2004 Women's Gymnastics Season Wrapup
April 19, 2004
Six Big Ten student-athletes earn All-America laurels
Michigan's Elise Ray became just the second women's gymnast in Big Ten history to claim three individual national titles in her career as the Wolverines junior placed first on the uneven bars at the 2004 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships. In the team competition, Iowa and Michigan qualified for the 12-team field but did not advance out of Thursday's qualifying session. The Wolverines score of 196.500 ranked eighth among all squads and marked the program's 12th consecutive top-10 finish, highlighted by a second-place showing in 1999. The 2004 NCAA Championships were held from April 15-17 at the Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, Calif.
Ray posted a near-perfect score of 9.975 on the uneven bars to bring her third national crown back to Ann Arbor. She tied for the NCAA all-around title as a freshman in 2001 and was victorious on the balance beam in 2002 before sitting out 2003 due to injury. She joins fellow-Wolverine Beth Wymer (uneven bars, 1993-95) as the only three-time national champion in League annals. Ray earned First Team All-America accolades in three events, the all-around, balance beam and uneven bars, and was joined by five other Big Ten All-America honorees. Michigan's Lindsey Bruck was tabbed a First Team All-American on the balance beam while teammate Jenny Deily garnered Second Team laurels on the vault. Iowa's Alexis Maday, the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, was named a First Team All-American on the floor exercise while fellow-Hawkeye Stephanie Gran was a Second Team choice in the same event. Penn State's Lisa Clark collected Second Team honors in the vault. The top four finishers on each apparatus in Thursday's sessions earned First Team All-America status while competitors finishing fifth through eighth garnered Second Team honors.
Overall, the Big Ten has recorded seven top-10 team finishes in the last five years of the NCAA Championships. For the third straight season, two Big Ten programs earned a spot in the 12-team field of the 2004 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, as both Iowa (North Central Region) and Michigan (Northeast Region) placed second in their respective regionals. The Wolverines, who earned a sixth straight Big Ten Championship on March 20, collected their 12th straight berth in the NCAA Championships and 13th appearance overall to lead all League schools. The Hawkeyes advanced to the NCAA Championships for just the second time in school history after the program made its first showing the previous season. Six of the seven Big Ten women's gymnastics schools were awarded bids to the 2004 NCAA Regional Championships this season, as every team was represented by at least one competitor.
2004 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships Results