Bruin Gymnasts Travel To Stanford

Feb. 15, 2005

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UCLA at Stanford Feb. 18 - The ninth-ranked UCLA Bruins (8-2) will travel to Stanford this weekend for a dual meet against the defending Pac-10 champion Cardinal. The meet will take place on Friday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm in Maples Pavilion.

Follow The Action Live - Live streaming video and live scoring will be available on the Stanford webpage, www.gostanford.com. To access the video, you must have a high-speed connection and subscribe to the College Sports Pass, which costs $6.95 per month on $49.95 for the year. If you purchased the College Sports Pass through UCLA's website, your account is also valid on the Stanford site.

UCLA In The Rankings - The Bruins dropped to No. 9 in the national rankings despite two victories over the weekend. National rankings are still based on season average but will change over to regional qualifying score (RQS) next week. UCLA currently has the second-highest RQS in the nation. UCLA's season average is 195.437, while its RQS is 196.105. RQS is totaled by taking the team's top six scores, three of which must be away, throwing out the high score and averaging the remaining five.UCLA is ranked No. 6 on vault (49.034 average) and beam (48.812), No. 9 on bars (48.834) and No. 20 on floor (48.756). Senior Kristen Maloney leads the nation in the all-around for the fourth-straight week, averaging 39.567 with a national season-best 39.75 earned last month. She is one of three Bruin gymnasts ranked in the Top 6. Joining her are No. 3 Tasha Schwikert (39.396) and No. 6 Kate Richardson (39.283). Maloney, who was ranked No. 1 on bars last week, is now ranked No. 1 on beam this week with a season average of 9.918. She is also ranked No. 3 on vault (9.904), No. 4 on bars (9.887) and No. 24 on floor (9.85). Schwikert ranks seventh on bars and 13th on vault and beam. Richardson ranks 10th on vault.

Richardson Named Pac-10 Gymnast Of The Week - Junior and two-time Olympian Kate Richardson was named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week after outstanding performances at Cal State Fullerton and against Washington. In her only event of the evening at Fullerton, Richardson placed first on beam with a 9.9, the only mark above 9.8 in the entire competition. She was even more impressive against Washington, winning the all-around with a season-high 39.625 and placing first on vault (season-high 9.95) and bars and placing second on beam and floor.

Maloney Marvelous In Final Season - Fifth-year senior Kristen Maloney has been the standout performer in the nation so far in the 2005 season. The former U.S. Olympian has been ranked No. 1 in the all-around for four straight weeks, averaging 39.567 in six all-around appearances. She posted a national-high and career-best 39.75 on Jan. 23 and has scored 9.9 or higher on 17 of 26 routines competed and 9.8 or higher on 25 of 26 routines.

Maloney continues to be an inspiration since her return to gymnastics in 2004 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.

Olympic Trio Packs Powerful 1-2-3 Punch - UCLA's three Olympians Kristen Maloney, Kate Richardson and Tasha Schwikert have combined to form the most formidable all-around trio in the nation. The three Bruins make up half of the Top 6 in the national rankings in the all-around, with Maloney ranking No. 1, Schwikert No. 3 and Richardson No. 6. One of the three has won the all-around in six of UCLA's eight meets, with each capturing two wins apiece and the trio sweeping the Top 3 placings in two meets.

Walker Continues Breakthrough Season - Sophomore Courtney Walker had yet another breakthrough performance, winning the all-around at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 11. Competing in the all-around for the first time in her Bruin career, Walker hit all four of her routines to score 38.15. She tied for third place on floor with a 9.675 and was fourth on bars with a 9.575 (received a 9.7 from one judge). This season, Walker has set career-highs on all four events - 9.85 on vault, 9.725 on bars, 9.3 on beam and 9.875 on floor. She has competed on floor in UCLA's last five meets. 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 Fullerton. In 2005, she is regaining the form that saw her win nine Level 10 State championships in her career.

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 Courtney Walker and Michelle Selesky and senior Kisha Auld have also seen 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.

Scouting The Cardinal - 2004 Pac-10 Champion Stanford has struggled with injuries this season and have fallen out of the national rankings as a result. But the Cardinal is back on the mend with the return of defending Pac-10 all-around champion Natalie Foley to all-around competition and the debut of freshman Tabitha Yim two weeks ago. Foley was nursing a sprained ankle, and Yim was recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered two days after finishing fourth at the Olympic Trials. Foley and Yim are both ranked No. 5 in the nation on balance beam. Yim is fourth on bars, just behind teammate and fellow Olympic Trials competitor Liz Tricase.

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 35 nationally in the all-around, with Tasha third and Jordan 31st. Tasha is one of only seven gymnasts in the nation to score perfect 10s so far this season and the only one to do so on two different events.

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