Florida gymnastics team gets happy landing thanks to Rue


April 23, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Katie Rue had no idea where she would land when she started jumping off couches as a toddler.

So her mother and father, Rosie and Bill, decided to give her some guidance at a young age.

"They put me in a gymnastics school when I was 2 and I had no idea what I was doing until I was 7 years old," said the standout University of Florida freshman gymnast from Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills.

Rue and her Gators teammates landed in the 12-team NCAA championships last weekend at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion and advanced to the Super Six, where they finished fifth in the nation with a 196.80 score.

Rue turned in a 9.85 score on floor exercise during Super Six competition.

That effort came one day after Rue picked up second-team All-America honors for balance beam by tying for eighth place with a 9.80 score during qualifying competition.

"It was really exciting being part of the Super Six competition, but I wasn't surprised we made it," Rue said. "That's what I came to Florida for [fourth Super Six appearance in 12-year history of two-day format]."

Florida coach Rhonda Faehn called Rue "a natural."

Faehn was especially impressed this season when Rue made a smooth transition to the uneven bars in the NCAA South Central regional after competing all season in vault, beam and floor.

"She hit every routine in the regionals and all season," Faehn said.

This year, Rue turned in collegiate bests of 9.925 three times in the vault, 9.875 on bars, 9.925 on beam, 9.90 on floor and 39.425 in all-around.

The NCAA championships last week had a special family meaning for Rue, whose older sister Annie, also from Garrison Forest, competed in the Super Six for the University of Iowa.

Iowa finished sixth, with Annie, a junior, taking 21st in the all-around.

Brown going out strong

Ohio State senior Joel Brown (Woodlawn) continued to dominate the Big Ten outdoor 110-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash competition, winning both events recently with NCAA Mideast Regional qualifying times at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at the University of California.

The defending Big Ten 110-meter champion took that event at the Hamilton Invitational with a season-best 13.62 seconds, just .04 of a second shy of his school-record 13.58, which he set twice last season.

Brown captured the 200 meters in 20.99 and came back in the day's final event to anchor the 400-meter relay team that finished fourth with a season-best 41.52.

Et cetera

Junior catcher Sarah Costa (Atholton) had a stellar offensive week for the nation's No. 2 ranked Division II softball team, Shippensburg University (36-3), batting .615 on eight hits in 13 at-bats, hitting two home runs, driving in eight runs and scoring four. Costa is hitting .388, leads the team with 47 RBIs, and has four home runs and 15 doubles.

Methodist (N.C.) College freshman right-hander Steve Cornelius (River Hill) is 1-1 with one save, a 2.89 ERA and 18 strikeouts in seven appearances for the Monarchs (24-15 overall, 10-11 in the USA South Athletic Conference).

Senior Page Heath (C. Milton Wright) has moved up to second place on the all-time Shippensburg women's lacrosse career scoring list with 168 goals.

Two former St. Paul's School lacrosse players, Trey Helms and Tristan Colglazier, are members of the Wheaton (Mass.) College team. Helms, a freshman attackman, has scored eight goals and handed out eight assists. Colglazier, a freshman defenseman, has played in five games.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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