Stanford Signs Three Outstanding Gymnasts to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 12, 2004

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford gymnastics is excited to announce the signing of three exceptional student-athletes for the class of 2009. 'I am very excited about this year's recruiting class and what they bring to Stanford University. They are a confident group and extremely charismatic competitors,' stated head coach Kristen Smyth. 'We will look to them to make immediate contributions to our program on every event. These three exceptional student-athletes bring a maturity and confidence well beyond their years. They have unbelievable chemistry and will be one of the closest and spirited classes in Stanford history.'

Kelly Fee is from St. Charles, Illinois and trains at the Illinois Institute with Todd Gardiner. Kelly is an international elite gymnast, and a member of the U.S. National team. She is currently ranked 15th in the country. Fee brings to The Farm an outstanding work ethic and exceptional intangibles that compliment her gymnastics ability. 'Kelly is excellent on four events but her specialties are vault and floor, where she is one of the best in the country,' says coach Smyth. 'Kelly is extremely athletic and powerful, and should have an immediate impact on Stanford Gymnastics.'

Nicole Ourada is from Germantown, Wisconsin and trains at LaFleur's Academy of gymnastics with Greg LaFleur. Nicole recently placed 6th in the all around at the Junior Olympic National Championships, where she also placed in the top three on vault, bars, and beam. As a former elite gymnast, Nicole has a very high skill level and valuable competitive experience. ' She will be a strong contributor on every event and can provide important depth for our program,' says coach Smyth. 'Nicole is extremely talented with untapped potential to improve in the college setting. She has beautiful body lines and great basics which have made her one of the top recruits in the country.'

Heather Purnell is from Metcalfe, Ontario and trains at the Ottawa Gymnastics Center with coaches Tobie Goreman and Lori Iurello. Purnell, an international elite gymnast, is a leading member of the senior Canadian National Team. She was second at the Canadian National Championships in June and was third at the Olympic Trials. She was the team captain for Canada's 2004 Olympic team that traveled to Athens, Greece this summer. Purnell has a wealth of international experience, including performances in the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, CA and the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo. 'Heather is terrific on all four events, and is among the best in the world on the vault and floor exercise,' says coach Smyth. 'She has great leadership skills and a personality that will be a tremendous asset to the team.'

Fresh off of the most successful season in program history, Stanford women's gymnastics has emerged as one of the nation's top collegiate programs. 'Each year we're trying to build towards a national championship,' added Smyth. 'Kelly, Nicole, and Heather will play a large role in our quest for that title. I would like to thank the staff and our student-athletes for putting their heart and soul into this year's recruiting effort. Each of these student-athletes had scholarship offers to the top universities in the country and we feel fortunate that they chose Stanford University.'

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