Atkinson Earns All-American Honors On Vault

April 22, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Arizona State junior gymnast Mary Atkinson became head coach John Spini's 27th All-American as she nailed her Yurchenko full at the 2010 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships held at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Competing as an individual all-arounder, Atkinson was the lone Sun Devil to reach this year's NCAA Championships. She tied for third during the day session to advance onto Friday's event finals and earn First-Team All-American honors.

Spini has now coached 27 of his athletes to earn 81 All-American honors. Atkinson is ASU's first First-Team All-American since Ashley Kelly in 2006.

'I'm really excited,' said Atkinson on the honor. 'The goal was to make the event finals on something and I'm glad it was vault.'

Atkinson finished up the day with a 38.5 in the all-around, one of her lower scores of the season. Her first event was the balance beam, which is well known as being the toughest event to begin a meet on. She fell on her series, causing an otherwise solid routine to drop to a 9.225. She moved onto floor, one of her most consistent events and a low landing prompted the judges to give her the second-lowest score she has received all season, a 9.650.

Atkinson regrouped and gave it her all on vault, knowing it was her best shot at making the event finals.

'It's the same vault I've done all year,' said Atkinson. 'I knew I was just as capable and competitive with the girls. I went all out.'

The judges awarded her a score of 9.9, putting Atkinson in a nine-way tie for third behind LSU's Susan Jackson and Oregon State's Mandi Rodriguez. Atkinson wrapped up the evening on bars, stumbling on the dismount to earn a 9.725.

She will compete for the vault national championship on Saturday during the event finals. The event finals will take place at 6 p.m. ET. Live Stats will be available at www.gatorzone.com.

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