Two blue-chip recruits sign with U gymnastics

By and

The U gymnastics team assured itself of at least four more dominant years Tuesday when head coach Greg Marsden and assistant head coach Megan Marsden signed two of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country. Kristina Baskett of Normandy Park, Wash., and Nina Kim of Houston, Texas, are internationally renowned gymnasts who are both expected to be competitive at the championship level in their first year with the team.

Some of Baskett’s career exploits include three appearances in the USA Championships, a third place all-around finish at the 1999 American Challenge and a fifteenth place all-around finish at the 2001 U.S. Classic.

Baskett recently finished fourth on the vault at the 2004 U.S. Classic, thereby consummating her comeback from a broken foot suffered at the 2003 USA Championships.

“Kristina is one of the most powerful, yet artistic gymnasts in the country,” Greg Marsden said. “She is someone we’ve had our eye on for many years and was recruited by every major program. Kristina has not yet reached her full potential and will absolutely blossom in the collegiate gymnastics format. She will make an immediate impact on our team and I feel fortunate that she selected Utah.”

Kim has appeared more often on the world stage than her fellow signee, and has a few more impressive credentials under her belt. She has been on the USA National Team for four years and has plenty of podiums to justify her place on the squad of the nation’s elite gymnasts. She has all-around titles from the 2003 Podium Meet, and the 2002 Crystal D’Arc, which took place in France. Recently, Kim won the balance beam title at the 2004 American Classic.

Even when Kim isn’t winning in a field of international elites, she’s almost always in the thick of things. She has a sixth place finish at the 2002 USA Championships, a fifth at the Ukraine’s 2003 Golden Lilia, and a third at the 2004 FL Gymnastics Open in Luxembourg under her belt.

“Nina is a world-class gymnast and one of the best known and most highly recruited in our country,” Marsden said. “Her reputation and international experience will help Utah to remain competitive at the highest level. She should be an immediate challenger in the all-around as a freshman at the 2006 NCAA Championships.”

Last season, the Red Rock recruiting class was reputed as one of the nation’s best with Ashley Postell, Katie Kivisto and Jessica Duke all signing with the U. That trio of freshmen will have a chance to showcase their talents this year beginning in January, and is also expected to solidify an already outstanding Ute squad.

Led by the winningest coach in the history of college gymnastics, Greg Marsden, the Red Rocks will be a big draw in 2005, and, thanks to the two most recent recruits, again in 2006 as well.

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