UCLA Gymnastics Team Seeks NCAA Berth At Regional Championships
April 5, 2005
UCLA At NCAA West Regionals - The second-ranked UCLA Bruins (20-3) will travel to Seattle, Wash. to compete in the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, Apr. 9. The Regional Championships will take place at the University of Washington's Bank of America Arena at 5:00 pm PT. The top two teams at each of the six regional meets around the country will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held Apr. 21-23 at Auburn, Ala.
The Regional Field - Competing against UCLA for two spots in the NCAA Championships are 11th-ranked Penn State, 14th-ranked Central Michigan, host Washington, Stanford and Boise State. Also in the hunt for individual NCAA berths are all-around competitors Jennifer Greene, Greta Leach and Michelle Minotti from San Jose State; Brittany Hoffman from Cal State Fullerton, and Debra Huss from Seattle Pacific. Individual event specialists competing are Dominique Ingram from Alaska (vault), Alexis Tsurumoto from Sacramento State (bars), Melissa Genovese from Sacramento State (beam) and Stefanie Aeder from Sacramento State (floor).
Rotation Order - UCLA will begin the meet on the uneven bars, the move to beam, a bye and floor exercise before ending vault. The Bruins will have a bye in the sixth and final rotation. Rotation order for the championship meet was determined by blind draw by the NCAA committee.
Live Coverage - Live stats will be available via the Washington website at www.gohuskies.com.
Regional Championship History - The Bruins have won 15 regional titles, including six consecutive and 11 in the last 12 years. In addition, a Bruin gymnast has won the all-around title at their regional in each of the last six years. Last season, UCLA scored a 197.325 to defeat second-place Nebraska in the NCAA Southeast Regional at North Carolina State. Jeanette Antolin won the all-around and uneven bars and tied with Kristen Maloney on vault with a perfect 10 and on beam with a 9.95.
UCLA In The Rankings: Maloney, Schwikert 1-2 In All-Around - The Bruins are ranked No. 2 in the national rankings, which are based on regional qualifying score (RQS). UCLA holds an RQS of 197.09. 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 (49.295), No. 3 on beam (49.285) and No. 5 on floor (49.345). Senior Kristen Maloney and freshman Tasha Schwikert are 1-2 in the all-around for the sixth consecutive week. Maloney leads the nation for the 10th-straight week, holding an RQS of 39.640, with a national season-best 39.825 earned last month. Schwikert, who also scored a 39.825 last month, is right behind with a 39.615. Freshman Jordan Schwikert joins them in the Top 25 at No. 21 (39.315). Maloney is ranked in the Top 5 on all four events - No. 3 on vault (9.930), beam (9.935) and floor (9.935) and No. 5 on bars (9.905). Tasha is ranked No. 1 in the nation on bars (9.94) and tied for No. 1 on floor (9.95). She is also ranked No. 7 on vault (9.92) and No. 9 on beam (9.9). Younger sister Jordan is now ranked No. 22 on bars (9.865), and Kate Richardson ranks No. 6 on beam (9.920), No. 11 on floor (9.91) and No. 13 on vault (9.9).
UCLA Wins 12th Pac-10 Title - UCLA reclaimed the Pac-10 Conference title, winning easily in Berkeley on Mar. 26 with a score of 197.1. Kristen Maloney and Tasha Schwikert dominated the meet, tying for the all-around title with scores of 39.7. Maloney also won the vault, beam (tied with ASU's Ashley Kelly) and floor, while Schwikert won the bars with a perfect 10. UCLA hit 24-for-24 routines en route to the victory.
Maloney Named Pac-10 Gymnast Of The Year - Senior Kristen Maloney became the ninth consecutive Bruin to earn Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year honors. Maloney's dominance this season was evident at the Pac-10 Championships, where she tied for first in the all-around and won the vault, beam and floor titles. The four-time Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around for 10 consecutive weeks and posted a national season-high all-around total of 39.825 on Mar. 6. At that meet, she made history by becoming 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 scored 9.9 or higher on 30 of 46 routines competed and 9.8 or higher on 44 of 46 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.
Schwikert Named Pac-10 Freshman Of The Year - Freshman Tasha Schwikert was selected the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in a season during which she tied for the conference all-around championship and won the uneven bars title with a perfect 10. Schwikert is No. 2 behind only Kristen Maloney in the national all-around rankings and No. 1 on the uneven bars and floor exercise. She has scored a national-best four perfect 10s this year - two each on bars and floor.
Schwikert has not only provided UCLA with spectacular routines, but she has also been very consistent, averaging over 9.825 on every event. She has scored 9.9 or higher on 26 of 48 routines (54%) and 9.8 or higher on 41 of 48 routines (85%). She ranks second on the team with 20 individual victories and is tied for first with 45 Top 3 placements. She has competed in the all-around in 12 of UCLA's 13 meets this year.
Bruins Earn 13 All-Pac-10 Honors - UCLA gymnasts earned 13 of the maximum 18 All-Pac-10 Conference honors to set a new school record. Kristen Maloney became just the second Pac-10 gymnast ever to receive the five honors (all-around, vault, bars, beam, floor). Tasha Schwikert earned four (all-around, vault, bars, floor), and Jordan Schwikert earned all-around acclaim. Junior Kate Richardson was selected to the vault, beam and floor teams to increase her career total to a school-record 10.
Four Bruins Named To Pac-10 All-Academic Team - Bruin gymnasts excelled in the classroom as well as on the competition floor, with four student-athletes being named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team. Senior Christie Tedmon and junior Kate Richardson received first-team acclaim, while senior Kristen Maloney and sophomore Ashley Peckett were named to the honorable mention team. Tedmon, a three-time NACGC Scholastic All-American, has amassed a 3.72 GPA in Psychology. Richardson, a third-team Academic All-American as a sophomore, holds a 3.78 GPA in Physiological Science. Both were second-team picks a year ago, and Tedmon was also an honorable mention selection in 2003. Maloney earns her second honorable mention nod, while Peckett receives her first in her first year of eligibility. To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.
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.
Richardson Back On Three Events - 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 two events 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. The injury has forced alterations to her beam routine. She has taken out her signature handstand mount to two layouts and is now doing two front aerials for her flight series. Her floor exercise routine and vault remains the same.
Perfect Bruins - Despite the stricter scoring system this year, UCLA gymnasts have still seen their share of perfect 10s. Freshman Tasha Schwikert leads the nation with four perfect 10s this year - two each on uneven bars and floor exercise. 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 twice on beam, once on vault and once on floor. 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 six meets, with a season-best of 9.75 set Mar. 26 at the Pac-10 Championships ... Scored a 9.7 at Cal State Fullerton to place third, her highest placement in any meet in her two-year career ... Averages 9.654 on the year ... Performed an exhibition on floor exercise in her final home meet Mar. 6 and scored a 9.75.
Kristen Maloney - Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year ... Pac-10 all-around, vault, beam and floor champion ... Second gymnast in UCLA and Pac-10 history to earn the maximum five All-Pac-10 honors in one year ... Ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around for the last 10 weeks ... Also ranked in the Top 5 on all four events - No. 3 on vault, beam and floor and No. 5 on bars ... Tied for the all-around at the Pac-10 Championships with a score of 39.7 ... Won vault with a 9.925 and floor with a 9.975 and tied for first on beam with a 9.95 ... 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 39.566 in 11 all-around appearances ... Has placed first in the all-around in six meets and in the Top 3 10 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 30 of 46 routines (65%) and 9.8 or higher on 44 of 46 routines (96%) ... Averages 9.875 or higher on all four events - 9.91 on vault, 9.886 on bars, 9.877 on beam and 9.891 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 25 individual victories, including team-highs of seven on vault and beam ... Also has two wins on bars and three on floor ... Tied for the team lead in Top 3 placements with 45 - 11 on vault, 10 in the all-around, 9 on beam and floor and 6 on bars.
Ashley Peckett - Has competed on at least two events in all 13 meets ... Averaging 9.8 on vault with a season-high of 9.875 set on Jan. 23 ... Has scored 9.8 or higher on vault in eight of 12 meets ... Placed second on vault on Jan. 14 at Oregon State with a 9.85 ... Recorded a season-best 9.8 on bars at the Pac-10 Championships ... 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 - All-Pac-10 selection on vault, beam and floor ... 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 ... Placed second on floor and fourth on beam at the Pac-10 Championships ... 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 ... Has placed in the Top 3 25 times, including eight times on beam and seven on floor ... Ranked in the Top 15 on all three events on which she is competing - No. 6 on beam, No. 11 on floor and No. 13 on vault.
Jordan Schwikert - All-Pac-10 selection in the all-around ... Averages 39.035 in 10 all-around appearances and has scored a career-high 39.5 twice in her last three meets ... Ranked No. 21 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 9.818 on vault with a career-high of 9.9 set Mar. 6 and Mar. 19 ... Averages 9.825 on floor and 9.792 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 - Pac-10 Freshman of the Year ... Pac-10 all-around co-champion and uneven bars champion ... Won the uneven bars with a perfect 10 ... All-Pac-10 selection in the all-around and on vault, bars and floor ... Ranked second in the nation in the all-around, as well as No. 1 on floor and bars, No. 7 on vault and No. 9 on beam ... Averages 39.481 in 12 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 ... First in the nation with four perfect 10s this season - two each on floor and bars ... Second on the UCLA squad with 20 individual victories, including a team-high six on floor and six in the all-around ... Also has four wins on bars and two wins each on vault and beam ... Tied for first on the squad with 45 Top 3 placements, including 11 each on bars and the all-around ... Has scored 9.9 or higher on 26 of 48 routines (54%) and 9.8 or higher on 41 of 48 routines (85%) ... Averages over 9.825 on every event - 9.885 on vault, 9.896 on bars, 9.835 on beam and 9.865 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 12 of 13 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 13 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 ... Finished tied for fourth on bars at Pac-10s with a 9.85 ... Season average is 9.756 ... Earned a career-high 9.85 on beam on Mar. 6 against Florida ... Averages 9.67 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 ... Set a new career-high on uneven bars with a 9.75 at the Pac-10 Championships ... Had previously scored a career-best on Jan. 28 at Arizona State with a 9.725 ... 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, both 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, 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 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 in 2003, and she returned in 2004 as a Level 10 champion. Both Schwikerts are ranked in the Top 25 nationally in the all-around, with Tasha second and Jordan 21st.
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 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 and only the second Canadian woman to make any event final at the Olympics. She finished seventh on floor.
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.