The Ute gymnastics team received signed letters of intent from two international elite gymnasts for the 2006 season. Nina Kim of Houston, Texas, and Kristina Baskett of Normandy Park, Wash, were two of the most heavily recruited gymnasts in the nation this year.
Kim is a four-year USA National Team member with extensive international experience. She placed first on the balance beam at the 2004 American Classic and won the all-around at the 2003 Podium Meet and the 2002 Crystal D'Arc in France. She also earned top six finishes at the 2002 USA Gymnastics Championships (6th), the 2003 Golden Lilia in the Ukraine (5th) and the 2004 FL Gymnastics Open in Luxembourg (3rd). Kim is currently living near Dallas in Rowlett, Texas, where she trains at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy under coaches Evgeny Marchenko and Natasha Boyarskaya. She is the daughter of Jong Wook and Sanya Yun Kim.
"Nina is a world-class gymnast and one of the best known and most highly-recruited in our country," said Utah coach Greg Marsden. "Her reputation and international experience will help Utah to remain competitive at the highest level. She should be an immediate challenger in the all-around as a freshman at the 2006 NCAA Championships."Comment on this story
Baskett placed fourth on the vault at the 2004 U.S. Classic in her comeback from a fractured foot suffered at the 2003 USA Championships. She is a three-time USA Championships competitor, placing 18th in the all-around in 2002 and 24th in '01. Other impressive all-around finishes for Baskett came at the 1999 American Challenge, where she finished third and the 2001 U.S. Classic (15th). Baskett attends Mt. Rainier High School and trains at Puget Sound Gymnastics under coaches Brad Loan and Candyce Chittinden. She is the daughter of Randy and Jean Baskett.
"Kristina is one of the most powerful, yet artistic gymnasts in the country. She is someone we have had our eye on for many years who was recruited by every major program," said Utah coach Greg Marsden. "Kristina has not yet reached her full potential and will absolutely blossom in the collegiate gymnastics format. She will make an immediate impact on our team and I feel fortunate that she selected Utah."