Fifth-Ranked UCLA Gymnasts Host Eighth-Ranked Stanford Monday

Jan. 14, 2007

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UCLA Hosts Stanford Monday - Three days after competing at Utah, fifth-ranked UCLA (1-1) hits the mats again to host eighth-ranked Stanford (0-1) on Monday, Jan. 15. The meet will take place in Pauley Pavilion at 2 pm. Free meet program posters will be available to the first 500 in attendance. This week's program poster features juniors Jordan Schwikert and Tasha Schwikert. Also, the 2007 UCLA team poster will be distributed during a formal post-meet autograph session.

Breast Cancer Awareness Day - UCLA will use Monday's meet to raise awareness for breast cancer. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the event, and both teams will follow the pink theme. Pink bracelets with the words 'Strength, Hope, Faith, Courage' will be distributed to the first 2,000 fans in attendance, and 30 pink Crocs shoes will be awarded as giveaways throughout the day.

Live Coverage - Free live streaming video and live scoring will be available for all of UCLA's home meets at uclabruins.com. Providing the commentary will be local broadcaster Darren Preston and former NCAA champion and U.S. Olympian Jamie Dantzscher.

Tickets - Tickets to UCLA gymnastics meets are available for sale on a season ticket or single-meet basis. For the best value, UCLA offers a season ticket package that costs $30 ($6/meet) and is located in the reserved section. Single-meet tickets are $12 (adult)/$10 (youth) for reserved and $8 (adult)/$6 (youth) for general admission. UCLA students are free with valid ID.

UCLA Shows Two-Point Improvement At Utah - The Bruins hit all 24 of their routines without a fall and showed a nearly two-point improvement from the previous week in a close 195.975-196.325 loss at Utah. UCLA outscored Utah on both beam and floor, but Utah's uneven bars tally (49.375) made the difference in the meet. Tasha Schwikert placed third in the all-around with a 39.225 and tied for first on floor with a 9.9. UCLA set or tied 17 season-highs in the meet.

Bruins Win Season Opener - UCLA won its season opener with ease on Jan. 6, defeating Washington in Pauley Pavilion, 194.0-188.175. Events were won by four different Bruins. Tasha Schwikert won vault with a 9.9, Anna Li took first on uneven bars with a 9.85, Kristina Comforte tied for first on beam with a 9.725, and Michelle Selesky won floor exercise with a career-high 9.9. Li claimed the all-around victory with a score of 39.0.

Selesky Shines - Senior Michelle Selesky had the meet of her career in the season opener last week, winning the floor exercise with a 9.9 and tying for third on vault with a 9.825 to make the medals stand for the first time in her career. Both scores were two-tenths higher than her previous career-bests. Selesky continued her success at Utah, again tying her career-high on vault with a 9.825 to tie for third and scoring a 9.825 on floor to tie for fourth. Selesky is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship in 2006 and 2007. Prior to UCLA, she trained at the National Gymnastics Training Center in Aliso Viejo, Calif. and was a two-time Level 10 State qualifier.

Peckett, Berlin Maintain High Consistency - Last season's most consistent competitors - Ashley Peckett and Ariana Berlin - have not skipped a beat in 2007. Each hit their three events in both meets this season, with Peckett placing second on vault against Washington with a 9.85 and Berlin tying for third on vault with a 9.825, placing second on bars with a 9.775 and placing third on beam with a 9.675 at the same meet. At Utah, Peckett tied for third on vault with a 9.825 and hit season-bests on bars (9.75) and floor (9.775), and Berlin had season-bests on bars (9.85) and beam (9.75). Peckett has hit 65 of her last 66 routines without a fall, dating back to 2005, while Berlin has hit 56 of her 58 career routines.

Li Makes Stellar Debut - Freshman Anna Li made her Pauley Pavilion debut a memorable one, winning the all-around (39.0) and uneven bars (9.85) in her first collegiate meet on Jan. 6. Making the event even more special was the presence of her parents, Yuejiu Li and Jiani Wu, who had won Olympic team medals for China in the same arena at the 1984 Olympic Games. Li improved her all-around score the following week at Utah, scoring 39.2 to place fourth. She also placed second on beam with a 9.825.

Jenkins, Padilla Also Have Successful Pauley Debuts - Freshman Ashley Jenkins and junior transfer Natalie Padilla also had successful showings in their first meet as Bruins. Jenkins placed third on uneven bars with a 9.75, and Padilla earned a 9.75 on vault. Both also had improvements at Utah, with Jenkins improving her marks on beam (9.2) and floor (9.8), and Padilla scoring a 9.775 on vault.

Schwikert Back To 2005 Form - Junior Tasha Schwikert is back to the form that brought her the NCAA all-around title in 2005. At Utah, she placed third in the all-around with a 39.225 and tied for first on floor with a 9.9. In the season opener against Washington, she competed all-around for the first time since the 2005 Championships, and although she had a rare fall on the uneven bars, she still showed she would be one to watch with scores of 9.9 on vault and 9.875 on floor. She placed second in the all-around with a mark of 38.75. Schwikert missed nearly all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. She returned to competition in the last regular season meet of 2006 and also competed on three events in the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional meets. She qualified for the NCAA Championships on vault.

Comforte Conquers Beam - Despite undergoing shoulder and ankle surgeries in the pre-season, sophomore Kristina Comforte has healed enough to compete on and anchor the balance beam for the Bruins. The two-time All-American tied for first on the event in the season opener, scoring a 9.725, and tied for third at Utah with a 9.775. Comforte is currently limited to balance beam but should be available to compete on vault soon.

Dantzscher Sets Career-High On Floor - Sophomore Janelle Dantzscher set a new career-high on floor exercise, scoring a 9.825 to tie for fourth at Utah. She also had a season-best 9.7 on beam. Dantzscher seems to thrive in front of large crowds on the road; the crowd at Utah on Friday numbered 11,418, and last season, she scored career-high marks on all four events and the all-around in front of 9,603 at Georgia.

About The Bruins - Five-time NCAA champion UCLA is coached by four-time national coach of the year Valorie Kondos Field. The Bruins return three All-Americans from last year's squad - 2005 NCAA all-around champion and 2000 U.S. Olympian Tasha Schwikert, 2006 NCAA vault runner-up and two-time All-American Kristina Comforte and 2005 balance beam All-American Jordan Schwikert. Also returning are 2006 Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year Ariana Berlin, seniors Ashley Peckett and Michelle Selesky and sophomore Janelle Dantzscher. Comforte is still coming back from pre-season shoulder and ankle surgeries and is currently limited to balance beam. Jordan Schwikert is limited to just the uneven bars due to a hamstring injury.

Newcomers include former U.S. National Team members Ashley Jenkins and Brittani McCullough, two-time USA Championships competitor Anna Li and Iowa transfer Natalie Padilla. McCullough is out for the year after a car accident in November that severed a tendon in her big toe.

About The Cardinal - Stanford won the 2006 Pac-10 Championship by three-tenths over the Bruins but placed third at the Regional meet and failed to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Cardinal has several former U.S. National Team members on its roster, including four 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials competitors - Liz Tricase, Carly Janiga and Southern California natives Tabitha Yim (Irvine, Calif.) and Allyse Ishino (Santa Ana, Calif.). Stanford lost its season opener at top-ranked Georgia on Jan. 6, 197.375-194.600.

UCLA Ranked No. 5 In Pre-Season Poll - UCLA enters the year ranked No. 5 in the pre-season coaches' poll. Defending NCAA champion Georgia is the pre-season No. 1, with 2006 runner-up Utah ranking second. Florida is third, followed by Alabama and UCLA. The Bruins will face eight of the Top 25 teams this season, including three of the Top 4.

Two Meets To Be Televised On LA36 - UCLA home meets on Feb. 25 (vs. Cal, Cal State Fullerton and Denver) and Mar. 4 (vs. Georgia) will be televised on a delayed basis on Los Angeles cable station LA36. The station can be found throughout Los Angeles on Time Warner Cable and other LA-affiliated cable stations. Check your local listings for air dates and times.

Looking Ahead - UCLA will travel to Fullerton on Friday, Jan. 19 to face Cal State Fullerton and San Jose State at Titan Gym at 7 pm. The Bruins also host Arizona on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 pm.

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