Short-Handed Bruins Lose By One-Tenth At Denver
Feb. 10, 2007
Denver, CO - A short-handed Bruin gymnastics squad battled through adversity but fell just short, losing by one-tenth of a point at Denver, 194.9-194.8. The Bruins were competing without injured Kristina Comforte (ankle) and Janelle Dantzscher (stress fracture, foot) and had Ashley Jenkins limited to just beam (hyperextended elbow) and Tasha Schwikert to just vault and bars (Achilles). Several Bruins competed on events for the first time this season and came through in the clutch, with Natalie Padilla contributing three hit routines, Ariana Berlin posting a career-high 39.25 in the all-around and an injured Jenkins notching UCLA's top beam score.
The Bruins began the meet on the uneven bars and had top-notch routines, punctuated by stuck landings from Anna Li (9.875) and Tasha Schwikert (9.9). Berlin and Jordan Schwikert contributed a pair of 9.825s, and Ashley Peckett added a 9.725. Competing for the first time on bars this year, Padilla scored a 9.6 to help the Bruins achieve a team total of 49.15. Denver took the first rotation lead with a 49.3 on vault, led by three 9.9s from Casey Dobyns, Heather Huffaker and Liz Meals.
UCLA took over the lead in the second rotation, earning another 49.15 on vault. Tasha Schwikert had another stuck routine, nailing her Yurchenko layout full for a meet-high 9.95. Peckett earned a 9.85 on a Yurchenko layout half with just a slight step on the landing. Li and Berlin each had powerful Yurchenko layout full vaults and scored 9.825 and 9.8, respectively. Denver totaled 48.75 on bars, led by a 9.875 from Courtney Butler, for a two-event total of 98.05, .25 behind the Bruins' 98.3.
Denver reclaimed the lead by .075 after scoring 48.775 on balance beam in the third rotation. With usual floor exercise competitors Dantzscher and Jenkins unable to tumble and Tasha Schwikert being held out on floor and beam for precautionary reasons due to a strained Achilles suffered earlier in the week, UCLA was forced to compete with just five athletes on the event. Although the Bruins had no falls, they had a few stumbles and scored 48.45. Li led the way with a career-high 9.875, Peckett added a 9.775, and Berlin, competing for the first time on floor this year, scored a 9.75. Selesky added a 9.725, and Padilla earned a 9.325 after stepping out of bounds on her middle tumbling pass.
Down 146.825-146.750, the meet was still within reach for UCLA. Berlin led off with a meet-high 9.875 on balance beam. Jordan Schwikert made her first appearance of the year on beam and had a strong routine going but fell on a jump and scored 9.3. Li was on her way to a nice score but fell on her double full dismount, suffering a strained knee and ankle. She will be evaluated when the Bruins return to Los Angeles. Padilla stepped up with a career-high 9.725, and Jenkins, with a re-worked routine to take weight off her injured elbow, came up huge with a 9.8. First-time beam competitor Selesky could not improve upon the Bruins' earlier scores, however, and UCLA finished with a 48.05. Denver struggled as well on floor, with two falls and another low score in its first four routines, but a 9.9 from Huffaker and a 9.95 from Sasha Sullivan clinched the win for the Pioneers, who scored 48.075 on the event.
Berlin turned in a stand-out performance for the Bruins in her first all-around of the season. She scored a career-best 39.25 in the all-around to place second and won balance beam with a career-high 9.875. Tasha Schwikert won both of her events with a 9.95 on vault and 9.9 on bars.
The Bruins return to action on Feb. 16 at Oregon State.