Williams, Pomeroy Compete At NCAA Championships
April 15, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CA. - University of Illinois gymnasts Ashley Williams (Northport, Ala.) and Cara Pomeroy (Ottawa, Ontario) competed in the second session at the NCAA Championships Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Ca. - becoming the first UI gymnasts to do so in 17 years. Williams competed in the all-around, finishing tied for 19th in the session with a score of 38.450. Pomeroy, who advanced to the Championships by scoring a perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars at the South Central Regional, scored a 9.800 to finish tied for 28th on the bars during the evening session.
"Both young ladies had a good showing tonight," said UI Head Coach Bob Starkell of Williams and Pomeroy. "It's a shame because their weakest event today - the uneven bars - is normally the strongest event for each, but all-in-all the girls had a pretty good day."
Williams started off the evening with a 9.750 on vault in the first rotation. After a bye, the junior went to the uneven bars, where she had a clean set, but fell while trying to stick her dismount. Williams' score in bars was a 9.100, but she bounced back strong with a 9.775 on beam, which was good for a tie for 19th place, and finished up with her best performance of the night - a 9.825 on floor exercise.
Both Williams and Pomeroy rotated with host and top-ranked UCLA, who won the evening session with a team total of 197.675 to advance to Friday's Super Six Team Finals. Alabama and Utah also advanced to the finals from the second session. Alabama was second (197.325) and Utah was third (196.925). Florida, Stanford and Georgia advanced to the finals from Thursday's first session.
In addition to the two competing, several over Illini gymnasts paid their own way to come out to Los Angeles and support their teammates. Starkell feels that in addition to Pomeroy and Williams competing, the other girls coming out will only help an Illinois program that appears to be on the rise.
"Tonight all the girls - not just Ashley and Cara - were able to get a good look at the ultimate goal - the NCAA Championships," said Starkell. "They've seen it, and now they know where they need to go and what they need to do get the whole team to this point in the future."
The 2004 Championships continue on Friday with the Super Six Team finals at 7 p.m. (PT) and wrap-up on Saturday with the individual event finals at 7 p.m. (CT). The top four competitors on each event from each of Thursday's sessions (plus ties) will compete in Saturday's event finals.
*Advance to the Super Six Team Finals on Friday.