Bruins Face Top Teams In Season Opener

Jan. 7, 2002

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Bruins Open Season At Super Six Challenge - The UCLA women's gymnastics team, ranked No. 1 in the pre-season, will open the 2002 season with a bang, facing 2001 NCAA runner-up Georgia and three-time NCAA champion Alabama, as well as Florida, LSU and Penn State at the Super Six Challenge in Gainesville, FL. The meet will take place on Friday, Jan. 11 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center at 7:00 pm and will be televised by ESPN on a delayed basis on January 27 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Chris Marlowe and Kathy Johnson-Clarke will call the action.

Challenge Continues At Georgia Sunday - The Bruins will meet up with Georgia for the second time in three days on Sunday, Jan. 13 in Athens, GA. The Gym Dogs will host the Bruins in a dual meet at 2:30 pm in Stegeman Coliseum. UCLA and Georgia have dominated the NCAA Championships in recent years, with UCLA winning three (1997, 2000, 2001) and Georgia winning two (1998, 1999) championships in the last five years. Georgia is coming off a dual meet home victory over Nebraska Jan. 6. In that meet, the Gym Dogs posted a team total of 196.875, their highest season-opening total ever.

Live Meet Reports - Fans can follow both meets through live scoring on the internet. Florida will provide live scoring on www.gatorzone.com at the Super Six Challenge. Georgia will do live stats on Sunday at www.georgiadogs.com. Both sites can be accessed through UCLA's official website, www.uclabruins.com.

Bruins Return To Site Of 2001 Championship - UCLA returns to the site of its last conquest, Stegeman Coliseum, where the Bruins captured the 2001 NCAA Championship. The Bruins won a tight battle against host Georgia, needing a near-perfect beam set in their final rotation to clinch the title.

Bruins Ranked No. 1 In Pre-Season - UCLA will begin the 2001 season as the No. 1-ranked team for the second consecutive year, earning 29 of 37 first-place votes in the pre-season coaches' poll. The Bruins will face 12 of the Top 20 schools in the nation this season - No. 2 Georgia Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, No. 3 Michigan Mar. 3, No. 4 Alabama Jan. 11 and Mar. 16, No. 7 Florida Jan. 11, No. 8 Stanford Feb. 10, No. 9 Arizona State Jan. 20, No. 10 Oregon State Feb. 23, No. 11 LSU and No. 12 Penn State Jan. 11, No. 15 Minnesota Mar. 3, No. 17 Arizona Jan. 25 and No. 19 Washington Mar. 1.

Seven All-Americans Return For Bruins - With seven All-Americans returning from UCLA's 2001 NCAA Championship team, it's no wonder that the Bruins are ranked No. 1 to start the season. Leading the Bruins in 2002 is junior co-captain and 2001 NCAA all-around co-champion Onnie Willis. Last season, Willis earned All-America honors on all four events and the all-around. Also back are 2001 NCAA bars champion and two-time Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek, 2000 U.S. Olympians Jamie Dantzscher and Kristen Maloney and fellow All-Americans Malia Jones, Kristin Parker and Doni Thompson.

Number Crunching - UCLA has scored 49+ on bars in 23 consecutive meets ...The Bruins have not had to count a fall on floor since 1999 ...Onnie Willis led UCLA in hit percentage last year, hitting 95.5% (42-44) of her routines ... Jamie Dantzscher was a close second at 95.0% (38-40) ...Willis has scored a 39.0 or higher in the all-around 11 consecutive times.

Perfect Bruins - UCLA gymnasts earned 20 perfect 10s last season, including seven from Jamie Dantzscher, two each from Onnie Willis and Kristen Maloney and one from Kristin Parker. Mohini Bhardwaj, a senior last season, accounted for the other eight perfect scores. Two of Dantzscher's perfect 10s last year came in the season opener, as she received perfect marks on her first two collegiate routines..

Bruins Surrounded By National Champions - If any one team in the nation knows what it takes to win, it is UCLA. Not only are the Bruins two-time defending national champions, 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, 2001 NCAA bars champion), 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 all-around champion Onnie Willis.

Bruins Dedicate Season To Sept. 11 Victims, Heroes - The UCLA gymnastics team has dedicated its 2002 season to the victims and heroes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bruin gymnasts created a banner that reads: 'Tribute - To the victims and those devoted to the relief effort: Your courage, strength, compassion and humanity fuel our fire and rekindle our passion for gymnastics. We dedicate our season to you and commit to take every day as a gift.' The banner was placed at Ground Zero in New York City.

Dantzscher, Tousek Perform At Reese's Cup - Sophomores Jamie Dantzscher and Yvonne Tousek tuned up for the 2002 season by competing against gymnastics' top names at the Reese's Cup competition in December. Dantzscher placed third in the entertainment-style mixed pairs competition, while Tousek was seventh.

Injuries Sideline Maloney, Raab - Sophomores Kristen Maloney and Carly Raab will be unable to compete in the season opener due to injuries. Maloney had surgery August to remove a rod in her shin and has not yet been cleared to compete. Raab is out for the year after suffering an ACL injury.

Looking Ahead - UCLA returns to Southern California to compete in a pair of meets next week. First, UCLA will face Cal State Fullerton and Boise State on Friday, Jan. 18 at Fullerton's Titan Gym at 7:00 pm. The Bruins will host Arizona State in the UCLA home opener on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2:00 pm in Pauley Pavilion.

Co-Captains Named - UCLA has selected juniors Onnie Willis, Carly Raab and Doni Thompson and sophomore Jamie Dantzscher as team co-captains for 2002. Willis and Raab were co-captains in 2001.

Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field - In her 12th 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 six years alone, Kondos Field has led UCLA to three NCAA titles and one runner-up finish, five Regional titles and three Pac-10 Championships. She has been voted the national coach of the year by her peers four times in the past six years.

Kondos' Korner - UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field will continue her weekly diary for UCLABruins.com. You can read her latest entry at www.uclabruins.com.

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