UCLA Gymnasts Seek 12th Pac-10 Conference Title
March 22, 2005
UCLA At Pac-10 Championships - The third-ranked UCLA Bruins (14-3) will kick off post-season competition on Saturday, Mar. 26 at the Pac-10 Conference Championships. The Championships will take place at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, CA at 3:00 pm. The Bruins have won a Pac-10 best 11 titles overall, including two in the last three years.
Rotation Order - UCLA will follow Olympic order at the Championships, beginning the meet on vault, then moving to a bye, then bars, beam and another bye before finishing on floor. The Bruins will have a bye in the seventh and final rotation. Rotation order for the championship meet was determined by blind draw a year prior to the meet.
TV - Fox Sports Net will televise the meet on a tape-delayed basis. It will be aired locally on Fox Sports West on Thursday, Mar. 31 at 12:00 pm. Check your local listings for other broadcast dates and times. Barry Tompkins and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden will call the action.
Live Coverage - Live stats will be available via the Cal website at www.calbears.com.
Pac-10 Championship History - With 11 Pac-10 titles (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003), UCLA has won the most conference championships. Oregon State (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996) and Stanford (1998, 2001, 2004) are the only other teams to win the title. Bruins dominate in the individual championships as well, with a conference-best 56 individual champions. The Bruins have been especially dominant in the all-around, winning 13 titles, including seven in the last eight years. UCLA gymnasts have won 14 titles on bars, 12 on floor, nine on vault and eight on beam.
Richardson, Maloney Look To Defend Their Titles - Two-time Conference floor exercise champion Kate Richardson and reigning balance beam co-champ Kristen Maloney are back to defend their titles. Richardson won her titles with perfect 10s in both 2003 and 2004. She also won the all-around title in 2003 with a Championships record 39.825. Maloney won a share of the beam title in 2004 with a score of 9.95.
Six other returning and former champions are expected to compete as well - Stanford's Natalie Foley (2004 all-around, vault, bars), Arizona State's Ashley Kelly (2004 beam), Washington's Carly Dockendorf (2003 bars) and Molly Seaman (2004 beam), Arizona's Stevie Fanning (2002 beam) and Oregon State's Chrissy Lamun (2003 floor). My-Lan Dodd of Cal, who shared the beam title in 2004, suffered a career-ending injury this past weekend and will not be able to compete.
Conference Awards To Be Handed Out - Conference awards for Gymnast of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will be handed out at the conclusion of the meet. Last season, UCLA's Jeanette Antolin earned Gymnast of the Year honors, giving the Bruins eight consecutive Gymnast of the Year awards (Onnie Willis in 2003, Jamie Dantzscher in 2002, Mohini Bhardwaj in 2001, Heidi Moneymaker in 2000, Kiralee Hayashi in 1999, Stella Umeh in 1998 and Leah Homma in 1997). In all, Bruins have won this award 13 times in 18 years. Head coach Valorie Kondos Field has won Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times (1995, 2000, 2003). UCLA has produced two conference Freshmen of the Year - Richardson in 2003 and Doni Thompson in 2000.
UCLA In The Rankings: Maloney, Schwikert 1-2 In All-Around - The Bruins are ranked No. 3 in the national rankings, which are based on regional qualifying score (RQS). UCLA currently holds an RQS of 196.930. 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 4 on all events - No. 1 on vault (49.380 RQS) and bars (49.255), No. 3 on floor (49.345) and No. 4 on beam (49.165). Senior Kristen Maloney and freshman Tasha Schwikert are 1-2 in the all-around for the fifth consecutive week. Maloney leads the nation for the ninth-straight week, holding an RQS of 39.615, with a national season-best 39.825 earned earlier this month. Schwikert, who also scored a 39.825 this month, is right behind with a 39.580. Freshman Jordan Schwikert jumped into the rankings at 16th (39.315). Maloney is ranked in the Top 4 on all four events - No. 3 on vault (9.930) and floor (9.925) and No. 4 on bars (9.905) and beam (9.925). Tasha is tied with defending NCAA floor exercise co-champion Ashley Miles of Alabama for No. 1 in the nation on floor exercise with a RQS of 9.95 and is ranked in the Top 12 on the other three events - No. 2 on bars (9.920), No. 6 on vault (9.920) and No. 12 on beam (9.885). Younger sister Jordan is now ranked No. 22 on bars (9.865), and Kate Richardson ranks No. 5 on beam (9.920), No. 9 on floor (9.905) and No. 10 on vault (9.9).
UCLA Rallies To Win Arkansas Quad - The fifth-ranked UCLA gymnastics team rallied in the final rotation to overtake third-rotation leader and third-ranked Nebraska in a quad meet at the University of Arkansas on Mar. 19. UCLA finished with a total of 196.85, followed by Nebraska's 196.625, Arkansas' 195.625 and Oregon State's 195.55. The Bruins trailed the Huskers, 147.575-147.4, heading into vault in the fourth rotation and scored a meet-high 49.45 to overtake Nebraska, which scored 49.05 on bars. With the heat on due to a fall from the first vaulter, big scores were needed from the final five competitors, and they all delivered. Ashley Peckett earned a 9.775. Kate Richardson totaled 9.85, and Jordan Schwikert tied her career-high with a 9.9. Tasha Schwikert earned a 9.95, and Kristen Maloney clinched the win with a season-high 9.975.
Maloney Named Pac-10 Gymnast Of The Week - Senior Kristen Maloney was named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for the fourth time this season after winning the all-around at the Arkansas quad. Maloney scored a 39.6 to take her fifth all-around title this year, and her meet-high and season-high 9.975 on vault clinched the come-from-behind victory for UCLA in the final rotation. Maloney also scored a 9.95 on vault to tie for second, a 9.8 on bars and a 9.875 on beam.
Bruins Score National Season-Best 197.85 - UCLA scored a national season-high 197.85 in its final home meet of the season on Mar. 6 to defeat Florida, which recorded a season-high away score of 196.65. The Bruins led by just two-tenths at the halfway mark but pulled away with huge scores on balance beam and floor exercise (49.575 on each event). Senior Kristen Maloney and freshman Tasha Schwikert tied for first in the all-around with career-highs of 39.825. Each gymnast scored a perfect 10 - Maloney with her first ever on bars and Schwikert with her second on floor.
Maloney Makes UCLA History - Senior Kristen Maloney made history on Mar. 6 when she became the first Bruin gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 on every event in her career. Her 10.0 on uneven bars completed her set of 10.0s. She had previously scored perfect marks on vault in 2004 and balance beam and floor exercise in 2001. Only three other gymnasts in NCAA history have ever scored 10s on all four events - Georgia's Karin Lichey and Heather Stepp and Utah's Missy Marlowe.
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 nine-straight weeks, averaging 39.553 in 10 all-around appearances. She (and teammate Tasha Schwikert) posted a national-high and career-best 39.825 on Mar. 6. Maloney has scored 9.9 or higher on 27 of 42 routines competed and 9.8 or higher on 40 of 42 routines. She has even upgraded her already difficult floor exercise routine, throwing a triple twist as her last tumbling pass on Mar. 6. Maloney's floor passes are double layout, whip to immediate double pike and triple-twist. The first and last passes are E elements, and the middle pass is a B+D, which holds .3 bonus.
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.
Richardson Back In Limited Capacity - Junior All-American and two-time Olympian Kate Richardson has returned to competition after sitting out the Feb. 27 meet against Georgia and Arizona. Richardson suffered a functional rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb during warmups at Stanford on Feb. 18. Despite the injury, she competed in that meet and won all three events on which she performed - vault, beam and floor. After resting for one week, she returned on Mar. 6 against Florida and tied for first on balance beam with a season-best 9.975 and was third on floor with a season-high tying 9.925. Richardson returned to the vault lineup on Mar. 19 and scored a 9.85. She also won beam at that meet with a 9.925 and scored a 9.775 on floor. Richardson will not see any action the rest of the year on uneven bars.
Perfect Bruins - Despite the stricter scoring system this year, UCLA gymnasts have still seen their share of perfect 10s. Freshman Tasha Schwikert is tied with LSU's April Burkholder for most perfect 10s this year with three - two on floor exercise and one on uneven bars. Senior Kristen Maloney also received a 10 this year on the uneven bars, giving her perfect 10s on all four events in her storied UCLA career. Junior Kate Richardson, who has scored 10 10.0s in her career, has come close twice this year, scoring a 9.975 on bars on Jan. 17 and on beam on Mar. 6. Maloney has also had a few near-misses, scoring 9.975 on beam Mar. 6 and Jan. 17 and on vault Mar. 19. She also had a 9.95 on floor Mar. 6 with one judge giving her a perfect 10. Schwikert has three 9.975s in addition to her three 10s.
Kisha Auld - Competed in five meets, with a season-best of 9.7 set Feb. 11 at Cal State Fullerton ... Placed third at that meet, her highest placement in any meet in her two-year career ... Averages 9.635 on the year ... Performed an exhibition on floor exercise in her final home meet Mar. 6 and scored a 9.75.
Kristen Maloney - Ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around for the last nine weeks ... Also ranked in the Top 4 on all four events - No. 3 on vault and floor and No. 4 on bars and beam ... Clinched the team victory at the Arkansas quad with a near-perfect 9.975 on vault and also won the all-around with a 39.6 ... Scored a national season-high and a personal-best 39.825 on Mar. 6 against Florida ... She bettered her previous national-best mark of 39.75, set Jan. 23 ... Averaging 39.553 in 10 all-around appearances ... Has placed first in the all-around in five meets and in the Top 3 nine times ... Scored a perfect 10 on bars on Mar. 6 to become the first UCLA gymnast ever and only the fourth gymnast in NCAA history to score a perfect 10 on all four events in her career ... Has scored 9.9 or higher on 27 of 42 routines (64%) and 9.8 or higher on 40 of 42 routines (95%) ... Averages 9.87 or higher on all four events - 9.909 on vault, 9.89 on bars, 9.871 on beam and 9.883 on floor ... Four-time Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 18-24, Feb. 1-6, Mar. 1-6, Mar. 15-20) ... Leads UCLA with 21 individual victories, including team-highs of six on vault and six on beam ... Also has two wins each on bars and floor ... Tied for the team lead in Top 3 placements with 41 - 10 on vault, 9 in the all-around, 8 on beam and floor and 6 on bars.
Ashley Peckett - Has competed on at least two events in all 12 meets ... Averaging 9.798 on vault with a season-high of 9.875 set on Jan. 23 ... Has scored 9.8 or higher on vault in seven of 11 meets ... Placed second on vault on Jan. 14 at Oregon State with a 9.85 ... Season-best on bars is 9.75, set twice in January ... Competed on beam five times with a high of 9.75 at Arizona State ... Scored season-bests of 9.8 on floor three times ... Earned a third-place showing on floor on Jan. 17 against Nebraska ... Placed third in the all-around at Oregon State with a 38.575.
Kate Richardson - Competing with a functional rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament on her thumb, an injury suffered during warmups at the Feb. 11 meet at Stanford ... The injury will prevent her from competing on bars the rest of the year ... Despite the injury, she still competed on three events at Stanford and won all three, scoring 9.925 on vault, 9.9 on beam and 9.925 on floor ... Also won beam on Mar. 6 against Florida with a season-high 9.975 and placed third on floor with a season-high tying 9.925 ... Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for Feb. 7-13 after winning the all-around with a season-best 39.625 and placing first on vault (season-high 9.95) and bars (9.85) and second on beam (9.9) and floor (season-high 9.925) ... All-around winner in the Nebraska dual meet with a score of 39.525 ... Has 12 individual victories, including six on beam and two in the all-around ... Ranked in the Top 10 on all three events on which she is competing - No. 5 on beam, No. 9 on floor and No. 10 on vault.
Jordan Schwikert - Averages 39.028 in nine all-around appearances and has scored a career-high 39.5 in her last two meets ... Ranked No. 16 in the nation in the all-around ... Scored a 39.4 in her first collegiate meet at Utah, scoring 9.8 or better on all four events ... Earned career-best marks on three events on Jan. 17 against Nebraska, scoring 9.925 on bars and beam and 9.875 on floor ... Averages 9.82 on vault with a career-high of 9.9 set her last two meets (Mar. 6 and Mar. 19) ... Averages 9.844 on floor and 9.794 on bars ... Ranked 22nd nationally on bars ... Earned her first career victory, tying for first on uneven bars at the Arkansas quad with a 9.85 ... Has posted 19 Top 3 finishes, including five on bars and all-around ... Placed second in the all-around Jan. 14, Jan. 17 and Feb. 18.
Tasha Schwikert - Ranked second in the nation in the all-around, as well as No. 1 on floor, No. 2 on bars, No.6 on vault and No. 12 on beam ... Averages 39.461 in 11 all-around appearances and scored a career-high and national season-best 39.825 on Mar. 6 against Florida to set a new UCLA freshman record ... Tied for first in the nation with three perfect 10s this season - two on floor and on bars ... Second on the UCLA squad with 18 individual victories, including team-highs of six on floor and five in the all-around ... Also has three wins on bars and two wins each on vault and beam ... Second on the squad with 41 Top 3 placements, including 10 on bars and the all-around ... Has scored 9.9 or higher on 22 of 44 routines (50%) and 9.8 or higher on 37 of 44 routines (84%) ... Averages over 9.825 on every event - 9.884 on vault, 9.886 on bars, 9.823 on beam and 9.861 on floor ... Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for Jan. 9-17 after winning the all-around and floor at Oregon State and scoring a perfect 10 on bars and 9.975 on beam against Nebraska.
Michelle Selesky - Competed on vault and floor at Arizona State and Cal State Fullerton ... Recorded a season-best 9.525 on floor at Fullerton.
Christie Tedmon - Mainstay in the lineup on vault, beam and floor ... Competed on beam in 11 of 12 meets with a season-high of 9.85 set Mar. 6 against Florida ... Placed second on beam at Oregon State with a 9.825 ... Scored a season-high 9.85 on floor Jan. 23 ... Placed second on floor and third in the all-around at Cal State Fullerton ... Earned a career-high 9.85 on vault in the season opener at Utah.
Lindsey Vanden Eykel - Has competed on uneven bars in all 12 meets with a career-best of 9.925 posted twice (Jan. 7 and Jan. 17) ... Placed first on bars twice - at Oregon State on Jan. 14 and at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 11 ... Averages 9.748 on bars ... Earned a career-high 9.85 on beam on Mar. 6 against Florida ... Averages 9.661 on beam ... Competed on floor four times, with a high of 9.675 set Jan. 17 ... Has placed in the Top 3 on bars five times and on beam once.
Courtney Walker - Recorded a victory in her first all-around competition, scoring 38.15 at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 11 ... Scored a career-high 9.85 on vault on Jan. 23 ... Career-best on uneven bars is 9.725, set Jan. 28 at Arizona State ... Scored a 9.3 on her first and only beam performance ... Averages 9.689 on floor in seven competitions, with a high of 9.875 set Jan. 23 ... Placed third on floor at Fullerton.
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 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.
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 20 nationally in the all-around, with Tasha second and Jordan 16th.
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.
Waller, Bhardwaj Team Up For Olympic Triumph - Bruin assistant coach Chris Waller played a significant role in the 2004 Olympic Games, coaching U.S. team captain and former Bruin Mohini Bhardwaj, who led the USA to a team silver medal. Bhardwaj also found individual success, qualifying for the floor exercise finals and placing seventh and placing eighth in all-around in preliminaries (she was unable to compete in the all-around finals, however, due to the two-per-country rule).
Comforte, Chan, Dantzscher Twins To Join Bruins In 2006 - UCLA has signed U.S. National Team member Kristina Comforte, Level 10 national all-around champion Melissa Chan and former international elites Jalynne and Janelle Dantzscher to national letters of intent. The four standouts will join the Bruin squad for the 2006 season. Comforte, from Burr Ridge, IL (Illinois Gymnastics Institute) was the national vault runner-up in 2003 and the junior national champion in 2002. She is a two-time national team member. Chan, a former U.S. junior national vault champion from Los Gatos (Airborne Gymnastics), won the 2004 Level 10 (Senior C) national titles in the all-around, vault and beam. The San Dimas-based Dantzscher twins are the younger sisters of former Bruin superstar Jamie Dantzscher and train at SCEGA. Jalynne won the 2004 Level 10 (Senior A) national all-around and floor exercise titles. Janelle placed 11th in the all-around, third on vault and fifth on beam at the Regional Championships in 2004 and was the all-around, beam and floor regional champion in 2003.