NO. 1 UCLA Heads To Seattle To Defend Pac-10 Gymnastics Title

March 19, 2001

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THIS WEEK - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (18-1) will travel to Seattle, WA for the Pac-10 Conference Championship. The meet will take place at Bank of America Arena at the University of Washington on Saturday, Mar. 24 at 6:00 pm. The Bruins have won the last two Pac-10 titles and nine championships overall.

ROTATION ORDER -UCLA begins the meet on the bye before bars and ends on vault.

TV - Fox Sports Net will televise the meet on a tape-delayed basis. It will be aired Saturday, Mar. 31 on Fox Sports West at 5:00 pm. Check your local listings for other broadcast dates and times.

PAC-10 HISTORY - With nine Pac-10 titles (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000), UCLA has won the most conference championships. Oregon State (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996) and Stanford (1998) are the only other teams to win the title. Bruins dominate in the individual championships as well, with a conference-best 40 individual champions. The Bruins have been especially dominant in the all-around. The last four Pac-10 all-around champions have been Bruins - Mohini Bhardwaj in 2000, Heidi Moneymaker in 1999, Stella Umeh in 1998 and Leah Homma in 1997. UCLA has won seven of the last eight all-around titles and 10 overall. The Bruins also have a three-year win streak on the vault, with Bhardwaj winning in 2000, Moneymaker in 1999 and Lena Degteva in 1998. UCLA gymnasts have won 10 titles on bars, eight on floor and six each on vault and beam.

BHARDWAJ RETURNS AS DEFENDING AA, V, FX CHAMP - Senior Mohini Bhardwaj will attempt to defend her Pac-10 crowns in the all-around, vault and floor. She is the only returning champion in the meet.

WASHINGTON NATIVES RETURN HOME - Three Bruin sophomores will return to their home state of Washington to compete at the Pac-10 Championships - Tacoma's Onnie Willis (Wilson HS), Olympia's Doni Thompson (Capital HS) and Seattle's own Carly Raab (Seattle Prep). As a gymnast at Puget Sound Gymnastics, Willis was the 1998 Level 10 all-around, vault and beam champion and a member of the 1996 U.S. Junior National Team. She also made a name for herself outside of gymnastics, winning the high school state triple jump championship in 1999. Thompson made her return to gymnastics at Black Hills Gymnastics after a three-year hiatus. While training in Colorado Springs, she was a four-year member of the U.S. National Team and a bronze medalist at the 1995 World Championships. Raab trained at Cascade Elite Gymnastics under current Washington Husky assistant coach Frank Lee. There, she was a member of the 1998 Level 10 national team champion and earned a Top 10 finish in the all-around and bars. Willis, Thompson and Raab have been very successful as Bruins, winning the NCAA title in 2000. Willis, a three-time All-American, has scored three career perfect 10s, including two this year, and has won four of five all-around competitions, beating the likes of 2000 U.S. Olympians Elise Ray and Jamie Dantzscher. Thompson has one all-around win this year and has recorded career-bests on all four events (9.85 on vault, 9.95 on bars, 9.875 on beam and 9.875 on floor). Raab, who sat out last season with an ACL injury, has competed on bars three times this year, with a high of 9.75 and an average of 9.7.

THE CONFERENCE OF CHAMPIONS - One look at the national rankings is all that is needed to see that the Pac-10 Conference is the toughest in the nation. All seven teams in the conference are ranked in the Top 25 nationally, with UCLA No. 1, Stanford No. 6, Arizona State No. 8, Oregon State No. 13, Washington No. 16, Arizona No. 24 and Cal No. 25. No other conference has every team ranked in the Top 25. The individual rankings have a distinct Pac-10 flavor to it, as there are six Pac-10 gymnasts ranked in the all-around, four on vault, eight on bars, five on beam and eight on floor. On bars, the Pac-10 ranks 1-2-3, with UCLA's Jamie Dantzscher and Mohini Bhardwaj ranked first and second, respectively, and Arizona State's Laura Moon ranked third.

CONFERENCE AWARDS TO BE HANDED OUT - Conference awards for Gymnast of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will be handed out at the conclusion of the meet. Last season, UCLA swept the three awards, with Heidi Moneymaker earning Gymnast of the Year honors, Doni Thompson winning Freshman of the Year, and Valorie Kondos earning her second Coach of the Year honor. A UCLA athlete has won Gymnast of the Year honors four consecutive years (Moneymaker in 2000, Kiralee Hayashi in 1999, Stella Umeh in 1998 and Leah Homma in 1997). In all, Bruins have won this award nine times in 14 years. Freshman of the Year honors were awarded for the first time in 2000.

BHARDWAJ SHATTERS SCHOOL ALL-AROUND RECORD - Senior Mohini Bhardwaj made her final regular season home performance one to remember Mar. 18, scoring a school-record 39.975 in the all-around. Bhardwaj was .025 away from all-around perfection, scoring a career-high 9.975 on vault and three straight 10s on bars, beam and floor. Her mark was the second-highest in NCAA history, topped only by Georgia's Karin Lichey, who scored a perfect 40 in 1996.

UCLA GYMNASTICS A PERFECT 10! - The 2001 UCLA Bruins have scored 19 perfect 10s this season, seven more than UCLA's all-time mark entering the year. Prior to the start of 2001, only 12 perfect 10s had ever been scored in UCLA history. In just three months, the Bruins have surpassed that number and then some. Leading the wave of perfect 10s has been Mohini Bhardwaj, who has a school-record and Pac-10 record-tying eight (three on bars, one on beam and four on floor). 2000 U.S. Olympian Jamie Dantzscher has the school and Pac-10 freshman mark with six (four on floor, two on bars) and is believed to be the first gymnast in NCAA history to record a 10 on her first-ever routine (she competed only on bars and floor at the Maui Invitational and scored 10s on both routines). Also earning perfect marks this year were sophomores Kristin Parker (floor, Jan. 19) and Onnie Willis (vault, Feb. 16, floor, Mar. 4) and freshman Kristen Maloney (beam, Feb. 16, floor, Mar. 4). Of UCLA's 19 perfect 10s this year, almost half (nine) have come on the road. In addition, a Bruin has scored a perfect 10 in 75% of UCLA's meets (9-12).

UCLA ATOP NATIONAL RANKINGS - The Bruins maintain their No. 1 position in the national rankings with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 197.465. The Bruins are also ranked first nationally on bars (49.575) and floor (49.605) and are second on vault (49.320) and third on beam (49.245). 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.

Individually, seven Bruins are ranked this week - Jamie Dantzscher, who is first on bars and floor, Mohini Bhardwaj, who ranks second on bars, Kristen Maloney, who is third on beam, Yvonne Tousek, who holds the No. 4 spot on beam and the No. 11 spot on floor, Kristin Parker, who is sixth on vault and 19th on floor, Onnie Willis, who moves up to 11th on vault and 13th on floor, and Doni Thompson, who holds the No. 20 ranking 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 39.975. UCLA's five perfect 10 scorers have the nation's top 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), beam (49.7) and floor (49.85).

BRUINS EDGE GEORGIA BY ONE-TENTH - The Bruins survived a scare from fifth-ranked Georgia, edging the Gym Dogs, 197.475-197.375 at home Mar. 18. Georgia led by a quarter of a point heading into the last rotation, but the Bruins came from behind to win it on the floor exercise. After Kristen Maloney scored a 9.925, Onnie Willis and Jamie Dantzscher followed with a pair of 9.975s. Needing a 9.925 or higher to win, Mohini Bhardwaj recorded her third perfect 10 of the meet to clinch the victory.

ANTOLIN UPGRADE GIVES UCLA EIGHT 10.0 VAULTERS - With freshman Jeanette Antolin recently upgrading her 9.9-start value vault (Yurchenko layout full) to a 10.0-start value Yurchenko half front layout, the Bruins now have eight athletes who can compete 10.0-value vaults - Antolin, Yvonne Tousek and Onnie Willis (Yurchenko half front layout), Kristin Parker (handspring front pike and handspring front layout), Kristen Maloney (Yurchenko 1 1/2), Jamie Dantzscher and Lindsey Dong (layout Phelps), and Mohini Bhardwaj (Yurchenko 1 1/2, Yurchenko double twist). Antolin received a 9.775 the first time she competed her new vault at Michigan and then improved it to a 9.85 to place second at Michigan State. She is averaging 9.82 with her new vault.

NUMBER CRUNCHING - UCLA has scored 49+ on bars in 19 consecutive meets ...Doni Thompson has hit 24 of 25 routines on the uneven bars in her career, a hit percentage of 96% ... Despite its first sub-49 score on floor in two years at the Michigan State meet, UCLA still has not had to count a fall on floor since 1999 ... Mohini Bhardwaj has hit all 27 floor routines in her career ... Onnie Willis has hit all 20 of her floor routines in her career, and Kristin Parker has hit all 21 ... Willis holds UCLA's longest active 'hit' streak with 22 consecutive clean routines, none of which have scored lower than 9.8 ...Jamie Dantzscher is second with 19 consecutive 'hits', and Parker is close behind with 17 ... Yvonne Tousek has scored a 9.95 on beam in her three of her last four meets ...Willis has won the all-around in four of five meets this year, with only a near-perfect 39.975 from Mohini Bhardwaj vs. Georgia besting her ...After hitting a season-best 9.8 at Michigan State, Lindsey Dong now averages 9.75 on vault ... Valerie Velasco is averaging 9.765 on floor and 9.82 in her last three meets.

WHAT CAN'T SHE DO?! - Senior Mohini Bhardwaj already competes the most difficulty in the nation. On vault, she was the first collegiate athlete to complete a double-twisting Yurchenko layout. On bars, she has two major release moves and a double layout with a full twist dismount. On beam, her flight series is a backhandspring to three consecutive layouts, and her dismount is a double back somersault. She tumbles a double layout and a full-in on the floor exercise. On Mar. 5, she one-upped even herself by performing an exhibition floor routine that opened with a handspring double front.

UCLA TO HOST 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.

Five other teams, plus five at-large individual all-around competitors and four individual event competitors, will compete for team and individual titles. The top two teams and all-arounders, plus event winners, 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 teams and individual competitors competing at the regional will be determined 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.

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.

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