No. 9 gymnastics earns program-best final ranking

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In a banner year for No. 9 DU gymnastics, the team finished with its highest-ever final national ranking after competing at the NCAA Championships on April 14 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Having been to four championships in program history, Denver’s 196.475 final score marked a school record on the championship stage. DU finished fifth in the six-team field, as the top three teams advanced to the Super Six.

Finishing third on bars with a team score of 49.3000, Denver’s highest scoring gymnast in the event was senior Julia Ross (Henderson, Nevada), whose 9.8875 landed her in a tie for fifth place.

Ross’s performance on the bars was the final routine of her career for the Pioneers, ending a spectacular run for the senior. Named a second-team All-American on the bars, Ross helped lead Denver to one of their most successful seasons of all-time.

“We’re so proud of our seniors. Julia had an outstanding meet, hitting four-for-four at nationals to finish a successful senior year where she competed in the all-around every meet,” said Head Coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart.

Competing in each of the meet’s events, Ross also recorded 9.8000 on vault, 9.7625 on beam and 9.8375 on floor. She scored a 39.2875 in the all-around, finishing 13th out of 19 ladies.

Freshman sensation Maddie Karr (Stillwater, Minnesota) scored a 39.4750, good for fourth at the semifinal. She finished in the top-10 on bars, vault and floor. Karr was also named a first-team All-American on the all-around and a second-team All-American on vault and bars.

Senior Rachel Fielitz (Walden, New York) posted a 9.7500 in her final performance on the vault.

Having a tough day on the bars, senior Leah Lomonte (Katy, Texas) mustered a 8.1125 in her last routine for DU.

Overall, it was a historic day in DU gymnastics history, as the team scored their highest championship marks ever in the bars, beam and floor.

“We plan to capitalize on this performance and build on it next year. This year solidified Denver Gymnastics as one of the nation’s elite teams. We have a strong group of athletes returning next year, and we have a tremendous freshman class coming in. The future is very bright,” Kutcher-Rinehart said.

DU will return nine of 12 gymnasts for the 2018 season, including the standout Karr, in hopes of building on their success this past year.

Braiden is a senior at the University of Denver and currently in his third year working in the sports section at The Clarion. Originally from Aurora, Colorado, he is studying Finance, Economics and Data Analytics in the Daniels College of Business. He is also involved on campus with the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and was previously a Resident Assistant. He enjoys rooting for the Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets, Marlins, Buffaloes and of course, the Pioneers. In his free time, as well as playing basketball and hockey.

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