UCLA Gymnastics Squad Hosts Georgia, Arizona

Feb. 23, 2005

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UCLA Hosts Georgia, Arizona - The second-ranked UCLA Bruins (9-2) will play host to eighth-ranked Georgia (8-4) and 17th-ranked Arizona (10-5) in a triangular meet at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 2 pm. The meet will feature teams that have won a combined 10 NCAA Championships (5 each for UCLA and Georgia).

Follow The Action Live - Live streaming video and live scoring will be available on the UCLA webpage, www.uclabruins.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.

Join The 'Cub Club' - At each home meet, a different Bruin Cub will be a collectible Bruin Cub. There will be a different bear for sale at each meet. The third bear in the Cub Club Series will be available for purchase for $7.50 at Sunday's meet. Everyone who purchases a Cub will receive an email update from a different Bruin gymnast each week. Also available at Sunday's meet is a UCLA Gymnastics meet program/poster, distributed free to the first 500 people in attendance. This week's program features a poster of senior Kristen Maloney.

Nearly 20 Former National Team Members In Competition Sunday - Between the three teams, there will be 19 former National Team members from three countries competing on Sunday. UCLA has a trio of Olympians in Kristen Maloney (2000 U.S. team), Kate Richardson (2000 and 2004 Canadian teams) and Tasha Schwikert (2000 U.S. team, 2004 U.S. alternate and two-time World Championships medalist), not to mention former U.S. national team members Jordan Schwikert, Lindsey Vanden Eykel and Lori Winn and former Canadian World Championships competitor Ashley Peckett. More than half of Georgia's squad were national team members - Nikki Childs, Michelle Emmons, Katie Heenan, Ashley Kupets, Samantha Sheehan, Brittany Smith and Brittany Thome. Heenan and Sheehan each won individual bronze medals at the World Championships - Heenan on uneven bars (and team) in 2001 and Sheehan on floor exercise in 2002. The Georgia duo also competed at the 2004 Olympic Trials. For Arizona, Monica Bisordi is a former U.S. National Team member. Danielle Hicks, Abby Pearson and Aubrey Taylor were on the Canadian National Team, and Danyra Varela is a former Mexican National Team member.

UCLA In The Rankings - The Bruins vaulted up to No. 2 in the national rankings, which are now based on regional qualifying score (RQS). UCLA currently holds an RQS of 196.465. 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 in the Top 5 on all events - No. 1 on bars (49.180 RQS), No. 2 on vault (49.240), No. 4 on beam (48.920) and No. 5 on floor (49.155). Senior Kristen Maloney leads the nation in the all-around for the fifth-straight week, holding an RQS of 39.530, with a national season-best 39.75 earned last month. She is one of four Bruin gymnasts ranked in the Top 25. Joining her are No. 2 Tasha Schwikert (39.460), No. 9 Kate Richardson (39.215) and No. 24 Jordan Schwikert (39.0). Maloney remains ranked No. 1 on balance beam with an RQS of 9.915. She is also ranked No. 2 on vault (9.905) and bars (9.89) and No. 8 on floor (9.88). T. Schwikert also ranks in the Top 10 on all four events - No. 3 on bars (9.885), No. 6 on beam (9.865), No. 8 on floor (9.88) and No. 9 on vault (9.885). Richardson holds Top 10 ranking on three events, checking in at No. 2 on beam (9.9), No. 4 on vault (9.9) and No. 7 on floor (9.88). Lindsey Vanden Eykel ranks 20th on bars (9.825).

A Look At The Gym Dogs - Five-time NCAA champion Georgia competes at Utah on Friday prior to facing UCLA and Arizona. Entering the week, the Gym Dogs had dropped four straight contests. Georgia boasts a talented young squad that is led by 2001 World Championships multiple-bronze medalist Katie Heenan and 2004 SEC Freshman of the Year Kelsey Ericksen. Heenan and Ericksen are currently ranked 18th and 19th, respectively, in the national all-around rankings. Georgia has won the SEC Championships three of the last four years and stands with UCLA as the only two teams that have qualified for every NCAA Super Six Team Championship. UCLA is 4-11 against Georgia in the regular season but won last year's dual meet, 197.85-197.475 in Athens.

A Look At The Wildcats - All-American senior Monica Bisordi leads Arizona, which has posted a season-high of 195.225. Bisordi was named this week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week after winning her third-straight all-around title and scoring a season-high 39.425 against Oregon State. Fellow senior Katie Johnson is the lone Wildcat in the Top 25 rankings, registering at No. 23 on vault with an RQS of 9.84. Johnson also excels on floor exercise, where she has placed first in five of her last six meets. UCLA is 47-3 in the regular season against Arizona but lost last year's meet at Tucson, 196.725-194.625.

Bruins Down Stanford - UCLA recorded its second-highest road score of the season at Stanford, defeating the Cardinal, 196.3-194.625. The two teams were just .05 apart after two rotations, but UCLA pulled away in the third rotation, scoring a 49.225 on floor while Stanford faltered on beam with a 47.55. Tasha Schwikert won the all-around with a 39.4 to lead a UCLA 1-2-3 sweep. Jordan Schwikert placed second (39.175), and Kristen Maloney was third (39.15). Kate Richardson competed on just three events due to a sprained thumb ligament suffered in warm-ups, but she nevertheless won all three of her events, scoring a 9.925 on vault, 9.9 on a new beam routine and 9.925 on floor. Richardson will sit out this weekend's competition due to the injury.

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 five straight weeks, averaging 39.507 in seven all-around appearances. She posted a national-high and career-best 39.75 on Jan. 23 and has scored 9.9 or higher on 18 of 30 routines competed and 9.8 or higher on 28 of 30 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 are 1/3 of the Top 9 in the national all-around rankings, with Maloney ranking No. 1, Schwikert No. 2 and Richardson No. 9. In addition, Jordan Schwikert ranks No. 24. No other school has as many gymnasts ranked in the Top 25 in the all-around. One of the three Olympians has won the all-around in seven of UCLA's nine meets, with Tasha Schwikert leading the way with three wins, and Maloney and Richardson each capturing two wins apiece.

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