Bruins Seek Three-Peat At NCAA Gymnastics Championships

April 11, 2002

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NCAA Championships - UCLA (19-5, ranked No. 1 and seeded No. 2) will aim for its third consecutive NCAA team title and its fourth in six years when it competes at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships Apr. 18-20 in Tuscaloosa, AL. The Bruins are the top-ranked team in the nation and have scored a 197 or better in each of their last six meets.

Competition Format - The three-day competition begins on Thursday, Apr. 18 at Coleman Coliseum with two sessions (1:00 pm and 7:00 pm ET) of preliminary team competition. The Top 3 teams from each Thursday session will advance to the team finals (The 'Super Six'), which will begin at 7:00 pm on Friday, Apr. 19. The individual event finals competition will be held Saturday, Apr. 20 at 7:00 pm. The all-around champion and individual event finalists will be determined during the preliminary competition. Individuals qualify for event finals by placing in the top four (including ties) of that particular event during their own preliminary session.

The Teams - Competing in the Championships are Alabama (197.9 Regional score), UCLA (197.425), Utah (197.1), Oregon State (196.8), LSU (196.45), Stanford (196.125), Georgia (196.125), Minnesota (196.05), Nebraska (195.925), Florida (195.9), Michigan (195.6) and Arizona (194.95).

UCLA To Compete In Evening Session - In a blind draw conducted by the NCAA, UCLA was chosen to compete in the evening (7:00 pm) session, along with host-team Alabama, Stanford, Oregon State, Florida and Minnesota. Utah, LSU, Stanford, Georgia, Nebraska, Michigan and Arizona will vie for three spots in the Super Six during the afternoon (1:00 pm) session.

Rotation Order - UCLA will begin the preliminary competition on a beam. After the bye, the Bruins will then move to a bye, floor, vault, another bye, and then bars.

Meet Coverage - CBS will broadcast the meet on a tape-delayed basis Sunday, Apr. 28 at 10:00 am. Pacific Time. Olympic gold medalists Amanda Borden and Dominique Dawes will call the action, along with Bonnie Bernstein. The Alabama website will provide live statistics throughout the championships at www.rolltide.com.

UCLA At The NCAA Championships - The Bruins have won three of the last five NCAA Championships and are the two-time defending champs. Last year, UCLA needed a near-perfect beam set to stave off Georgia in the two teams' final rotation and responded in style with a 49.575 (9.915 average) to capture the title with a team total of 197.575, .175 ahead of the Gym Dogs. The Bruins won in 2000 on the strength of a 48-for-48 performance over the two days of the championships. UCLA won its first-ever NCAA Championship in 1997, breaking the Utah-Georgia-Alabama triumvirate which had won all the other previous titles. This is UCLA's 11th consecutive and 19th overall appearance in the 21 NCAA Championships. UCLA and Georgia are the only two teams to qualify for every Super Six.

Two Bruins Look To Defend Titles - Bruin junior Onnie Willis and sophomore Yvonne Tousek will attempt to defend their individual titles. Willis last season became the first Bruin ever to win the all-around at the NCAA Championships, tying Elise Ray of Michigan for first-place. Willis also placed second on bars and fifth on floor. Tousek defeated four of her teammates last season to capture the uneven bars title. Others looking to defend their titles are Georgia's Cory Fritzinger (vault), Utah's Theresa Kulikowski (beam) and Ray (all-around).

Individual NCAA History - Nine Bruins have won 16 NCAA titles to rank third amongst all teams. UCLA's NCAA champions are: Kim Hamilton (1987-89 floor, 1989 vault), Jill Andrews (1988 vault, 1989 beam), Stella Umeh (1995 and 1998 floor), Heidi Moneymaker (1998 bars, 1999 vault), Kiralee Hayashi (1999 beam), Mohini Bhardwaj (2000 bars, 2001 floor), Lena Degteva (2000 beam), Onnie Willis (2001 all-around) and Yvonne Tousek (2001 bars). Two other Bruins won AIAW national titles - Sharon Shapiro (1980-81 all-around and vault, 1980 bars, 1980 beam, 1980 floor) and Diane Dovas (1981 bars). Shapiro remains the only gymnast ever to sweep the all-around and all four events in one year. Hamilton is the only woman to win three consecutive floor titles. UCLA has won at least two individual titles in each of the last four years.

The 2001 Championship - The Bruins successfully defended their NCAA title with a gritty performance on balance beam in the final rotation. Leading second-place and host-team Georgia by just one-tenth of a point heading into their final rotation, the Bruins needed a near-perfect beam set to hold off the Gym Dogs, which ended on vault, one of their best events. Georgia put the heat on by posting a vault total of 49.5, meaning the Bruins needed a 49.425 or better to hold the lead. Doni Thompson started things off with a career-high 9.9 to set the table for an amazing 49.575 performance and a repeat championship. Individually, all eight competing Bruins earned All-America honors, with Onnie Willis (all-around), Yvonne Tousek (bars) and Mohini Bhardwaj (floor) capturing NCAA titles on their respective events. Valorie Kondos Field was honored as the Head Coach of the Year for the fourth time, and Bhardwaj earned the American Award as the nation's top senior gymnast.

The 2000 Championship - UCLA hit 48-for-48 routines throughout the two-day competition and won its second NCAA title with a final score of 197.3. In the team finals, the Bruins led throughout the competition and never let any competitor within four-tenths of a point after two events. Four Bruins placed in the Top 10 in the all-around, with Mohini Bhardwaj placing second, Heidi Moneymaker fourth, Lena Degteva fifth and Kristin Parker 10th. UCLA shined in the individual event finals as well, with Degteva first winning the beam, just ahead of Bhardwaj, and then Bhardwaj winning the bars, with Degteva third. The Bruins also placed three athletes in the Top 5 on vault. Bhardwaj, Moneymaker, Degteva, Parker and Onnie Willis combined to earn a school-record 18 All-America honors. The coaching staff was honored as well, with Valorie Kondos Field earning Co-Head Coach of the Year honors, her third in five years, and Randy Lane earning Assistant Coach of the Year acclaim.

The 1997 Championship - UCLA entered the 1997 season as the pre-season No. 1, saw Georgia assume the role of favorites during the regular season, then proved they were worthy of the No. 1 ranking by winning the school's first-ever NCAA Gymnastics title. Georgia opened the door early for UCLA, counting two falls on beam while the Bruins were on a first-rotation bye. In contrast, the Bruins scored a 49.2 on beam to stay in contention. Going into the final rotation, UCLA and Michigan trailed Arizona State, which ended its meet with a final score of 196.6. The Bruins and Wolverines needed a 49.25 in the final rotation to overtake the Sun Devils. While Michigan could only score 48.875 on floor, UCLA recorded a school-record 49.525 to win the crown with a final score of 197.15.

NCAA Championship Notes -
* Only four teams have ever won the NCAA title in the 20 years of the Championships - Utah (9), Georgia (5), UCLA (3) and Alabama (3).
* UCLA will attempt to become only the second school to win back-to-back-to-back championships. Utah is the only school to accomplish this, winning five consecutive titles from 1982-86.
* Nine schools return from the 2001 NCAA Championships, including all six Super Six teams - UCLA (1st place), Georgia (2nd), Michigan (3rd), Alabama (4th), Nebraska (5th), Utah (6th), Florida (7th), Stanford (8th) and Oregon State (11th). Last year's competitors not qualifying in 2002 are Arizona State (9th), Oklahoma (10th) and Denver (12th). All three teams finished a close third in their regional meets.
* Arizona is making its first NCAA appearance since 1996. LSU returns for the first time since 2000, and Minnesota returns for the first time since 1997.
* Hosting the NCAA Championship has not been easy in recent years. In the last five championships, the host school has finished higher than fifth only once (Georgia in 2001). The last host team, however, to win the title was Alabama in 1996. In fact, two of the Crimson Tide's three titles came at home.
* The Bruins enter the championships seeded No. 2. In the history of the NCAA Championship, only three No. 2 seeds have ever won the title - UCLA in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
* UCLA ranks third with 16 individual titles. Georgia leads all teams with 26.
* The Bruins have won more individual titles in the last four years (nine) than any other team.
* The Pac-10 Conference has qualified four teams to the NCAA Championships - UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona. Only the SEC Conference has more teams in the Championships. The Pac-10 has been represented by at least two teams in all 21 championships. A record six Pac-10 teams competed in the 1992 Championships.

UCLA vs. 2002 Field - The Bruins have posted victories over Oregon State (twice), LSU, Stanford (twice), Minnesota, Florida, Michigan and Arizona (twice).

Bruins Win Regional To Earn NCAA Berth - Needing to place in the Top 2 at Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Championships, UCLA easily won its regional Apr. 6 at Arizona State with a score of 197.425. Arizona was a distant second with 194.95, just edging out host-team Arizona State (194.875). Jamie Dantzscher won the all-around (39.7), vault (tied, 9.9), bars (9.95) and floor (9.95) and tied for third on beam with a career-high tying 9.9. Alyssa Beckerman (beam) and Jeanette Antolin (vault) also claimed individual victories.

Dantzscher Named West Region Gymnast of the Year - Sophomore Jamie Dantzscher picked up yet another honor, being selected as the West Region Gymnast of the Year. Dantzscher was also named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year during a season in which she set a national record with seven consecutive perfect 10s on the floor exercise. The 2000 U.S. Olympian also registered a national-season best 39.9 in the all-around on Mar. 3. Dantzscher averages 9.918 or better on vault, bars and floor and has scored 9.9 three times on beam. Her all-around average is 39.618.

Four Bruins Earn All-Conference Honors - Four UCLA gymnasts earned a conference-high (tied with Arizona) six All-Pac-10 honors. Jamie Dantzscher (bars, floor) and Onnie Willis (all-around, vault) each earned multiple honors, while Doni Thompson (bars) and Alyssa Beckerman (beam) were named on one event. Dantzscher has now earned four All-Pac-10 awards in her short career. Willis, Thompson and Beckerman are first-time selections.

Bruins Successful On And Off Floor - The 2002 Bruin gymnastics squad has equaled their on-floor success with success in the classroom. A school-record seven Bruins earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors this season, with first-team selections Kristin Parker (3.73 gpa) and Onnie Willis (3.66 gpa) leading the way. Alyssa Beckerman, Jamie Dantzscher, Doni Thompson, Yvonne Tousek and Jamie Williams earned honorable mention acclaim.

Bruins Have Nation's Top Marks - UCLA gymnasts have recorded some of the nation's highest individual and team scores this year. Individually, Jamie Dantzscher has the nation's top all-around total this year with a 39.9 and is tops on vault, bars and floor with perfect 10s. Onnie Willis also shares the nation's top marks on vault and floor with a perfect 10. As a team, UCLA has posted the nation's second-highest overall total (198.35), as well as the highest totals on vault (49.7), bars (49.65) and floor (49.725).

Parker's Presence Integral To Vault Lineup - After sitting out three meets due to injury, junior All-American Kristin Parker has returned to the vault lineup and has provided much-needed results. Since her return the Bruins have jumped up to third in the national rankings on vault and set season-highs twice. In her six meets back from injury, Parker has averaged 9.82 and has led UCLA to team scores of 49.15 (Feb. 23), 49.45 (Mar. 1), a school-record 49.7 (Mar. 3), 49.325 (Mar. 16), 49.275 (Mar. 23) and 49.125 (Apr. 6). With Parker in the vault lineup, the Bruins have scored 49+ on vault eight of nine times and averaged 49.25. Without her in the lineup, UCLA has averaged just 47.756.

Antolin's Return Also Key To Team's Success - Another key to UCLA's recent success on vault is sophomore Jeanette Antolin. The five-time U.S. National Team member rejoined the Bruin squad on Feb. 13 and competed for the first time this season on Feb. 17, placing second on vault with a 9.7. At Washington on Mar. 1, she claimed her first individual victory of the year, winning the vault with a career-high 9.95. She equaled that mark two days later at the UCLA Invitational and has scored a 9.9 in each of her last three meets, including a 9.9 to tie for the South Central Regional vault crown. Antolin has also worked her way into the bars and floor lineup, setting a new career-high on beam with a 9.925 at the Pac-10 Championships, and earning a 9.8 in her first floor routine of the season at Regionals.

Beckerman Continues To Post Top Marks - Sophomore Alyssa Beckerman has been on fire the last eight meets, scoring no lower than 9.875 on floor and no lower than 9.8 on beam. 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 9.821 on beam with six individual wins and seven scores of 9.9+, including a 9.95. At the Pac-10 Championships, she scored a 9.9 to capture a share of the conference title, and at the NCAA South Regional Championships, she earned a 9.925 to tie for first-place. On floor exercise, she stepped in for an injured teammate on Feb. 10 against Stanford and recorded a 9.875 on her first collegiate floor routine. She has competed on floor in seven meets, with an average of 9.882 and a high of 9.9.

UCLA's 1-2-3 All-Around Punch - No school in the nation can match the combined strength of UCLA's top 3 all-arounders - 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, two-time Olympian Yvonne Tousek and defending NCAA all-around champion Onnie Willis. The three Bruins have posted the highest all-around marks for any trio on any team this season - Dantzscher with a 39.9, Tousek with a 39.725 and Willis with a 39.65. Tousek and Willis have scored 39.4+ four and six times, respectively, and Dantzscher has broken the 39.7 barrier four times. The Bruins also have two other strong, consistent all-arounders in Kristin Parker (season-high 39.425, career-high 39.675) and Malia Jones (season-high 39.325, career-high 39.425).

Bruin Squad Filled With Olympians, National Team Members - The 2002 Bruin squad is filled with former U.S. and Canadian Olympians and National Team members. In all, UCLA boasts five Olympians and eight former national team members. UCLA's Olympians are Jamie Dantzscher, Kristen Maloney and Alyssa Beckerman from the U.S. and Yvonne Tousek and Michelle Conway from Canada. In addition to those five, Jeanette Antolin, Doni Thompson and Onnie Willis were once members of the U.S. National Team. Many of the Bruin gymnasts have World Championships experience, as Tousek competed at the 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999 Worlds, Thompson competed in 1995, and Antolin, Dantzscher, Maloney and Conway competed in 1999. Beckerman made the World Championships team in 1999 but could not compete due to injury.

Number Crunching - On floor, Onnie Willis has hit 33 of 34 routines throughout her career for an average of 9.88 ...Doni Thompson has hit 41 of 43 (95%) bar routines in her career, including all 13 this year, for a career average of 9.834 ...Thompson has scored a 9.925 or better in her last five meets ... Yvonne Tousek has averaged a 9.86 on her last 12 beam routines, dating back to last season ... Kristin Parker has hit 24 consecutive vaults for an average of 9.855 ... In addition to her mastery on floor, Jamie Dantzscher has also scored big on bars, recording a 9.95 or better in 10 of 12 meets this year.

Dantzscher Hauling In Event Titles - Jamie Dantzscher has been running away with most of the event titles this year, already taking in a school-record 32 first-place finishes out of a possible 51 (62.7%). Dantzscher also has 40 Top 3 finishes (78%). Onnie Willis ranks second in the individual victories department with nine. Alyssa Beckerman leads the team with five beam victories.

UCLA ON VAULT:
* Six of the Bruin regulars compete 10.0 start value vaults - Jeanette Antolin, Jamie Dantzscher and Onnie Willis (Yurchenko full), Michelle Conway and Yvonne Tousek (Yurchenko half front layout), and Kristin Parker (handspring front pike with a half-twist). Malia Jones vaults a handspring front pike, worth a 9.9.
* UCLA's best vault performance this season came at the UCLA Invite on Mar. 3. Led by perfect 10s from Willis and Dantzscher, the Bruins scored a school-record 49.7. Antolin tied her career-high in that meet with a 9.95, and Tousek tied her season-best with a 9.9. Parker added to the total with a 9.85.
* The Bruins have scored 49+ in six consecutive meets, all coinciding with Parker and Antolin's return to the lineup. Since Antolin's return on Feb. 17, the Bruins have posted six 49+ scores in seven meets. With Parker in the lineup, the Bruins have scored 49+ in eight of nine meets. UCLA is averaging 49.34 over its last six meets.
* Four vaulters average 9.8 or better - Dantzscher (9.918), Willis (9.909), Antolin (9.857) and Parker (9.814). Dantzscher ranks second nationally with an RQS of 9.945. Willis is sixth with a 9.92.
* Dantzscher has recorded two perfect 10s on vault this year (Jan. 13 at Georgia, Mar. 3 at UCLA Invite). Willis has recorded a perfect 10 on vault three times in her career, once each in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
* Dantzscher leads the team with seven vault victories this season. Willis leads with nine Top 3 finishes.
* Dantzscher and Antolin are the 2002 NCAA South Central Region co-champions on vault.
* Parker placed fourth on vault at the 2001 NCAA Championships, and Willis placed fifth in 2000.
* Tousek won the Canadian vault championship in 1999.

UCLA ON BARS:
* UCLA is the top-ranked team in the nation on bars with an RQS of 49.465.
* Three UCLA gymnasts rank in the Top 10 on bars - No. 1 Jamie Dantzscher (9.975 RQS), No. 4 Doni Thompson (9.935) and No. 7 Yvonne Tousek (9.925). Onnie Willis ranks No. 25 (9.885).
* The Bruins scored a season-high 49.65 on bars at the Pac-10 Championships. Dantzscher, Thompson and Willis tied for first-place on this event with a 9.95.
* Dantzscher is the NCAA South Central Region bars champion.
* UCLA has scored 49+ in all but one meet this year - Jan. 18 at Cal State Fullerton, where only three regulars were in the bars lineup. The Bruins have hit 49.4 or better in six of their last eight meets.
*Dantzscher scored UCLA's only 10.0 on bars this season on Mar. 3 at the UCLA Invite. She has earned scores of 9.975 seven times.
* Seven Bruins average 9.725 or better: Dantzscher (9.95), Thompson (9.887), Antolin (9.85), Willis (9.816), Parker (9.754), Tousek (9.782) and Velasco (9.736).
* Dantzscher leads the team with 10 bars victories and 11 Top 3 finishes. Thompson is second with four wins and nine Top 3 showings.
* Tousek won the NCAA bars title in 2001 with a winning score of 9.938. Four other Bruins qualified for the event finals - Willis (second place), Mohini Bhardwaj (fifth), Thompson (sixth) and Dantzscher (10th).
* Tousek won the bars championship at the 2000 Canadian Championships, and Dantzscher won the USA bars championship in 1999.

UCLA ON BEAM:
* The Bruins scored a season-high 49.475 on three occasions - Feb. 23 against Oregon State, Mar. 3 at the UCLA Invite and Apr. 6 at the NCAA Regionals. The score is the fourth-highest in school history.
* UCLA has scored 49+ nine times this year, including six in a row.
* Alyssa Beckerman ranks seventh nationally on beam and leads the team with six victories and eight Top 3 finishes. Yvonne Tousek ranks 23rd.
* Beckerman tied for first at the Pac-10 Championships with a 9.9 and at the NCAA South Central Regionals with a 9.925. She has scored 9.9 or better in seven meets, with a career-high of 9.95.
* Six Bruins average 9.725 or better on beam - Tousek (9.847), Beckerman (9.821), Jamie Dantzscher (9.782), Onnie Willis (9.743), Malia Jones (9.742) and Kristin Parker (9.739).
* Tousek has averaged a 9.86 on her last 12 beam routines, dating back to last season
* Tousek has a move named after her in the international code of points. The 'Tousek' is a cross-wise backhandspring.
* Beckerman won the balance beam title at the 2000 U.S. Championships.

UCLA ON FLOOR:
* UCLA set a season-high of 49.725 on Mar. 3 at the UCLA Invite behind back-to-back perfect 10s from Onnie Willis and Jamie Dantzscher, career-highs from Yvonne Tousek (9.95) and Alyssa Beckerman (9.9) and a 9.875 from Malia Jones.
* The Bruins have scored 49.525 or better in three of their last six meets and have recorded a 49+ in 10 meets..
* Dantzscher leads the nation with seven perfect 10s on floor. She scored her 10s in consecutive meets to set a national record.
* Dantzscher tops the national rankings on floor with an RQS of 10.0. She is the first gymnast to hold a 10.0 RQS on any event since 1997.
* Seven Bruins average 9.8 or better on floor: Dantzscher (9.939), Beckerman (9.882), Tousek (9.881), Willis (9.872), Jones (9.841), Kristin Parker (9.818) and Jeanette Antolin (9.8).
* Dantzscher is a two-time Pac-10 floor champion and the 2001 NCAA runner-up.
* Tousek won two Canadian floor championships.

ALL-AROUND ACTION:
* Five Bruins have scored 39.0 or greater in the all-around: Jamie Dantzscher (high of 39.9), Yvonne Tousek (39.725), Onnie Willis (39.65), Kristin Parker (39.425) and Malia Jones (39.325).
* Only Dantzscher and Willis have placed first in all-around competition among the Bruin gymnasts. Dantzscher has five victories and Willis three.
* Dantzscher won the NCAA South Central Regional title with a 39.7, and Willis placed second with a 39.575.
* Willis captured the Pac-10 title in the all-around with a 39.625. Dantzscher was second with a 39.575, while Parker tied for fourth with a 39.4.
* Dantzscher (39.618), Willis (39.389), Tousek (39.191) and Parker (39.165) average over 39.0 in the all-around.
* Willis (first place) and Tousek (third place) are returning first-team All-Americans. Parker earned second-team All-America honors as a freshman.

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