Bruins Travel To Washington Friday, Host UCLA Invitational Sunday
Feb. 25, 2002
UCLA Travels To Pacific Northwest To Face Washington - The sixth-ranked UCLA women's gymnastics team (10-4) will travel to Seattle, Wash. to face Pac-10 Conference foe Washington (3-4) and Seattle-Pacific University (3-5) on Friday, Mar. 1. The meet will take place at Bank of America Arena at 7:00 pm. The Huskies are led by last week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week Emily Pritchard, who set a new career-best in the all-around two weeks ago with a 39.675. Pritchard currently ranks 24th in the nation.
Bruins Host 25th Annual UCLA Invitational - On Sunday, Mar. 3, the Bruins will attempt to win their 11th consecutive and 16th overall UCLA Invitational team title when they host third-ranked Michigan, ninth-ranked Minnesota and Cal State Fullerton at 2:00 pm in Pauley Pavilion. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for youth. UCLA students are free with ID. Tickets can be purchased at UCLA's Central Ticket Office (310/UCLA-WIN or online at www.tickets.ucla.edu).
Live Scoring - Fans not in attendance on Sunday can view live scoring on UCLA's official athletic website, www.uclabruins.com.
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 15 of the last 16 championships and the last 10 in a row. Sixteen all-around winners have been UCLA gymnasts, including the last five consecutive. Onnie Willis won last year's title with a meet record 39.6.
A Look At The Field - Michigan, which placed third at the 2001 NCAA Championships, is led by Calli Ryals, who is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in the all-around, and Elise Ray, the 2000 U.S. Olympic captain who shared the NCAA all-around championship a year ago with UCLA's Onnie Willis. Minnesota is led by All-American MaryAnne Kelley, who ranks fourth nationally in the all-around. Cal State Fullerton, which is ranked No. 39 nationally, is led by Kelly Mathiasen and Joanna Hughes.
Willis, Thompson, Raab Return To Home State Of Washington - Bruin juniors Onnie Willis (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS), Doni Thompson (Olympia, Wash./Capital HS) and Carly Raab (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep) return to their home state this Friday for the triangular meet against Washington and Seattle-Pacific. Willis, the defending NCAA all-around co-champion, trained at Puget Sound Gymnastics and was the 1999 Tacoma Athletic Commission Athlete of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Western Washington. She was also the 1999 State Triple Jump champion. Thompson trained at Black Hills Gymnastics from 1998-1999 and was an All-American diver and tennis letterwinner at Capital HS. At UCLA, Thompson has earned All-America honors twice and was a Pac-10 All-Academic selection last year. Raab, a two-time Scholastic All-American, was captain of her club team at Cascade Elite Gymnastics. Unfortunately, Raab suffered an ACL injury prior to the season and will be unable to compete.
Dantzscher, Maloney Reunite With Olympic Teammate Ray - Bruins Jamie Dantzscher and Kristen Maloney will reunite with their 2000 Olympic teammate Elise Ray on Sunday when Ray's Michigan squad comes to Pauley Pavilion. The trio led the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. All three have won U.S. Championships in recent years. Maloney was 1998 and 1999 all-around champion and the 2000 vault and floor champion. Dantzscher captured the 1999 national bars title, and Ray won the all-around in 2000, along with several other event titles throughout her career.
Velasco, Dong To Compete In Final Home Meet - Sunday's UCLA Invitational will mark the final home meet for Bruin seniors Valerie Velasco (Fullerton, Calif./Rosary HS) and Lindsey Dong (San Jose, Calif./Leland HS), who will be honored in pre-meet ceremonies. The senior duo have been a part of two NCAA Championship teams and have proven throughout their careers that they can step in and perform well for their team whenever called upon. Velasco has been a steady lead-off competitor on bars all season, averaging 9.729 with a high mark of 9.825. She also competed all-around twice this year. Velasco's career-best marks are 9.75 on vault, 9.825 on bars, and 9.85 on beam and floor. One of UCLA's top student-athletes, Dong has been named an NACGC Scholastic All-American three times and was UCLA's Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Despite being burdened with a broken foot that has hampered her training all season, Dong courageously stepped in for a short-handed Bruin squad on vault on Feb. 10 and successfully landed her attempt, helping the Bruins upset Pac-10 rival Stanford. Dong's career-highs are 9.85 on vault and 9.5 on floor.
Perfect 10s Keep Coming For Dantzscher - Sophomore Jamie Dantzscher extended her streak of perfect 10s to seven consecutive meets, recording her sixth-straight 10 on the floor exercise at Cal Feb. 17. Dantzscher has scored a 10 in all but the first meet of the year, earning one on vault at Georgia Jan. 13 and six in a row on floor on Jan. 18, Jan. 20, Jan. 25, Feb. 10, Feb. 17 and Feb. 23. In her career, she has scored 11 perfect 10s on floor, two on bars and one on vault to set a new school record with 14 career perfect marks. Dantzscher's consecutive 10 streak on floor is believed to be an NCAA record.
Dantzscher has proven to not just be a one-event wonder. The 2000 Olympian averages 39.538 in the all-around and averages 9.9 or better on vault and beam as well as floor. She has also conquered her one-time nemesis, the balance beam, scoring a career-high 9.9 in her last meet.
Parker Returns To Lineup - Junior All-American Kristin Parker made a triumphant return to competition this past Saturday, scoring a 9.85 on vault in her first meet since Jan. 20. Parker had sat out the Bruins' last two meets due to an ankle injury and missed the Jan. 25 meet at Arizona after hitting the back of her neck while dismounting the uneven bars.
Antolin Progressing In Comeback - Sophomore Jeanette Antolin, a member of UCLA's 2001 NCAA Championship team and a five-time U.S. National Team member, rejoined the Bruin squad on Feb. 13 and competed for the first time this season at Cal. In her first meet back, Antolin placed second on vault with a 9.7. Against Oregon State Feb. 23, she again scored a 9.7 on vault and also earned a 9.8 on an exhibition routine on the uneven bars. Last year, she competed mostly on vault, averaging a 9.798. Her season-best marks were 9.9 on vault, 9.85 on bars and beam and 9.925 on floor.
Beckerman Continues To Improve Marks - Sophomore Alyssa Beckerman has been on fire the last three meets, scoring no lower than 9.875 on her two events, beam and floor. Beckerman, who missed most of the 2001 season after undergoing wrist surgery, has been UCLA's anchor on beam since unexpectedly stepping in for an injured teammate in the season's second meet at Georgia. The 2000 U.S. Olympic alternate and U.S. balance beam champion averages 9.782 on beam with four scores of 9.9+. She again stepped in for an injured teammate on floor Feb. 10 against Stanford and recorded a 9.875 on her first collegiate floor routine. She has been in the floor lineup ever since and averages 9.883. Beckerman's career-bests were set this past Saturday with a 9.95 on beam and 9.9 on floor.
Bruins Set Season-Best In Win Over Oregon State - The Bruins set a new season-high in defeating Oregon State, 197.55-194.925 Feb. 23. UCLA counted no score lower than 9.7 and scored above a 49 on all four events, including season-highs on beam (49.475) and floor (49.575). Jamie Dantzscher won the all-around with a career-high 39.8 and also placed first on vault (9.925), bars (9.975) and floor (10.0) and set a career-high on beam with a 9.9. Alyssa Beckerman also set new career-highs on beam (9.95, first place) and floor (9.9).
There's No Place Like Home - Pauley Pavilion has been good to the Bruins the past few seasons, as UCLA has posted a 24-0 record in that arena since 2000 and a 30-1 record since 1999. UCLA is undefeated at home so far in 2002, posting wins over Arizona State, Stanford and Oregon State. Last year, the Bruins owned a 16-0 record in Pauley and were 5-0 in 2000.
Number Crunching - Onnie Willis has hit 21 straight routines and has scored 9.85 or higher on 12 of her last 13 routines ... She has been most consistent on bars, the event on which she was the NCAA runner-up a year ago, hitting 23 straight bar routines (since Feb. 20, 2000) without a miss for an average of 9.86 ... Yvonne Tousek has averaged a 9.875 on her last nine beam routines, dating back to last season ... UCLA's most consistent beam performer in the past two-plus years has been Kristin Parker, who has competed 14 straight beam routines (since Mar. 18, 2000) without a miss for an average of 9.825 ... Parker has also hit 19 consecutive vaults for an average of 9.868 ... In addition to her mastery on floor, Jamie Dantzscher has also scored big on bars, recording a 9.975 in six of seven meets this year.
UCLA In The Rankings - The Bruins moved up to sixth in the national rankings with a regional qualifying score of 195.975. UCLA ranks first on bars (49.32), sixth on beam (48.945), eighth on floor (49.185) and 14th on vault (48.76). Jamie Dantzscher tops the national rankings on floor with an amazing RQS of 10.0. It is the first 10.0 RQS on any event since Georgia's Leah Brown and Kim Arnold ended the 1997 regular season with an RQS of 10.0 on vault. Dantzscher also ranks first on bars (9.975) and second on vault (9.92). Onnie Willis ranks fifth in the all-around (39.36), seventh on vault (9.885) and 10th on bars (9.865). Yvonne Tousek checks in at 14th on bars (9.86) and 22nd on beam (9.835). A pair of Bruins hold the No. 23 ranking on their respective events - Alyssa Beckerman on beam (9.83) and Doni Thompson on bars (9.855).
Injuries Sideline Several Bruins - Sophomores Kristen Maloney and Carly Raab have been unable to compete so far this season due to injuries. Maloney had surgery August to remove a rod in her shin and has not yet been cleared to compete, and Raab is out for the year after suffering an ACL injury. In addition, freshman Christie Tedmon suffered four broken metatarsals on her left foot while dismounting the balance beam in the season opener and will sit out a minimum of six to eight weeks.
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. 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.