UCLA Gymnasts Place First at NCAA Prelminaries
April 24, 2003
Lincoln, NE - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team placed first in the afternoon preliminary session of the NCAA Championships at the University of Nebraska's Bob Devaney Center Thursday afternoon. UCLA totaled a 196.95 to qualify for the NCAA Super Six Team Finals, along with second-place Alabama (196.775) and third-place Michigan (196.125). The Bruins qualify for the Super Six Team Finals for the 11th consecutive year and have qualified for every Super Six since its inception in 1993.
The Bruins started the meet strong on the floor exercise, earning a 49.375. Jeanette Antolin led the rotation off with a 9.825. Kristin Parker had a step out of bounds on her first tumbling pass but otherwise hit a clean routine that scored a 9.725. Malia Jones followed with a 9.8, and Kate Richardson and Onnie Willis recorded a pair of 9.9s. Jamie Dantzscher, the defending NCAA floor exercise champion scored a 9.95 with a flawless routine that earned one 10.0 from one judge.
On vault in the next rotation, the Bruins continued to score high marks, earning a 49.4. Willis led the team with a 9.95 for her stuck Yurchenko layout full. Dantzscher contributed a 9.9, Antolin a 9.875, Parker a 9.85 and Richardson a 9.825.
Leading all teams after two events with a total of 98.775, .525 ahead of second-place Alabama, the Bruins moved to the uneven bars. Tousek, the 2001 NCAA bars champion, led off with a 9.85 on a solid routine. Senior Doni Thompson, in just her second competition of the season, earned a 9.8. Antolin earned a 9.9, Richardson a 9.875, and Dantzscher a 9.95 to give the Bruins a final team total of 49.375 and a three-event score of 148.15.
Going into the balance beam in the final rotation, UCLA needed a 48.65 to overtake Alabama, which finished the competition with a final team total of 196.775. Although the Bruins had to count a fall, they nonetheless scored a 48.8, led by Richardson's 9.925 for a first-place total of 196.95.
'I think we're right on track. I'm pleased with how we did,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'We definitely were not on fire by any means, but we just came out and did some good, solid routines. In hindsight, it's a good thing we had to count a fall on the balance beam in the last rotation because as a coach, you want them to be hungry going into (Friday) night for the team finals. I'm really proud of the way the team was able to compete the same all year long. We've had very little highs and lows, they've been very focused for every meet we've been in. We're right in the place we want to be.'
Dantzscher, last season's all-around champion, finished the competition leading the all-around with a score of 39.65 but was overtaken by Nebraska's Richelle Simpson, who totaled a 39.675 in the evening preliminary session.
'I have no idea if my score will hold up, but I just felt like I went out there and did my job for my team,' said Dantzscher after her competition. 'More importantly, I'm going to have to go out there and do my job tomorrow.'
Qualifying for the individual event finals and earning first-team All-America status were Dantzscher on vault, bars and floor; Richardson on bars, beam and floor; Willis on vault and floor; Antolin on vault and bars and Tousek on bars. Richardson and Willis joined Dantzscher as first-team All-Americans in the all-around, placing second and fourth, respectively, in the afternoon session. Parker earned second-team honors on vault, and Dantzscher and Willis claimed second-team honors on beam. Willis' four All-America honors give her 16 in her career, a new school record. Dantzscher now has 13 and has earned All-America honors for every event she has ever competed at the NCAA Championships (vault, bars and floor in 2001; all four events and the all-around in 2002 and 2003).
Team - Session One (Top 3 advance to Super Six Team Finals): 1. UCLA, 196.950; 2. Alabama, 196.775; 3. Michigan, 196.125; 4. Arizona State, 194.225; 5. LSU, 194.000; 6. Iowa, 193.825
Team - Session Two (Top 3 advance to Super Six Team Finals): 1. Nebraska, 197.325, 2. Utah, 196.850; 3. Georgia, 196.625; 4. Florida, 196.325; 5.Stanford, 196.200; 6. Auburn, 193.525.
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