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Top gymnast takes U. scholarship offer

Jamie Deetscreek of Pennsylvania, a two-time Level 10 national all-around champion who made a recruiting visit to the University of the Utah last weekend, wasted no time saying "yes" when Ute gymnastics coach Greg Marsden called Monday night to offer her a scholarship.

"Yeah, I loved it when I was there," said Deetscreek by phone after she had contacted the Deseret Morning News to announce her verbal commitment to compete for Utah beginning in the 2007 season. She should start on campus in fall of 2006.

She will sign an NCAA letter-of-intent in November and still has the option to change her mind and go elsewhere. Michigan, Alabama and Arizona were other programs she considered.

"The team was great," Deetscreek said of her reasons for wanting to come to Utah.

"It's really beautiful there, and Utah has a legacy in gymnastics for, like, 30 years," Deetscreek said.

"I wasn't really worried about the distance too much. It will probably be hard the first couple of months," she added, but she wouldn't have been home that much if she'd gone to other schools, either.

She has lived in one home all her life, in Hatboro, Pa., just outside Philadelphia. Her father, Gary, is a country club golf pro, and her mother, Jean, is a pharmacist. She has a 16-year-old sister, Christina, who's also a gymnast, and her 13-year-old brother Michael plays basketball and football.

Though her mother enrolled her in a gymnastics class when she was 3 after seeing an ad in a newspaper — wanting to keep her daughter active — the Deetscreeks didn't push their children into sports. "I fell in love with gymnastics," says Deetscreek, who trains at Ricochet Gymnastics.

She was an L-10 national all-around champion in 2002 and 2004 and won beam and bars in 2004. She was seventh all-around in the Senior B group in 2005, finishing in the top 10 on vault and bars. In 2003, she had surgery for a dislocated elbow and chronic back pain, but Deetscreek reports those no longer bother her. "No, I'm good now," she said.

The Web site CollegeGymFans.com also reports that Chelsey Coleman of the Desert Devils in Mesa, Ariz., has orally committed to Utah.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com