Junior Allison Buckley tied for third on vault to become Illinois' second ever first-team All-American.
April 22, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Junior Allison Buckley turned in just the second first-team All-America performance in school history, tying for third on vault with a 9.900 on Thursday's afternoon session of the NCAA Championships at Florida's Stephen O'Connell Center. The Schaumburg, Ill., native stuck a beautiful Yurchenko full to advance to Saturday night's event final and earned the second All-America accolade of her career, with the other being a second-team selection on beam in 2008.
"It is a huge honor to be among all of these elite gymnasts, so I am very excited," Buckley said. "I knew I had to stick my vault and was very happy when I did, but then I was pretty nervous while waiting out the rest of the competition to see if I would make finals."
Buckley competed as an event specialist on vault during rotation three along with LSU. After the final three rotations were completed, she remained among the top four in the event to join current junior Melissa Fernandez, who accomplished the feat last season on beam, as the only NCAA first-team All-American in school history. Buckley also is the only Illinois gymnast to be a two-time All-American.
"The potential has always been there for Allison," head coach Bob Starkell said. "Today, she knew she had to stick it if she wanted to move on (to Saturday) and sure enough she did. Allison has really developed into a strong competitor throughout her college career which now includes three straight trips to nationals and a pair of All-America honors."
Senior Sarah Schmidt also competed as an individual all-arounder on Thursday and totaled a 38.425 overall score. The Hartland, Wis., native rotated with Oklahoma and started with a 9.675 on vault. After a bye, Schmidt posted a solid effort on bars with a 9.825, which tied her for 15th in the session. A fall on beam resulted in a 9.075, but a stellar showing on floor tied her for 11th with a 9.850 in the final routine of the entire competition.
"Other than beam, Sarah had a very solid day," Starkell said. "She was just a hair short of advancing to the next day on her floor exercise, and had an excellent bars routine with just a slight mistake on her dismount. It is really tough to compete as an individual at this event, but both of our young ladies represented Illinois very well."
Schmidt, who earned second-team All-America honors on floor last season, missed All-America status on both bars and floor by just .025. Eight gymnasts recorded a 9.850 on bars to tie for seventh, while five gymnasts tied for sixth on floor with a 9.875 to pick up second-team All-America honors in the respective events. Gymnasts that place 1-4 (including ties) on each event in each of the day's sessions advance to event finals and are named first team All-Americans. Those that place 5-8 on each event in each session are named second team All-Americans.
UCLA turned in the top team score of the session with a 196.875 and advanced to Friday's Super Six Team Finals along with Utah (196.625) and Oklahoma (196.550). Nebraska (196.175) placed fourth at 196.175 followed by Oregon State (196.050) in fifth and LSU (196.025) in sixth.
Session 2 of the NCAA Championships will be completed on Thursday night to determine the final three teams that will advance to the Super Six. Buckley will compete for an NCAA title on vault in Saturday's event final, beginning at 6 p.m. ET. In the vault final, each individual will perform two separate vaults and the two scores will be averaged.
Illinois at the 2010 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships
April 22-24 // Gainesville, Fla.
Allison Buckley - Vault // Session I
Vault - 9.900 (t3) - 1st Team All-American and advances to event final
Sarah Schmidt - All-Around // Session I
*Vault - 9.675 (43)
Bars - 9.825 (t15)
Beam - 9.075 (42)
Floor - 9.850 (t11)
AA - 38.425 (15)
* Starting event