UCLA Gymnasts Head To NCAA Championships

April 21, 2003

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NCAA Championships - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (19-2-1) will travel to Lincoln, NE for the NCAA Championships, April 24-26. The Championships will take place in the Devaney Center on the University of Nebraska campus.

Competition Format - The three-day competition begins on Thursday, Apr. 24 with two sessions (1:00 pm and 7:00 pm CT) 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. 25. The individual event finals competition will be held Saturday, Apr. 26 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 Championship Field - Competing for the NCAA team championship will be regional winners UCLA, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Michigan and Nebraska, as well as regional runners-up Iowa, Auburn, Florida, Stanford, Arizona State and LSU.

Team Preliminaries - UCLA will compete in the afternoon session (1:00 pm CT) of the team preliminaries, along with defending champion Alabama, Michigan, Arizona State, LSU and Iowa. Georgia, Utah, Nebraska, Stanford, Auburn and Florida will compete in the evening session (7:00 pm CT). The top three teams from each preliminary session will move on to Friday's Super Six Team Finals.

Rotation Order - UCLA will begin the meet on a bye before floor and will begin competition in rotation two on floor. The Bruins will then move to vault, a bye, bars and then will finish the meet on beam. Rotation order for the championship meet was determined by blind draw.

Meet Coverage - CBS will broadcast the meet on a tape-delayed basis Sunday, May 4 at 10:00 am. Pacific Time. Bonnie Bernstein and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden will call the action, with Derrin Horton serving as sideline reporter. The Nebraska website will provide live statistics throughout the championships at www.huskers.com.

UCLA At The NCAA Championships - The Bruins have won two of the last three NCAA Championships and have won three titles overall (1997, 2000, 2001). UCLA placed third last season with a score of 197.15. In 2001, 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 12th consecutive and 20th overall appearance in the 22 NCAA Championships. UCLA and Georgia are the only two teams to qualify for every Super Six since its inception in 1993.

Dantzscher Has Three Titles To Defend - Bruin junior Jamie Dantzscher will attempt to defend her individual titles in the all-around, vault and floor. Last year, Dantzscher won the all-around crown with a score of 39.675. On vault, she had a two-vault average of 9.9565, and she tied LSU's graduated Nicki Arnstad on floor with a score of 9.95. Other former NCAA Champions competing are UCLA's Onnie Willis (2001 all-around) and Yvonne Tousek (2001 bars), Utah's Theresa Kulikowski (1999 all-around and beam, 2001 beam) and Georgia's Cory Fritzinger (2001 vault).

Willis Nearing School Record For All-America Honors - Senior Onnie Willis needs just one more All-America honor to tie Lena Degteva's school record of 13. As a freshman, Willis competed on three events at the NCAA Championships and earned first-team honors on vault and second-team honors on bars and floor. In 2001, she was a first-team All-American in the all-around (NCAA co-champion), bars (runner-up), beam and floor and a second-team All-American on vault. Last season, she earned first-team honors in the all-around, bars and floor and second-team acclaim on vault. With eight first-team honors, Willis is also within reach of Heidi Moneymaker's school record of 11, as is Jamie Dantzscher, who has seven first-team honors..

Individual NCAA History - Ten Bruins have won 19 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); Yvonne Tousek (2001 bars) and Jamie Dantzscher (2002 all-around, vault and floor). 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 at a national championships. Hamilton is the only woman to win three consecutive floor titles. UCLA has won at least two individual titles in each of the last five 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 21 years of the Championships - Utah (9), Georgia (5), Alabama (4) and UCLA (3).
* Nine schools return from the 2002 NCAA Championships, including all six Super Six teams - Alabama (1st place), Georgia (2nd), UCLA (3rd), Utah (4th), Nebraska (5th), Stanford (6th), Michigan (7th), LSU (8th) and Florida (10th). Last year's competitors not qualifying in 2003 are Minnesota (9th), Arizona (11th) and Oregon State (12th).
* Iowa is making its first ever NCAA appearance, having qualified as the No. 2 team in the South Central Regional. Auburn is returning to the NCAAs for the first time since 1993, when they finished in fifth place.
* Hosting the NCAA Championship has not always been easy. Only one host team has won the championship in the last eight years (Alabama in 2002 and 1996). In the last seven championships, the host school has finished higher than fifth only two times (Alabama in 2002 and Georgia in 2001).
* UCLA ranks third amongst all schools with 19 individual titles. Georgia leads all teams with 26. Utah is second with 22.
* The Bruins have won more individual titles in the last five years (12) than any other team.
* The Pac-10 Conference has qualified three teams to the NCAA Championships - UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State. The Pac-10 has been represented by at least two teams in all 22 championships. A record six Pac-10 teams competed in the 1992 Championships.

UCLA vs. 2003 Field - The Bruins have posted road victories over Utah, Arizona State and Michigan and tied Stanford in the regular season. The Bruins also defeated both Stanford and Arizona State at the Pac-10 Championships and Iowa at the NCAA Regionals.

Bruins Win South Central Regional, Earn NCAA Berth - Needing to place in the Top 2 at Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Championships, UCLA easily won its regional Apr. 12 at Missouri with a score of 197.7. Iowa was a distant second with 195.875, just edging out Oregon State (195.85). Jamie Dantzscher won the all-around (39.75), bars (9.95), beam (tied with Kate Richardson, 9.925) and floor (10.0). and tied for second on vault with a 9.875. The Bruins as a team claimed the top marks on all four events, and all six gymnasts placed in the Top 6 on beam, a first for the Bruins in a post-season meet.

Antolin Named West Region Gymnast Of The Year - Junior Jeanette Antolin was selected by the coaches as the West Region Gymnast of the Year. This season, Antolin has evolved into one of the nation's finest all-around competitors, finishing the regular season ranked ninth and earning a season and career best of 39.7 at the Pac-10 Championships. An All-Pac-10 selection in the all-around and vault, she is also the nation's top-ranked vaulter, earning an RQS of 9.98. Antolin has scored three perfect 10s on vault this year and has hit 33-for-33 vaults in her three-year career.

Bruins Capture 11th Pac-10 Title - Behind career-high performances from Kate Richardson and Jeanette Antolin, UCLA captured its 11th Pac-10 team title on Mar. 29 with a meet record score of 198.175. Richardson won the all-around championships with a meet record score of 39.825. Antolin was second with her all-time best of 39.7. Both Bruins scored perfect 10s to win their respective events - Richardson on floor and Antolin on vault. The Bruins were competing without two-time Pac-10 floor exercise champion Jamie Dantzscher, who sat out the meet due to illness.

Willis Honored As Pac-10 Gymnast Of The Year - Senior Onnie Willis was honored as the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year for 2003. The senior from Tacoma, Wash. has had an exceptional year, ranking in the Top 25 on all four events and the all-around. She currently ranks sixth in the nation in the all-around and has posted a career-high mark of 39.8 twice this year. She has hit all 41 routines she has competed this year, with 26 scores of 9.9 or higher. Willis earns UCLA's 12th Gymnast of the Year honor and seventh consecutive.

Richardson Named Pac-10 Freshman Of The Year - Kate Richardson earned UCLA's second all-time Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award. Richardson has been UCLA's workhorse this season, competing in the all-around in 12 of 13 meets. She ranks third in the nation in the all-around and first on the balance beam. She has scored four perfect 10s this year - two each on the balance beam and floor exercise. Richardson holds school freshman records for all-around score (39.825) and beam and floor score (10.0).

Kondos Earns Pac-10 Coach Of The Year Honors - Head coach Valorie Kondos Field was voted by her peers as the Pac-10's Co-Coach of the Year, along with California's Cari DuBois. Kondos has led UCLA to a No. 1 ranking all season long, and her team tied the all-time national-best team score of 198.575 on Feb. 9. Her Bruins have scored over 198 an unprecedented five times this year. Kondos Field earns this award for the third time in her career and the fifth time in school history.

Three Bruins Earn All-Conference Honors - Freshman Kate Richardson, junior Jeanette Antolin and senior Onnie Willis earned multiple Pac-10 All-Conference honors. All three were selected in the all-around. Richardson also earned honors on vault, beam and floor. Antolin and an honor on vault, and Willis was selected for vault and bars as well. UCLA's nine all-conference awards were the most in the Pac-10 this year.

Seven Bruins Earn Pac-10 Academic Honors - Seniors Kristin Parker and Onnie Willis and five other Bruin gymnasts earned Pac-10 All-Academic acclaim. Parker and Willis earned repeat first-team honors. Parker, a three-time first-team selection, has amassed a 3.74 GPA in Psychology, while Willis, a two-time first-teamer and a second-team choice in 2001, has earned a 3.66 GPA in Psychology. Junior Jamie Williams received second-team honors after posting a GPA of 3.78 in Psychology. Alyssa Beckerman, Jamie Dantzscher, Christie Tedmon and Yvonne Tousek each earned honorable mention honors.

Willis Wins Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Award - For the second consecutive year, senior Onnie Willis has earned an Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Award. The award is given by Black Issues in Higher Education to honor undergraduate students of color who have made achieving academically and athletically a winning combination. Student-athletes must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 and must be active on their campuses or communities. Willis has earned a cumulative GPA of 3.66 and has been involved in many community service efforts, including Bruin Athletic Council, Uni-Camp and the Career-Based Outreach Program.

UCLA Atop National Rankings - The Bruins ended the regular season atop the national rankings with a team RQS of 197.98. UCLA also finished first on vault (49.530), bars (49.515) and beam (49.575). 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.

Individually, five Bruins were ranked - Kate Richardson, who was first on beam, third in the all-around, tied for ninth on floor, 25th on bars and 24th on vault; Jeanette Antolin, who was first on vault and ninth in the all-around; Jamie Dantzscher, who was first on bars and floor and sixth on vault; Onnie Willis, who ranked sixth in the all-around, eighth on vault, 11th on bars, 15th on beam and 22nd on floor; and Yvonne Tousek, who was 10th on beam and 11th on bars.

UCLA Boasts Nations' Top Scores - UCLA has the distinction of scoring the top marks in the nation this year for team total (198.575 on Feb. 9), vault (49.7 on Feb. 9 and Feb. 16) and floor (49.725 on Feb. 2 and Mar. 29).

Win Streak Alive For Dantzscher - With a first-place finish on floor exercise (10.0) at the NCAA South Central Regionals, Jamie Dantzscher increased her win streak on floor to 19 meets. She is won eight times in as many meets this year and won 10 straight last year. The last time Dantzscher did not place first on floor was on Jan. 13, 2002 at Georgia. Jeanette Antolin had her five-meet win streak on vault snapped at the Regional despite sticking her vault. For the year, Antolin has won 10 times overall, including eight of her last 10 competitions. Kate Richardson had an eight-meet win streak on beam snapped on Mar. 16. She has nine victories in 13 meets.

Bruins Are Beaming - At the team prelims, the Bruins' final event of the competition will be the balance beam, which has proven to be a good rotation for the team this year. The Bruins' highest season average comes on beam, where they are averaging a national-best 49.36. UCLA has closed out victories several times this year on the beam in the final rotation. At Michigan on Mar. 7, the Bruins led by just .425 after three rotations, and needed to hit beam in order to win the meet.. Four Bruins scored 9.85 or higher, leading to a team score of 49.35 to Michigan's 49.3 on floor. At Arizona State on Feb. 16, the Bruins were clinging to a one-tenth of a point (148.675-148.575) lead with the Sun Devils moving to the floor exercise. UCLA needed just about all of the school record 49.725 it earned on beam to secure the victory. The Bruins dropped a 9.875 as its lowest score and counted a 9.9 from Alyssa Beckerman, a 9.925 in the leadoff position from Malia Jones, a pair of 9.95s from Onnie Willis and Yvonne Tousek and a 10 from Kate Richardson. Earlier in the year, the Bruins erased a .525 deficit at Cal State Fullerton and won by a .2 margin after scoring a 49.375 on beam. The Bruins are no strangers to closing out big victories on the balance beam. UCLA won its last two NCAA titles in 2000 and 2001 with killer performances in the final rotation on balance beam.

Models Of Consistency - NCAA all-around champions Jamie Dantzscher (2002) and Onnie Willis (2001) have displayed this season the consistent effort that helped them capture their respective championships. The two Bruins have hit all of their routines this season. Dantzscher is 32-32 with no score lower than 9.775 and 26 scores of 9.9 or higher. Willis is 44-44 and has hit 27 9.9 or higher routines. In addition, Dantzscher has hit 26 consecutive routines on bars and has scored 9.95 or higher on 20 straight floor routines. Kristin Parker has hit 40 straight vaults, Yvonne Tousek has hit 27 consecutive beam routines, and Jeanette Antolin has hit 33-33 for her career on vault.

Perfect Bruins - The Bruins have scored a school-record 19 perfect 10s this season. Jamie Dantzscher leads the pack with 10 - two on vault, three on bars and five on floor - to tie her own school record of perfect 10s in a season, set last year. Freshman Kate Richardson has four 10.0s - two each on beam and floor. Richardson is the first Bruin ever to score multiple 10s on the balance beam. Jeanette Antolin has earned three perfect 10s on vault. Also scoring perfect 10s this year are Onnie Willis on floor and Yvonne Tousek on bars.

All-Arounders All-Around - UCLA has no shortage of all-around gymnasts this season. Eight Bruins have competed all-around so far - Jamie Dantzscher, Onnie Willis, Kate Richardson, Kristin Parker, Yvonne Tousek, Jeanette Antolin, Malia Jones and Christie Tedmon. Six of the eight have scored above 39.4 - Richardson (high of 39.825), Willis (39.8), Dantzscher (39.775), Antolin (39.7), Tousek (39.525) and Parker (39.45).

Bruins Become First Five-Time 198 Team - UCLA has reached the 198 plateau an unprecedented five times this season and ties Georgia for the all-time NCAA record with seven scores of 198+ in the program's history. UCLA's 198 scores this year came on Jan. 19 at the Bruin Classic (198.275), on Feb. 2 against Arkansas (198.175) , on Feb. 9 against Washington (198.575), on Feb. 23 at Arizona State (198.4) and on Mar. 29 in the Pac-10 Championships (198.175).

UCLA Loaded With Elite Talent - Nine of UCLA's 15 team members have been members of their countries' national teams, while five were on Olympic teams and eight were on World Championship teams. UCLA's 2000 Olympians are Alyssa Beckerman (U.S. alternate), Jamie Dantzscher (U.S.), Kristen Maloney (U.S.), Kate Richardson (Canada) and Yvonne Tousek (Canada, also 1996). Other World Championship team members are Jeanette Antolin (U.S.), Holly Murdock (Great Britain) and Doni Thompson (U.S.). Onnie Willis was a member of the U.S. National Team in 1996.

Seven Bruins have won National Championships for their respective countries - Beckerman (2000 beam), Dantzscher (1999 bars), Maloney (1998 and 1999 all-around, 2000 vault and floor), Murdock (2001 vault and beam), Richardson (2000 vault and 2001 all-around, vault, bars and beam), Thompson (1995 beam) and Tousek (1999 floor and vault, 2000 all-around, bars and floor).

Injury Update - All-Americans Kristen Maloney and Alyssa Beckerman will not compete due to injuries. Maloney has sat out the last two seasons due to a leg injury, and Beckerman has been out since dislocating her knee on floor exercise at Michigan on March 7.

UCLA To Host 2004 NCAA Championships - Pauley Pavilion will play host to the 2004 NCAA Championships on Apr. 15-17, 2004. Tickets for the Championships will go on sale Apr. 28 at the UCLA Central Ticket Office (310/UCLA-WIN or www.tickets.ucla.edu).

Between The Bars - UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field has been writing a weekly diary for UCLABruins.com. You can read her latest entry at www.uclabruins.com.

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