baskett was scoring at least three out of four of her routines with a 9.900 or above.  This lovely and confident gymnast will be a sad loss for Utah (as will Nina Kim, who narrowly missed out in this award).

Arianna Berlin- the gymnast Miss Val famously claimed she wished she had a whole team of.  This tough and talented senior had an impressive talent for pulling off rock steady AA performances week after week in the second half of the season.  Not only that, she impressed with her consistent bars and beam work but most particularly with her fun and crazy floor exercise where she showed off her talent for hip hop and choreography.


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