Georgia gymnast sets career highs at NCAA championship
BY CHARLES ODUM Associated Press
Monday, April 23, 2012
4/23/12 at 5:25 AM
DULUTH, Ga. - Kat Ding waited most of her career to prove she could be more than an uneven bars specialist.
The Georgia senior proved her point in the final routine of her college career.
Ding defended her NCAA women's gymnastics championship on the uneven bars before adding another title on the floor exercise Sunday.
Ding set career highs in each event. It was only the 11th floor exercise competition of her career, due to injuries and her difficulty on the event.
"In all honesty, floor has been pretty much one of the hardest events for me," Ding said. "It finally came around this year."
Ding ruptured a tendon in her foot at the end of her sophomore season and had a stress reaction in her femur last year. Each injury helped limit Ding to working on the bars.
"My body is finally pretty much healthy," she said. "All the pieces came together for once. I'm just thankful it came together today."
Ding almost achieved perfection on the uneven bars.
Four of six judges awarded Ding perfect 10s. She drew 9.95s from the other two judges, and her winning average was 9.9875. She won the floor exercise with a score of 9.950. She also finished third on the vault.
Alabama, which won its second straight team championship Saturday, added an individual title when Geralen Stack-Eaton won the balance beam with a 9.9375 score.
Oklahoma's Megan Ferguson was second on the balance beam with her 9.9250. Arizona's Katie Matusik (9.8875) was third. OU's Sara Stone finished in seventh place with a score of 9.85.
Oklahoma's Brie Olson finished in fourth place on the bars with a 9.875. Stanford's Sami Shapiro was second with a score of 9.9, and UCLA's Olivia Courtney for third at 9.8875.
Florida's Kytra Hunter won the vault with a 9.875, and Alabama's Diandra Milliner (9.825) was second. Hunter won the all-around championship Friday night, edging Ding.
Oklahoma's Ferguson also placed ninth in the floor exercise.
It was a sweep for the Southeastern Conference in the individual and team competitions. Alabama edged Florida in Saturday's team final. Each of Sunday's four individual championships went to the conference.
Georgia coach Jay Clark noted the top seven individual all-around scores, led by Hunter, were from the SEC.
Original Print Headline: Ga. gymnast sets career high
Oklahoma's Megan Ferguson competes on the balance beam during the NCAA women's individual gymnastics championships Sunday in Duluth, Ga. JOHN BAZEMORE / Associated Press