Red Rocks rack up All-American awards

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The 2009 gymnastics season came to a conclusion for the Red Rocks on Saturday night.

The memorable season was capped off by the individual event championships, where Utah was represented in each event. Junior Daria Bijak competed for Utah on floor while senior Kristina Baskett performed for the last time as a Red Rock on the bars, beam and vault.

Bijak finished the night alone in fifth place on the floor with a 9.875. The junior qualified to compete in Saturday night’s competition by scoring a 9.9 on Thursday and followed that up with another 9.9 on Friday.

Georgia senior Courtney Kupets won the championship on the floor, scoring a 9.950. The only event Kupets didn’t win was vault, where she finished third with a score of 9.853.
Baskett, who competed in every event but floor, finished third in every event. She finished the night with two scores of 9.9, which came on the bars and the beam. The senior scored a 9.853 on the vault, which tied her with Kupets on the event.

Unlike regular vault competition, each gymnast must perform two different vaults in individual finals and the scores are averaged. The 9.8536 was Baskett’s lowest vault score of the weekend; she hit back-to-back 9.950s on Thursday and Friday night.

Bijak and Baskett were two of four Red Rocks who received All-American honors. Bijak was named to the first team on the floor exercise, and make the second team in the all-around and beam and vault. Baskett earned five All-American honors, including first team honors in the all-around, beam, vault and bars.

The senior also qualified as a finalist for the Honda Sports Award, which is given to the top female gymnast in the country. Alongside Baskett as finalists are Kupets, Ashleigh Clare-Kearney of LSU and Jessica López of Denver.

Senior Nina Kim and junior Jamie Deetscreek also received All-American honors. Deetscreek made the second team on the bars, while Kim received second team honors in the all-around and the vault.

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Nina Kim dismounts from the balance beam as her teammates watch during nationals in Lincoln, Neb. The Utes started slow on the beam with a score of 49.175, one of their lowest scores of the season.