Boise State gymnastics sending two event specialists to NCAAs

Perkins (floor) and Morris (bars) hope to qualify for Sunday's event finals.

ccripe@idahostatesman.comApril 18, 2014 

Juniors Ciera Perkins and Kelsey Morris will compete in their favorite events Friday at the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

Perkins scored a 9.9 on floor and Morris hit a 9.95 on bars at the Seattle Regional to tie for first on those events and qualify for nationals.

"(Floor) is the one place where you can actually show your personality, and obviously you're just having fun out there pretty much the whole minute-30," Perkins said.

Perkins is tied for 19th in the nation on floor and has scored a season-high of 9.925. In Seattle, she tied for first with Nebraska's Emily Wong (the nation's No. 4 gymnast) and Alabama's Diandra Milliner (ranked No. 13 on floor).

Perkins likely will need a 9.95 to finish in the top four of the evening session on floor and advance to Sunday's finals.

"When she did her (first tumbling pass in Seattle), I heard people gasp, I really did, and some of them are gymnasts," Boise State co-coach Neil Resnick said.

"The thing is just a monster. It's so high and it's so big — even amongst the top gymnasts in the world, it's going to get everybody's attention."

Said Morris: "She is such an amazing athlete on all events, but floor especially. Her caliber of gymnastics is really going to stand out at nationals."

Morris was the Broncos' all-around rock this season — more consistent than flashy. But she found a groove on bars late in the season with a 9.95, a 9.925 and the 9.95 at regionals among her final five routines. She is ranked 44th in the nation in the event.

Morris also tied with Wong in Seattle.

"I love competing (on bars) and I love training it," Morris said. "I got really lucky I made it on that event because it's probably the most calm that I am in competition, so hopefully that will carry over into nationals."

Morris likely will need to land another 9.95 to advance to the final. She performs at that level about two out of three times in practice, Resnick said.

"She's worked so hard on this event," Perkins said. "You can definitely see it. She has shined."

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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