Top-Ranked UCLA Gymnasts Host Fifth Annual Bruin Classic

Feb. 26, 2001

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THIS WEEK - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (12-1) will attempt to win its fifth consecutive Bruin Classic team title when it hosts 15th-ranked California (10-8), UC Santa Barbara (2-11) and Utah State (4-5) on Sunday, Mar. 4. The meet will take place in Pauley Pavilion at 2:00 pm.

BRUIN CLASSIC HISTORY - Since the Classic began in 1997, UCLA has remained the only team to win the team title. The Bruins won last year with a meet-record 197.575. Tiffany Simpson of Washington was the first all-around champion in 1997, but it has been all UCLA ever since. Mohini Bhardwaj is the reigning all-around champion, as well as the reigning bars and beam champ. She set the meet records last season for the bars (9.975), beam (9.9) and all-around (39.725).

LAST YEAR'S CLASSIC - UCLA captured the team title in 2000 with a meet record 197.575, besting third-ranked Michigan. Three perfect 10s were recorded on vault, with UCLA's Lena Degteva and Heidi Moneymaker scoring back-to-back 10s, and Michigan's Sarah Cain ending the meet with a 10 of her own. UCLA swept the all-around, with Mohini Bhardwaj (39.725), Degteva (39.7) and Moneymaker (39.7) all breaking the 39.7 plateau.

TWO FORMER BRUINS RETURN TO WESTWOOD - Former Bruin stars Trina Tinti (1984-87) and Megan Fenton (1992-95) return to UCLA in a different role as head coaches for California and UC Santa Barbara, respectively. Fourth-year head coach Tinti was an All-American on floor for UCLA in 1984 and was awarded Most Outstanding Female Athlete honors by the university that year. Fenton was the first UCLA gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 on the uneven bars, which she did at the 1993 Pac-10 Championships, and was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection on that event. Fenton succeeded current UCLA assistant coach Randy Lane as head coach of the Gauchos. Both Tinti and Fenton started their collegiate coaching careers as assistant coaches at UCLA.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE COMPETITION - California enters the meet ranked 15th nationally and scored a school-record 196.075 in a loss to Stanford Feb. 18. Senior Pari Olver ranks 22nd nationally in the all-around and floor exercise. Utah State holds the No. 7 ranking in the North Central region. The Aggies, which are coached by Ray Corn, hold a season-high of 194.9 and compete at home against San Jose State Monday before heading out to Los Angeles. UC Santa Barbara holds a season-best 189.5, set Feb. 17.

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. Live stats and text commentary on UCLA routines will be provided.

BRUIN GYMNASTICS A PERFECT 10! - In just half of one season, the 2001 UCLA Bruins have already scored 12 perfect 10s, matching UCLA's combined all-time mark entering the year. Prior to the start of 2001, only 12 perfect 10s had ever been scored in UCLA history. In a little more than two months, the Bruins have equaled that number. Leading the wave of perfect 10s has been freshman Jamie Dantzscher, who has a school-record five (three on floor, two on bars). She has scored at least one perfect 10 in four of seven meets. Senior Mohini Bhardwaj is close behind with four 10.0s this year (three on floor, one on bars). Bhardwaj's first three floor routines of the season earned perfect 10s. Also earning perfect marks this year were sophomores Kristin Parker (floor, Jan. 19) and Onnie Willis (vault, Feb. 16) and freshman Kristen Maloney (beam, Feb. 16). Of UCLA's 12 perfect 10s this year, eight have come on the road.

UCLA ATOP NATIONAL RANKINGS - The Bruins maintain their No. 1 position in the national rankings with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 197.12. The Bruins are also ranked first nationally on bars (49.4) and floor (49.565) and are second on vault (49.175) and fourth on beam (49.06). The RQS is compiled by taking the top six scores, three of which must be away scores, dropping the high and averaging the remaining five marks. UCLA has been No. 1 all season, except for one week when an early reporting deadline precluded the Bruins from entering its Jan. 14 meet score of 196.825, which was the highest team score in the nation at the time.

DEPTH OF SQUAD DROPS MANY BRUINS OUT OF TOP 25 - One downside to having the kind of depth UCLA has can be seen in this week's national rankings. Because none of UCLA's gymnasts have had to compete in the all-around six times (no one has competed all-around more than four times), no Bruins are ranked in the all-around. When rankings were based on average score a week ago, five were ranked in the Top 25 nationally. A shortage of competitive meets has dropped Mohini Bhardwaj out of the rankings. The top all-around two weeks ago, Bhardwaj has not competed on any of the four events more than five times this year. Five Bruins remain ranked this week - Jamie Dantzscher, who is first on bars and floor, Yvonne Tousek, who holds the No. 2 spot on floor, Kristen Maloney, who ranks third on beam, Kristin Parker, who is fifth on vault and 17th on floor, and Doni Thompson, who ranks 15th on bars.

BRUINS HAVE NATION'S TOP MARKS - UCLA gymnasts have recorded the nation's highest individual and team scores this year. Individually, Mohini Bhardwaj has the nation's top all-around total this year with a 39.8. With perfect 10s, Onnie Willis (vault), Bhardwaj and Dantzscher (bars and floor), Kristen Maloney (beam), and Kristin Parker (floor) are tied for the highest marks on their respective events. As a team, UCLA has posted the nation's highest overall total (198.25), as well as the highest totals on vault (49.575), bars (49.75) and beam (49.7).

UCLA SETS SCHOOL, PAC-10 MARK AT OSU - UCLA finally broke the elusive 198 mark for the first time in school history, scoring a national-high and Pac-10 record 198.25 in a dual meet victory at Oregon State Feb. 16. The Bruins scored 49.5+ on vault, beam and floor to achieve their school record and received perfect 10s from Onnie Willis (vault), Kristen Maloney (beam) and Jamie Dantzscher (floor).

BRUINS BREAK BEAM RECORD - UCLA shattered the school record on the balance beam at Oregon State with an amazing 49.7 (out of 50) team total. Doni Thompson started the set with a 9.85, setting the stage for big marks from her teammates. Onnie Willis equaled Thompson's mark with a career-high tying 9.85. Kristin Parker and Yvonne Tousek followed with back-to-back career-high 9.95s (Parker earned a 10 from one judge). In the fifth spot, Kristen Maloney made history by becoming the first Bruin ever to score a perfect 10 on beam, and then Mohini Bhardwaj closed with a career-high 9.95 to give UCLA its 49.7.

WILLIS IMPROVES ALL-AROUND BEST - Sophomore Onnie Willis continues to post career-high numbers each week. A week after scoring a career-high 39.6 in the all-around to win the UCLA Invitational, Willis recorded a new career-high of 39.675 to claim her second consecutive all-around title at Oregon State. In that meet at Corvallis, Willis scored her first perfect 10 of the season and second of her career on the vault, and then nearly scored another 10 on the floor exercise with a career-high 9.975. Willis was selected as last week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week, the second such honor of her career.

BRUIN BYTES - Sophomore Malia Jones is expected to return to the lineup after missing two meets with tendonitis in her knee ...Mohini Bhardwaj had a streak of 38 consecutive hit routines snapped after sitting down her vault at Oregon State Feb. 16. To illustrate how impressive Bhardwaj's streak was, UCLA's longest active 'hit' streak is currently nine, held by Onnie Willis and Jamie Dantzscher ...Doni Thompson has hit 21 of 22 routines on the uneven bars in her career, a hit percentage of 95.5 ... Thompson is also 18-19 on beam for a 94.7% ... UCLA has not had to count a fall on floor in nearly two years, and its last sub-49 score on floor came in 1999 ... Bhardwaj has hit all 26 floor routines in her career ... Willis and Kristin Parker have each hit all 17 of their floor routines ... The Bruins' score of 49.575 on vault at Oregon State was the second-highest vault total in school history ... UCLA's floor score of 49.65 also ranked second..

UCLA TRAVELS TO MICHIGAN FOR OLYMPIC-SIZED DUAL MEET - All of the collegiate gymnasts from the 2000 U.S. Olympic team will be in action Mar. 9 when Bruins Jamie Dantzscher, Kristen Maloney and Alyssa Beckerman face Olympic teammate Elise Ray of seventh-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor. Following that meet, the Bruins will take on Michigan State in East Lansing on Mar. 11.

UCLA TO HOST NCAA WEST REGIONALS - The defending NCAA champion and top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional Women's Gymnastics Championship in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Apr. 7. The meet begins at 6:00 pm.

Teams from five other universities, plus six at-large individual all-around competitors, will compete for team and individual titles, and the top two teams from each of the six regionals around the country will qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Athens, GA Apr. 19-21. The five teams and six individual competitors competing at the regional will be determined based on rankings Mar. 26.

Tickets for the regional championships can be purchased at UCLA's Central Ticket Office, (310) UCLA-WIN. Reserved tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for youth. General admission prices are $6 for adults and $4 for youth.

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