No. 1 UCLA To Battle No. 4 Utah In Battle Of Gymnastics Powerhouses

Jan. 6, 2003

This Week - The top-ranked UCLA women's gymnastics team travels to Salt Lake City, UT for a dual meet matchup against fourth-ranked Utah on Friday, Jan. 10. The meet will take place at the Huntsman Center at 7:00 pm MT.

Live On The Web - Utah's official web site, will provide live scoring, as well as live video streaming for fans with high-speed internet. To watch the meet live, go to Utah's web site and choose the gymnastics page. The live stats can be found under Follow the Utes/Real Time Stats. The video streaming can be accessed through Gymnastics Multi-Media/Streaming Video.

Bruins To Challenge Utah's Streak - UCLA will look to put a stop to Utah's 23-year, 170-meet home winning streak. Utah's last home dual meet loss came on Feb. 20, 1979 to Cal State Fullerton and Clarion. The streak is the longest regular season home win streak in the nation for any NCAA men's or women's sport. Ready to defend their turf are Utah All-Americans Theresa Kulikowski, Melissa Vituj, Veronique Leclerc, Kim Allan and Kylee Wagner.

Last Three NCAA All-Around Champions To Meet - Friday's meet will match up the winners of the last three NCAA all-around titles. Utah's Theresa Kulikowski won the title as a freshman in 2000. She is not, however, expected to compete all-around on Friday. UCLA's Onnie Willis was a co-champion in 2001 as a sophomore, and Jamie Dantzscher captured the title during her sophomore season in 2002.

O, Canada - Canada invades Salt Lake City on Friday when the Bruins and Utes meet. The Bruins have two Canadian national team members on their squad - 2000 and 1996 Olympian Yvonne Tousek (Cambridge, Ontario) and 2000 Olympian and 2001 all-around champion Kate Richardson (Coquitlam, British Columbia). Utah counters with fellow Olympian Crystal Gilmore, Tousek's former club teammate at Cambridge Kips, and former national team members Kim Allan and Veronique Leclerc.

The Series With Utah - In regular season competition, Utah leads the overall series, 17-1, with the Bruins' lone win coming in 2001 at home. However, in post-season competition, UCLA has won the last four meetings dating back to the 2000 NCAA Championships, which the Bruins won over second-place Utah.

UCLA Enjoys Record-Setting Opener - The Bruins kicked off the 2003 NCAA season by recording a team total of 197.6 in a dual meet with Oregon State in Hawaii. The score was the best ever for a Bruin team to start the year. Bruin gymnasts won all four events and went 1-2-3 in the all-around with Jamie Dantzscher placing first with a 39.775, Onnie Willis second with a 39.65 and Kate Richardson third with a 39.6.

Dantzscher In Mid-Season Form - Junior Jamie Dantzscher has picked up right where she left off in winning the NCAA all-around, vault and floor titles a year ago. In the Bruins' season opener, Dantzscher won the all-around with a 39.775, scoring a perfect 10 on floor, a 9.95 on bars, a career-high 9.925 on beam and a 9.9 on vault. Dantzscher's all-around total was the highest ever by a Bruin in a season-opening meet, and her 10.0 score was the 18th perfect 10 of her career, a UCLA record. Last season, Dantzscher set a national record with seven consecutive perfect 10s on floor.

Richardson Makes Impressive Collegiate Debut - Freshman Kate Richardson made an impressive NCAA debut, scoring a 39.6 in the all-around to place third behind teammates Jamie Dantzscher and Onnie Willis. Richardson also won the balance beam title with a 9.95 and was second on floor with a 9.95. Her all-around score was the highest ever by a Bruin in her all-around debut. Richardson, a 2000 Canadian Olympian, is coming off a Commonwealth Games all-around and beam championship.

All-Arounders All-Around - UCLA has no shortage of all-around gymnasts this season. Five Bruins competed in the all-around in the season opener - Jamie Dantzscher, Onnie Willis, Kate Richardson, Kristin Parker and Yvonne Tousek. Malia Jones (career-high of 39.425) and Jeanette Antolin (39.05) have also proven to be solid all-arounders.

About The Bruins - Three-time NCAA champion UCLA is coached by four-time national coach of the year Valorie Kondos Field. The Bruins boast one of the most impressive lineups in collegiate gymnastics history, led by the last two NCAA all-around champions, 2001 co-winner Onnie Willis and 2002 champ Jamie Dantzscher. UCLA's roster includes three NCAA champions (Willis, Dantzscher and Yvonne Tousek), eight All-Americans (Willis, Dantzscher, Tousek, Doni Thompson, Alyssa Beckerman, Kristin Parker, Malia Jones, Kristen Maloney), five Olympians (Dantzscher, Tousek, Beckerman, Maloney and Kate Richardson) and eight World Championships team members (Dantzscher, Tousek, Beckerman, Maloney, Richardson, Thompson, Jeanette Antolin and Holly Murdock). Last season, UCLA won the Pac-10 and South Central Regional Championships and placed third at the NCAA Championships.

New Vault To Be Used In 2003 - A new vaulting table will be used in collegiate gymnastics, starting this season. The new equipment has more surface for a gymnast to hit and propel herself off with, making it safer in many regards.

Bruins Ranked No. 1 In Pre-Season - For the third consecutive year, the Bruins have been ranked No. 1 in the coaches' pre-season poll. UCLA received 20 of 31 first-place votes to take the top spot. The Bruins will face nine of the Top 25 teams this season, including No. 4 Utah, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Stanford and No. 10 Arizona.

Looking Ahead - The Bruins return to Southern California for a dual meet with Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7 pm and then host their first home meet on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 2 pm PT against California, Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis in the Bruin Classic.

There's No Place Like Home - Pauley Pavilion has been good to the Bruins the past few seasons, as UCLA has posted a 27-0 record in that arena since 2000 and a 33-1 record since 1999. UCLA's last home loss came in 1999 to Georgia.

Bruins Sign Three For 2004 - UCLA has signed three standouts to national letters of intent in the early signing period. Joining the Bruins in 2004 will be reigning Canadian balance beam champion Ashley Peckett (Mississauga, Ontario), international elite Aimee Walker (Valley Village, CA) and Level 10 standout Courtney Walker (Santa Monica, CA).

Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field - In her 13th season as head coach of the Bruins, Valorie Kondos Field has positioned her team as the premier program in collegiate gymnastics. In the past seven years alone, Kondos Field has led UCLA to three NCAA titles and one runner-up finish, six Regional titles and four Pac-10 Championships. She has been voted the national coach of the year by her peers four times in the past seven years.

Between The Bars - UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field will update Bruin fans with a weekly diary for UCLABruins.com You can read her latest entry here.

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