No. 3 UCLA Gymnastics Squad To Face No. 2 Michigan Friday In Ann Arbor
Jan. 31, 2005
Bruins Travel To Michigan - The third-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (6-1) will travel to No. 2 Michigan (5-1) for a dual meet at Crisler Arena at 7:30 pm ET. Live stats and commentary will be available at www.umgym.com.
Four Olympians In Action Friday Night - Four Olympians will be competing in Friday's meet. Three of the four are Bruins - 2000 U.S. Olympian Kristen Maloney, 2000 U.S. Olympian and 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate Tasha Schwikert, and 2000 and 2004 Canadian Olympian Kate Richardson. Michigan senior Elise Ray was captain of the 2000 U.S. Olympic squad. The former U.S. teammates Maloney, Schwikert and Ray have won five of the last seven U.S. all-around national titles (Maloney in 1998 and 1999, Ray in 2000 and Schwikert in 2001 and 2002). The trio have combined for 16 U.S. National titles. On the collegiate level, Ray has won three NCAA titles (2001 all-around, 2002 beam, 2004 bars), and Maloney has been a part of three NCAA team titles (2001, 2003, 2004). Richardson, the 2001 Canadian all-around champion, has won two NCAA individual titles (2003 bars and beam) and two NCAA team titles (2003 and 2004).
UCLA In The Rankings - The Bruins slipped two notches to No. 3 in the national rankings, which are based on season average, with an average of 196.055. The Bruins have scored 197+ in three of their five meets this season. UCLA is ranked No. 2 on vault (49.180) and bars (49.225), No. 3 on beam (49.005) and No. 22 on floor (48.645). Senior Kristen Maloney continues to lead the nation in the all-around, averaging 39.562 with a national season-best 39.75 earned two weeks ago. She is one of four Bruin gymnasts ranked in the Top 5. Joining her are No. 3 Tasha Schwikert (39.415) and No. 5 Kate Richardson (39.3) and Jordan Schwikert (39.3). Maloney is also ranked No. 2 on beam and No. 3 on vault and bars. Tasha Schwikert ranks fourth on bars, 10th on vault and 15th on beam. Richardson ranks third on beam and 17th on vault. Lindsey Vanden Eykel ranks 13th on bars, while Lori Winn is 21st.
A Look At The Wolverines - Michigan has been very consistent this season, averaging 196.131 on the year, with no score lower than a 195.9. The Wolverines' only loss of the season came last weekend at Utah, when they were edged out 196.875-196.525. Elise Ray (No. 14) and Lindsey Bruck (No. 21) are ranked in the Top 25 in the all-around, and Ray is second on uneven bars and seventh on beam. Bruck ranks 12th on beam. Jenny Deiley is also ranked on two events - vault (T-11th) and bars (T-14th). Freshman Katie Lieberman is tied for 19th on vault. The Wolverines boast six All-Americans - Bruck, Becca Clauson, Deiley, Chelsea Kroll (injured and out for the year), Lauren Mirkovich and Ray.
Bruins Hang On To Win At ASU - The Bruins used clutch performances on balance beam in the final rotation to defeat Arizona State on the road, 194.275-193.4. The Bruins suffered multiple falls on floor exercise in the third rotation and watched their lead of 1.325 points shrink to 0.65 heading into the final rotation on balance beam. With two falls on their first three routines, the pressure mounted for the final trio of Tasha Schwikert, Kate Richardson and Kristen Maloney, but the Olympic trio showed nerves of steel, posting scores of 9.875, 9.925 and 9.9, respectively, to secure the win. Schwikert won the all-around with a career-high tying 39.625. Maloney was a close second with a 39.575. Schwikert won floor with a 9.95, Maloney took vault with a 9.925, and Richardson tied for first on beam with a 9.925.
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.
Maloney A Model Of Consistency - Fifth-year senior Kristen 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 39.562 and has posted the nation's top all-around score with a 39.75 on Jan. 23. Maloney also ranks second on beam and third on vault and bars. She has scored a 9.9 or higher on 11 of 18 routines competed and 9.825 or higher on 17 of 18.
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 5 nationally in the all-around, with Tasha third and Jordan fifth. Tasha is one of only five gymnasts in the nation to score perfect 10s so far this season and the only one to do so on two different events.