UCLA Gymnastics Team Travels To Arizona State
Jan. 24, 2005
Bruins Visit Arizona State - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (5-1) will face No. 17 Arizona State in a dual meet in Tempe, AZ on Friday, Jan. 28. The meet will take place at Wells Fargo Arena on the ASU campus at 7:30 pm Mountain Time.
UCLA In The Rankings - With national rankings now being based on total season average, the Bruins moved back into the No. 1 spot with an average of 196.5. The Bruins have scored 197+ in three of their four meets this season. UCLA is also ranked No. 1 on vault (49.219) and bars (49.25), No. 2 on beam (49.069) and No. 9 on floor (48.962). Senior Kristen Maloney is the nation's No. 1 all-around gymnast, averaging 39.558 with a national season-best 39.75 earned last weekend. She is one of four Bruin gymnasts ranked in the Top 7. Joining her are No. 3 Kate Richardson (39.5), No. 5 Tasha Schwikert (39.3) and No. 7 Jordan Schwikert (39.3). Maloney is also ranked No. 2 on vault and beam and third on bars. Richardson is tied with Maloney for No. 2 on vault and is tied for third on beam and 17th on floor. Tasha Schwikert ranks 14th on vault, fifth on bars and 22nd on beam. Lindsey Vanden Eykel ranks seventh on bars, while Lori Winn is tied for 23rd, and Jordan Schwikert ranks eighth on balance beam.
Maloney Named UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete Of The Week - Senior Kristen Maloney was named the UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week for Jan. 18-23 after winning the all-around with a career-high tying 39.75 and claiming top honors on vault, bars and beam in a UCLA victory over Cal, Sacramento State and Cal State Fullerton. Maloney has been outstanding since her return to gymnastics after a two-year battle with leg injuries. As a freshman, she helped the Bruins win the 2001 NCAA Championship, then she sat out the 2002 and 2003 seasons to heal her injured leg. She returned with a vengeance in 2004 and again helped the Bruins win the NCAA title, scoring a meet-high 39.725 in the all-around at the team finals. In 2005, she is ranked No. 1 in the all-around with an average of 39.558 and has scored a 9.9 or higher on eight of 14 routines competed and 9.825 or higher on 13 of 14.
A Look At The Sun Devils - Arizona State is coming off two straight losses to Pac-10 foes, losing 193.925-193.5 at Arizona on Jan. 21 and falling 193.05-192.75 to Washington on Jan. 14. The Sun Devils opened the season with a 195.7 score at the Maui Invitational. ASU is led by defending NCAA balance beam champion Ashley Kelly, who has won the all-around in ASU's last two competitions. The last time UCLA and Arizona State met in Wells Fargo Arena, both teams scored 198+ points, with the Bruins coming out on top, 198.4-198.1.
UCLA Wins Quad Meet With 197.15 - UCLA surpassed the 197 mark for the third time this season, scoring 197.15 to easily win a quadrangular meet against California, Sacramento State and Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins outscored the second-place Golden Bears by nearly six points. UCLA senior Kristen Maloney won the all-around with a career-high tying 39.75 and claimed top honors on vault (tied with Tasha Schwikert), bars and beam. Schwikert ended the meet with her first perfect 10 on floor exercise.
Walker Has Breakthrough Performance - Sophomore Courtney Walker had another breakthrough performance, setting career-highs on two events for the second week in a row. Walker, who set her best marks on bars (9.625) and floor (9.675) at Oregon State on Jan. 14, raised her game even more in her appearance in Pauley Pavilion. On vault, she threw a Yurchenko layout full for the first time in competition and scored a 9.85, two-tenths higher than her previous career-best. And as a late substitute on floor, she tumbled her way to another career-best 9.875 to help the Bruins achieve a season-high floor score of 49.6. Walker's 2004 season was cut short just as it started when she injured her ankle in the season opener on vault. She competed just one other time a month later at Cal State Fullerton. In 2005, she is regaining the form that saw her win nine Level 10 State championships in her career.
Tasha Schwikert Finds Perfection Twice - Freshman Tasha Schwikert earned her second 10.0 of the season last weekend, this time recording a 10 on floor exercise. She scored a 10 on uneven bars on Jan. 17. Schwikert is one of only four gymnasts in the nation to score perfect 10s so far this season and the only one to do so on two different events.
About The Bruins - UCLA is coached by four-time national coach of the year Valorie Kondos Field. The Bruins return two All-Americans from last year's championship squad, both Olympians - 2000 U.S. Olympian and five-time All-American Kristen Maloney and two-time Canadian Olympian and eight-time All-American Kate Richardson. Adding to UCLA's Olympian pool is freshman Tasha Schwikert, Maloney's 2000 teammate and an alternate at the 2004 Games. Other notable returners for UCLA are Ashley Peckett, Lori Winn and Christie Tedmon, all key contributors to the Bruins' championship run last season. Sophomores Michelle Selesky and Courtney Walker should also see significant action in 2005. Joining Schwikert in the freshman class is her younger sister Jordan, a former two-time U.S. National Team member, and Lindsey Vanden Eykel, a former two-time U.S. National uneven bars champion.
Richardson Returns After Olympic Success - Junior Kate Richardson made history this summer when she became the first UCLA female gymnast to compete in the Olympics as a collegiate athlete. Richardson earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic team for the second-straight Games and qualified for the all-around finals after a 14th-place preliminary finish. She also became the first Canadian woman ever to qualify for event finals on floor exercise at the Olympic Games and only the second Canadian woman to make any event final at the Olympics. She finished seventh on floor.
Sister Act - Freshmen Tasha and Jordan Schwikert are the first pair of sisters to compete concurrently for UCLA's gymnastics team. Tasha, 20, deferred enrollment in college to train towards an Olympic berth. Jordan, 18, just graduated in the spring from Centennial HS in Las Vegas, NV. The two sisters trained together at Gym Cats and were both U.S. National Team members. Tasha was a member of the 2000 Olympic squad and captain of the 2003 World Championship gold medal-winning team. She has won six U.S. National titles in her career and was an alternate for the 2004 Olympic Games. Jordan was a rising star who made the National Team from 2001-02, but a back injury kept her out of gymnastics in 2003, and she returned in 2004 as a Level 10 champion. Both Schwikerts are ranked in the Top 7 nationally in the all-around, with Tasha fifth and Jordan seventh.