Bruins Lose Dual Meet At LSU, Gain More In Return Of Schwikert And Chan

March 17, 2006

Baton Rouge, La. - The 10th-ranked UCLA gymnastics team welcomed the return of injured gymnasts Tasha Schwikert and Melissa Chan to competition and posted a 195.975 score in a dual meet loss to eighth-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers scored a season-high 196.825.

Schwikert, the defending NCAA all-around champion, was competing for the first time this season after undergoing shoulder surgery in December. She made her debut on the balance beam and scored a 9.425 after leaving an element out of her routine. Also returning to competition was freshman Chan, who had been out since injuring her calf at the Feb. 12 meet. Chan scored a 9.8 on the uneven bars.

Senior Kate Richardson led UCLA with a 39.475 in the all-around to place second. Freshman Kristina Comforte had another strong meet, scoring a 39.4 to place third. Jordan Schwikert recorded a season-high 39.2 to place fifth, Ariana Berlin was sixth with a 39.05, and Ashley Peckett competed in the all-around for the first time this year and scored a 38.75.

The Bruins led after the first rotation after posting a 49.125 on bars. All six competitors hit their routines, with Richardson leading the way with a 9.9. Comforte (9.875) and Chan (9.8) also contributed high marks. LSU, meanwhile, started out with a 49.075 on vault, led by April Burkholder's meet-high 9.925.

LSU took a slim 98.35-98.2 lead after the second rotation, scoring a 49.275 on bars, thanks to a pair of 9.925s from Burkholder and Lisa Rennie. The Bruins had four 9.8+ scores on vault to score 49.075, led by 9.85s from Comforte and Richardson.

UCLA closed the gap to a miniscule .025 margin after the third rotation. The Bruins recorded a 49.125 on floor while LSU totaled 49.0 on beam. Peckett earned a season-best 9.775 and was followed by four consecutive 9.8+ marks - 9.8 from Berlin, 9.875 from Jordan Schwikert, 9.825 from Comforte and 9.85 from Richardson.

The Tigers put the meet out of reach on floor in the final rotation with a meet-high 49.475. Although all six Bruins stayed on the beam, UCLA had to count a 9.425 amongst its marks and finished with a 48.65. Richardson led the Bruins with a 9.875 to tie for first on the event. Comforte (9.85), Jordan Schwikert (9.8) and Berlin (9.7) also contributed to the team total.

UCLA's team total of 195.975 was its second-highest road mark of the season and improves the Bruins' regional qualifying score (RQS) to 196.005. The Bruins have one more chance to improve upon its RQS when they compete at the Pac-10 Championships on Saturday, Mar. 25 at Oregon State.

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