#1 Bruin Gymnasts Host 24th Annual UCLA Invitational
Feb. 5, 2001
THIS WEEK - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team will attempt to win its 10th consecutive and 15th overall UCLA Invitational team title when it hosts Washington, Arizona and Cal State Fullerton Sunday, Feb. 11. The meet will take place in Pauley Pavilion at 2:00 pm.
UCLA INVITATIONAL HISTORY - This annual invitational began 24 years ago in 1977, with Cal State Fullerton claiming the first-ever team title. It wasn't until 1984 that UCLA won its first title, but the Bruins would go on to win 14 of the last 15 championships and the last nine in a row. UCLA's only loss since 1986 came to Oregon State in 1991. Fifteen all-around winners have been UCLA gymnasts, including the last four consecutive.
LAST YEAR'S INVITE - UCLA captured the team title in 2000 with a meet record 196.925, nearly three full points better than second-place Cal State Fullerton. UCLA's Onnie Willis scored the first 10.0 in the meet's 23-year history, recording a perfect score on the vault. She also tied for first place on floor with a 9.95. Malia Jones captured her Invitational title by winning the uneven bars with a 9.925. Lena Degteva won the all-around for the second consecutive year with a meet record 39.55.
A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION - Washington enters the week ranked sixth in the West Region. The Huskies' high score this year is 195.925. Stacy Wong is Washington's only nationally-ranked gymnast, checking in at 11th on uneven bars with a 9.887 average. Arizona, which ranks sixth in the South Central Region, set its season high this past weekend with a 195.175 score in upset victories over Oregon State and Denver. The Wildcats are led by All-American Randi Liljenquist, who ranks ninth nationally on floor (9.895 average) and 17th beam (9.840 average). Cal State Fullerton, ranked No. 5 in the West Region, scored its season high of 194.75 Sunday in a home victory over Cal. Kelly Mathiasen won the all-around with a personal-best 39.3 and also took first-place honors on beam and floor. She ranks sixth regionally in the all-around. Katie Antolin, older sister of UCLA freshman Jeanette Antolin, is the school record-holder on bars with a 9.95.
SISTER ACT 3 - Next Sunday's meet could be the last opportunity for the Antolin sisters of Huntington Beach, CA to compete against each other in 2001. In the last matchup between UCLA and Cal State Fullerton, Titan Katie Antolin won the individual matchup, outscoring younger sister Jeanette Antolin of UCLA on uneven bars. But Jeanette's team won the battle, placing first in the quadrangular meet.
FOLLOW UCLA HOME MEETS LIVE - Fans can follow all of UCLA's home meets live on the internet on UCLA's official athletics website, www.uclabruins.com. Providing live stats and text commentary on UCLA routines during next week's meet will be 2000 NCAA balance beam champion and two-time UCLA Invitational all-around champion Lena Degteva.
BRUIN GYMNASTICS A PERFECT 10! - UCLA gymnasts are rewriting the record books nearly every week, recording eight perfect 10s already this season. Entering the season, only 12 perfect 10s had ever been scored in UCLA history, and the 2001 Bruins are only four more 10.0s away from matching that all-time mark in just one year. Senior Mohini Bhardwaj has four 10s this year and now holds the school record for most 10s in a career, in a season and in a meet (two, set Jan. 28 on bars and floor). Freshman Jamie Dantzscher has also scored two 10s in one meet, doing so on bars and floor in her first collegiate meet at the Maui Invitational. Dantzscher scored another 10 on floor with a different routine Jan. 19 at Stanford. Sophomore Kristin Parker recorded her first 10 on floor at Stanford as well. One other Bruin has scored a perfect 10 in her career, Onnie Willis on vault a year ago.
BRUINS ATOP NATIONAL RANKINGS - UCLA maintains the No. 1 position in the national rankings with a team average of 196.825. UCLA has been No. 1 all season, except for one week when an early reporting deadline precluded UCLA from entering its Jan. 14 meet score of 196.825, which was the highest team score in the nation at the time. The Bruins also rank first nationally on bars (49.412 average) and floor (49.479) and are third on beam (48.929) and fourth on vault (49.004).
FLOORING THE JUDGES - The Bruins set a new school record Jan. 28 on the floor exercise, tallying a team total of 49.675. UCLA had scores of 9.925 or better from Onnie Willis (9.925), Kristen Maloney (9.95), Yvonne Tousek (9.925) and Mohini Bhardwaj (10.0). UCLA is ranked first nationally on this event and has scored 49.6 or higher on three occasions this year. Six athletes are ranked in the Top 25 nationally on this event, including four in the Top 10 - No. 1 Bhardwaj (10.0 average), No. 2 Maloney (9.937), No. 4 Tousek (9.925), No. 5 Jamie Dantzscher (9.919), No. 14 Kristin Parker (9.883) and No. 19 Jeanette Antolin (9.875).
UCLA SETS BAR HIGH - The Bruins are also ranked first nationally on the uneven bars with a 49.412 average. Remarkably, seven Bruins rank amongst the Top 25 nationally - only six athletes are allowed to compete on one apparatus during a meet. Jamie Dantzscher leads the Bruins and the nation on bars with a 9.969 average. She has not scored lower than 9.95 this year. Also in the Top 10 are fifth-ranked Yvonne Tousek (9.908) and sixth-ranked and defending NCAA bars champ Mohini Bhardwaj (9.906). Onnie Willis checks in at No. 12 (9.875), followed by No. 16 Doni Thompson (9.871), No. 22 Kristin Parker (9.860) and No. 25 Kristen Maloney (9.856). The Bruins set a new school record on bars at the season opener with a 49.75 and nearly duplicated that mark in their last meet, scoring a 49.7. UCLA has scored 49.55 or higher three times this year.
BHARDWAJ SETS SCHOOL AA RECORD - Senior Mohini Bhardwaj set a new school record in the all-around Jan. 28, scoring a 39.8. Two perfect 10s, on bars and floor, helped her attain the nation's highest score of the year. The Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week and UCLABruins.com Student-Athlete of the Week the last two weeks is ranked first nationally in the all-around and floor, fifth on vault and sixth on bars.
Very few collegiate or even elite gymnasts can match Bhardwaj's skill difficulty, let alone her precision on those difficult skills. On vault, she became the first collegiate gymnast ever to complete a double-twisting Yurchenko layout. On bars, she dismounts with a full-twisting double layout. On beam, she is the only collegiate gymnast competing a backhandspring to three consecutive layouts. On floor, her first tumbling pass is a double layout, and her second is a full-in.
Also hard to match is Bhardwaj's consistency. She has hit all 14 routines this year and has hit 37 consecutive routines, dating back to last season.
PARKER FLIRTS WITH PERFECTION, SETS NEW CAREER AA MARK - Sophomore All-American Kristin Parker nearly matched Bhardwaj perfect 10 for perfect 10 in UCLA's last meet Jan. 28. Parker, who has now hit 17 consecutive routines, earned a 10 from one judge on bars but had to settle for a career-best 9.975 score. She also received a 10 from one judge on beam, but her average came out to 9.925, another career high. Parker ended the afternoon with a career-best 39.675, the third-highest all-around score in the nation this year, behind only Bhardwaj's 39.8 and 39.725. Parker's score puts her in fifth place in the UCLA record books for all-around scorers.
BECKERMAN HAS EVENTFUL WEEK - Freshman Alyssa Beckerman pulled double-duty two weekends ago, competing at Arizona State Jan. 26 and then singing the national anthem at the Bruins' home meet Jan. 28. Beckerman, the 2000 U.S. balance beam champion, scored a collegiate-best 9.875 to tie for second at Arizona State.
BRUINS SURROUNDED BY NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - If any one team in the nation knows what it takes to win, it is UCLA. Not only have nine Bruins won an NCAA team title, but many have won national championships for their respective countries. Included amongst UCLA's national champions are: Kristen Maloney (1998, 1999 U.S. all-around and 2000 vault and floor champ), Yvonne Tousek (2000 Canadian all-around, bars and floor champ, 1999 floor and vault champ), Jamie Dantzscher (1999 U.S. bars champ), Alyssa Beckerman (2000 U.S. beam champ) and Doni Thompson (1995 U.S. beam champ), not to mention defending NCAA bars champion Mohini Bhardwaj.
HEAD COACH VALORIE KONDOS FIELD - In her 11th season as head coach of the Bruins, Valorie Kondos Field has positioned her team as the premier program in collegiate gymnastics. Not only has she consistently recruited the top talent in the world, but she has produced the results. In the past five years alone, Kondos Field has led UCLA to two NCAA titles and one runner-up finish, four Regional titles and three Pac-10 Championships. She has been voted the national coach of the year by her peers three times in the past five years.
DEAR DIARY - Head coach Valorie Kondos Field will share her thoughts with readers in an online diary published by CNNSI.com. Kondos Field's diaries will run on Wednesdays.
BRUINS SIGN ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE RECRUITING CLASS - Following two straight top-notch recruiting classes, that saw the likes of Doni Thompson, Kristen Maloney and Jamie Dantzscher come to Westwood, head coach Valorie Kondos Field has signed another stellar class for the 2002 season. Set to join the Bruins next year are 2000 Canadian Olympian Michelle Conway and Level 10 standout Christie Tedmon.Conway, who trains at Sport Seneca, had a 13th-place finish on floor at the Olympic Games. At the 2000 Canadian Championships, she placed third in the all-around, vault and beam, second on floor and fourth on bars. In 1999, she led her team to a gold medal at the Pan American Games and became the first Canadian woman in 20 years to win a Pan Am Games individual medal in the all-around when she captured the silver. Conway also competed at the 1999 World Championships.
Tedmon is a former international elite gymnast from Pozsar's Gymnastics. In 2000, she won a silver medal on floor at the Level 10 Nationals and was third in the all-around and vault and second on beam at the Region 1 Championships. Competing as an international elite, she qualified for the 1998 American Classic and placed first in the all-around, vault, beam and floor at the Region 1 Zone Championships. Tedmon competed at three Level 10 Nationals and won two regional vault titles in 1996 and 1997, as well as a regional floor title in 1997.