Ashley Kelly Wins National Title On Balance Beam, Becomes Four-Time All-American
April 17, 2004
Arizona State University sophomore Ashley Kelly won the national title on the balance beam in the 2004 NCAA Championship Individual Event Finals at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion Saturday in Los Angeles.
Kelly, from York, Pa., scored 9.95 in a scintillating routine to run away with the title. 'Ashley's aerial walkover was spectacular and her series was very nice,' said Sun Devil Head Coach John Spini. 'She crossed her legs a little bit on the dismount, but except for that, her routine was picture perfect. Ashley proved what we already knew, she is one of the nation's elite.'
Kelly becomes the ninth gymnast in Sun Devil history to win a national title (10 titles overall). She is the fourth to win a title on the balance beam. The last gymnast to win on beam for ASU was Elizabeth Reid in 1997.
Placing second with a 9.9125 was Alabama's Jeana Rice. Nebraska's Kristi Esposito and Michigan's Elise Ray tied for third (9.9). UCLA's Yvonne Tousek (9.875) was fifth while Stanford's Lindsey Wing and Michigan's Lindsey Bruck tied for sixth (9.85). April Burkholder of LSU was eighth (9.8375), Erinn Dooley of Florida was ninth (9.7875), Orley Szmuch of Florida was 10th (9.75), Samantha Lutz of Florida was 11th (9.7375) and Nicolle Ford of Utah was 12th (9.675).
Earlier in the day, Kelly was named a first-team all-American in two events (on the balance beam and in the all-around) and a second-team all-American in two events (on vault and in the floor exercise). Kelly became the first Sun Devil gymnast to win first-team all-American honors in two events since Elizabeth Reid and Wendy Ellsberry did it in 1999. Kelly is the first ASU gymnast to earn all-American accolades four times in one season since 1997 when Meagan Wright (AA, V, UB, BB, FX) accomplished the feat in all five events. In fact, only Wright (1997) and Kim Neal (AA, V, UB and FX) have fared as well or better than Kelly in the 29-year history of Sun Devil gymnastics.