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For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Mar00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Gymnast Surprises Coach By Getting Married
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 18Mar00 S2
By Jeff Metcalfe: The Arizona Republic

TEMPE, ARIZONA -- Married life is agreeing with the bubbly Christensen-Cowley, who is competing in the Pac-10 championships. Christensen married her high school boyfriend Jeremy Cowley on December 21, just 10 days before her 21st birthday and less than three weeks before the start of the season. "It was kind of funny to see the different reactions," she said. "A lot of people were a little bit hesitant."

Cowley returned one year ago from Ecuador, after serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He returned just in time to share in the 1999 nationals. The 22-year-old Colwley is working and attending Chandler-Gilbert Community College with plans to transfer to ASU.

"We could have just lived together for the next two years, but we both don't believe in that. We've known each other since we were 14 years old and we knew we're compatible, so we just said why not. Knowing this was going to be a hard season, I'd rather have the support when I come home."

Christensen began her career at BYU, but was chased home to Tempe by the cold. "We weren't sure if she really wanted to do gymnastics," said ASU Coach John Spini. "She really knew where her air sense was." When BYU released Christensen from her letter of intent, she did not have to sit out a transfer year. She became eligible in February, 1999.

Christensen showed her capabilities by being part of the late Stormy Eaton's Desert Devils elite teams. Her teammates included, Sandy Woolsey (who went on to Utah), Elisabeth Crandall (BYU), Juliet Bangerter (BYU), Kim Arnold (Georgia), Angie Leonard (Utah), Tiffany Simpson (Washington), Amber Erdos (Washington) and Amy Ringo (Nebraska).

Christensen-Cowley has set career highs on all of her events, 9.9 vaulting, 9.925 bars and 9.995 floor. Crediting her coach, Bruce McGehee, Christensen said, "He calmed me down and said you know how to do this." "Mainly my problem is I'm a powerhouse." "I would have to barely do anything, and I'd still miss the bars where most people go as hard as they can and barely make it," she said. "Now I've kind of figured it out and it's not so nerve-racking."


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