UCLA Gymnasts Upset #2 Georgia, 197.15-197.00
March 4, 2007
Los Angeles, Calif. - The sixth-ranked UCLA Gymnastics team upset second-ranked and two-time defending NCAA champion Georgia, 197.150-197.000 in front of 4,552 in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruin victory snapped Georgia's 27-meet, 57-opponent winning streak.
UCLA took an early lead after the first rotation, scoring a season-best 49.425 on vault. Sophomore Ariana Berlin led off with a Yurchenko layout full that scored a career-high 9.875. Anna Li and Peckett followed suit with a pair of 9.85s, and Jordan Schwikert earned a season-high tying 9.9. Selesky powered her Yurchenko Arabian vault with great form and amplitude and scored a career-high 9.925. Tasha Schwikert's 9.875 rounded out the scoring for the Bruins. Georgia, meanwhile, received a 49.35 on the uneven bars, with defending NCAA champion and 2000 Olympian Courtney Kupets receiving the meet's highest score, 9.95. Katie Heenan added a 9.9.
Georgia took over the lead at the halfway mark, 98.8-98.675, after scoring 49.45 on vault. The Gym Dogs received 9.9s from Marcia Newby, Kupets, Heenan and Tiffany Tolnay. UCLA stayed strong on the uneven bars, scoring 49.25. Natalie Padilla contributed a 9.7 in the leadoff position, and Peckett followed with a 9.875. Berlin scored 9.85, Jordan Schwikert 9.8, Tasha Schwikert 9.875 and Li 9.85 for a total score of 49.25.
UCLA recaptured the lead after the third rotation, scoring 49.125 on beam to Georgia's 48.825. Berlin's leadoff score of 9.85 set the tone for the Bruins, and Peckett followed suit with a 9.7. Ashley Jenkins scored a career-high 9.9, Jordan Schwikert earned 9.85, Li scored 9.8, and Tasha Schwikert recorded a 9.725. Georgia had a few struggles on floor exercise, with Ashley Kupets falling twice and Courtney Kupets falling on her final tumbling pass. Tolnay scored a 9.925 to tie for first on the event, and Heenan added a 9.9, but it wasn't enough to maintain the lead, as UCLA jumped ahead, 147.8-147.625.
It was a battle to the end in the final rotation with Georgia on beam and UCLA on floor. The Gym Dogs performed well on balance beam, scoring 49.375, with a 9.8 from Grace Taylor, 9.85 from Megan Dowlen, 9.825 from Nikki Childs, 9.875 from Tolnay and 9.9 from Courtney Kupets. On floor exercise, meanwhile, UCLA had a 9.85 from Berlin, 9.325 from Selesky, 9.775 from Jenkins, 9.925 from Peckett and 9.9 from Jordan Schwikert. The meet outcome came down to two freshmen, Georgia's Courtney McCool and UCLA's Li. McCool, another 2004 U.S. Olympian, did her part, scoring a 9.925, giving Georgia a final team score of 197.0. Li was the last performer of the meet and needed to score 9.775 or higher to give UCLA the victory. Undaunted by the pressure, she scored a career-high 9.9 to boost UCLA to a 49.35 floor score and a season-high overall mark of 197.15.
'We came in wanting to hit four events cleanly and better than we had all season,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'We talk about the fact that we can't control what the other team does, but when we were down, we kept fighting and not giving up. It was an incredible team effort.'
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