Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gym Countdown: #18 Denver

2008-09 Season Recap

Denver's season
was really highlighted by the exceptional performance of senior Jessica Lopez. Not only was she the team's leader and top scorer but she was also amongst the top all arounders in the country.
The team had a couple of great wins early in the season versus Nebraska and Minnesota. They also built on their scores throughout the season and were really consistent by the end. In fact to close out the season their team score was the same (195.6) for their last three meets. Unfortunately the 195.6 at regionals meant they finished in fourth place at an extremely competitive meet and thus did not make it to nationals as a team. However Lopez and junior Kelley Hennigan both qualified as individuals for the all around. Hennigan, who seemed to get more and more consistent throughout the season, continued that trend at nationals posting a 39.2 and tying for a tenth place finish.
Lopez had her worst meet of the season, posting only a 38.550 all around however she did qualify for event finals on vault.

2010 Season Outlook

The number one concern I have for this team is quite obvious. Who is going to replace Lopez? While Hennigan was a model of consistency last season, Denver will lack the explosive scoring that Lopez provided. If Lopez were back for another season I would say Denver would have a shot at cracking into nationals. As it is they will probably have to settle for another consistent, if not earth shattering, season.
On the positive side, I have every reason to expect that the returning gymnasts will continue to improve as they did all last season. They should also have some nice senior leadership from Hennigan whom I expect to return to nationals as an individual qualifier and to again acquit herself nicely.
Last season Denver's low scoring events were bars and floor. Based on their returning gymnasts and taking a look at their recruits I don't expect them to make vast strides on these apparatuses. However they did prove last season that they were capable of cracking the all important 49 point mark on every event ( and not just on senior night). Will they be able to continue to do so without big scores from Lopez? I doubt it but anything is possible. Look for continued strength on vault where the Pioneers always seem to be at their best.

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