Eberle ends home career in style

U. senior wins vault, all-around and floor exercise titles

Published: Sunday, April 10 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

Utah's Annabeth Eberle performs on the bars in the NCAA gym regional. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News) Utah's Annabeth Eberle performs on the bars in the NCAA gym regional. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News)
Ute senior Annabeth Eberle was concentrating so much on her team's progress Saturday night in the NCAA North Central women's gymnastics regional at Utah that she never thought about how she was doing.
She wasn't even aware that she was performing her very last routines as a Ute on the Huntsman Center floor until associate head coach Megan Marsden told her as much after Eberle completed her final event, the vault.
"I didn't even realize it until Megan told me," said Eberle, who won the regional all-around, vault and floor titles.
In fact, they don't mean that much to her right now.
"Not really," she said.
All that matters is the NCAA Championships at Auburn April 21-23.
"I'm just more excited that we're moving on to nationals, really," Eberle said.
"I'm just excited for everything to come and trying to live in the moment for the last two weeks of my gymnastics.
"Sure, it's cool. It feels good, definitely, but it's not really individual right now."
Eberle started her night with 9.85 on bars and 9.85 on beam and finished with 9.95 on floor and 9.975 on vault to total 39.625 and beat out sophomore teammate Nicolle Ford (39.425).
Other than Minnesota's fourth-place Laura Johnson, teams from the state took the first eight spots in the all-around at the North Central.
BYU's Jaime Mabray was third at 39.275, followed by Johnson (39.15), fifth-place Cougar Marie-Helene Claveau (39.10), Utah's Rachel Tidd and Southern Utah's Leah Sakhitab (tied for sixth at 38.95) and BYU's Kacie Capra (eighth, 38.925).
"I'm pretty happy with it," Ford said of her runner-up spot. She had competed an upgraded bars and beam routines for the first time and said she feels more confident for nationals with the change.
Ford said she felt more nervous for Saturday's regional than she will for nationals because she wanted to make sure Utah qualified for the finals, and that was more on her mind than anything.
"I'm looking forward to nationals now," Ford said.
Mabray, a Cougar senior, was also thinking team-first. "It was exciting, but I couldn't have done it without the team," she said.
One of the best gymnasts in BYU history, Mabray and the Cougars have always had problems in the postseason. This is the first time she has ever made it to the NCAA championships.

E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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