Sept. 25, 2017
DENVER – The University of Denver women’s gymnastics team welcomes alumna Jessica Lopez and former NCAA gymnast Desiree Palomares to the 2018 staff, head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart announced on Monday.
Lopez will serve as the team’s Volunteer Assistant Coach while Palomares joins as Volunteer Director of Operations.
“Our team and staff are excited to welcome Jessica and Desiree,” Kutcher-Rinehart said. “They fit into our philosophy of character, teamwork and excellence, and they add experience and knowledge. They complement our staff perfectly.”
A five-time All-American, Lopez competed for the Pioneers from 2006-09. During her time at DU, she won a total of 83 individual titles, which is second-most in program history. She has competed at three Olympic Games (2008, 2012, 2016) while representing Venezuela. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she finished sixth on bars as the first-ever Venezuelan gymnast to advance to an Olympic event final. She also finished seventh overall in the all-around, another record-high for Venezuela.
“After eight years and experiences away from the University of Denver, we’re thrilled to welcome Jessica back and provide her this opportunity,” Kutcher-Rinehart said. “We’re fortunate to have some of her caliber, worth ethic and passion for gymnastics on our staff. She’s demonstrated a willingness to learn, and she possesses all the necessary skills and technical expertise at the NCAA and Olympic levels. After competing at the highest levels, she understands performance under pressure and can share that knowledge with the team.”
Palomares is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she competed on vault, beam and floor for the Golden Bears. At the 2017 Fayetteville Regional, she won a share of the beam title, earning her a trip to the NCAA National Championships where she scored a 9.80. She competed on beam in every meet but one during her four-year career, hitting every routine during her junior and senior years. She is currently a graduate student enrolled at DU’s Sturm College of Law.
“Desiree brings the experience of a recent, successful and competitive Division I student-athlete,” Kutcher-Rinehart said. “She understands the organization and management necessary to thrive at the highest level. She’s detail-oriented and proactive, and she has a strong work ethic and a passion for gymnastics necessary for this position. She has already proven herself invaluable to our team.”
The Pioneers begin their 2018 season with the annual Crimson & Gold Intrasquad on December 16. DU’s full 2018 schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
SEASON TICKETS: Season tickets for the 2018 season can be purchased online. For all Denver Athletics ticket inquires, call 303-871-GOAL (4625), or visit DenverPioneers.com.
PIONEER MOVEMENT: Fans interested in making a donation to the gymnastics program can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
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