February 2008

Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts20 Feb 2008 07:46 pm

Last Saturday the University of Washington played host to the Utah Utes in a dual meet and once again, my husband and I were there to catch the action. Here are my impressions of the competition, focusing mainly on Utah since I’ve blogged about UW in a previous post.

Annie DiLuzio of Utah


  • It was wonderful to see Gael Mackie (Canada) compete for Utah on Bars. I have always wanted to see more of this gymnast and she did not disappoint. Her set was clean and confidant. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
  • Also impressive on Bars (and elsewhere) was Daria Bijak. I don’t remember being all that impressed with her performances as an international elite for Germany but she certainly seems to be thriving on the collegiate level. She may not be as well known as teammates, Ashley Postell & Kristina Baskett, but she is an incredible asset to the Utes. They are lucky to have her. (more…)
Competitions and Gymnastics and Gymnasts and Top Ten02 Feb 2008 10:13 pm

My husband and four of our friends joined me last night to take in the UW vs UCLA meet at the Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus. We had some pho beforehand and then headed on over to catch the action. Here are the top ten things that stood out to me from the competition.

  1. Tasha Schwikert is just so fun to watch. There are really very few gymnasts like her. She has a presence on every event that is unmatched. On Floor she looks so comfortable and at ease engaging and making eye contact with the audience. Many collegiate gymnasts are good at selling their routines but Tasha Schwikert is in a class of her very own.
  2. A gymnast from UW (I unfortunately don’t recall her name right now) rocked a tucked double twisting back gainer off the side of the Beam. I don’t think I’ve seen one from a standstill before. My friends, Allise & Sage, who are not knowledgeable about gymnastics were particularly impressed with it. They referred to it as “the corkscrew.” While numerous collegiate gymnasts dismount with the laid out full-twisting gainer for a dismount, it was great to see something a little different.

    Anna Li of UCLA

  3. Anna Li of UCLA. Her work on Bars and Floor were outstanding. She has a sky high tkatchev and nailed her double layout dismount. On Floor, her choreography and music selection were delightful.
  4. Ashley Houghting performed a full-twisting pike jump on Beam that was beautiful. Houghting was the only UW gymnast to break into the top three on any event, taking second on both Vault & Floor.
  5. Niki Tom of UCLA performed a gorgeous full turn with her leg extended behind her in a raised stag position (think Lindsey Vanden Eykel). And she also performed an extremely high round-off double twist dismount.
  6. Another unnamed UW gymnast performed a beautiful jump double stag mount onto the end of the beam. It was exquisite. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. These are the kinds of mounts we need to see more of on the elite level. Rather than a tuck jump onto the Beam, why not a double stag? It’s not much more difficult but it is infinitely more aesthetic and artistic.
  7. Raimey Iselin of UW performed a round off full twist to prone on Floor. It was spectacular. Although I know some gymnastics enthusiasts are not fond of these skills, there certainly have crowd appeal. This one in particular was breathtaking. My friends loved it.
  8. Brittani McCullough of UCLA, who was strong and steady on all four events delivered a HUGE double back dismount off Beam. It’s nice to see a more difficult dismount amid the sea of front fulls, back fulls & gainer fulls. I’m looking forward to seeing more of McCullough. She shows tremendous promise in her first season (she redshirted last year).
  9. I was disappointed that Ariana Berlin was not part of UCLA’s line up on Floor. She is an incredible breakdancer and I always look forward to seeing her perform. Maybe at the Pac 10s.
  10. It was great to be at a competition where my non-gymnastics friends could understand and thoroughly enjoy the meet. This is one of the major reasons why NCAA gymnastics has such a strong fan base of “non-gymnastics” folks. I sure hope it stays that way.

I’m curious to hear what other folks thought of the meet. Were any of you there? What were your impressions? And if anyone knows the names of the two UW gymnasts mentioned above (numbers 2 & 6), please let me know.