UCLA Wins Pac-10 Gymnastics Championship

March 31, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz.-- Outstanding performances on the balance beam and vault, led by all-around champion Tasha Schwikert, locked up the 2007 Pac-10 Conference gymnastics championships for the UCLA Bruins Saturday night at Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena.

After three events, the Bruins held a .150 lead over Stanford as they went into their final rotation. With a season-high 49.425 on balance beam, the Bruins secured the Pac-10 Championship with a season-high 197.200 all-around score.

'This means more than just being Pac-10 Champions,' UCLA coach Valerie Kondos Field said. 'It's been two years since we've competed with what we call `Bruin Pride'. We've worked on it, we've talked about it, and today, we gutted it out. This is the first time in two years that we've competed like Bruins.'

As a team, the Bruins finished first on vault (49.375), balance beam (49.425) and in a tie for first with Stanford on the uneven bars (49.325). Oregon State placed first on the floor exercise (49.175).

The Bruins, ranked 8th in the nation, won the Pac-10 Gymnastics Championship for the 13th time.

Schwikert, a junior, reclaimed her all-around title that she shared as a freshman in 2005, with a season-high all-around score of 39.75. She also tied her season-high scores on the balance beam (9.950) and floor exercise (9.950). Schwikert had previously sat out five straight meets for the Bruins because of injuries.

'I felt very prepared for Pac-10's,' Schwikert said. 'I had not competed in five meets because of injuries and was a little bit nervous for my floor routine. After I completed my floor routine, I had momentum and my team had momentum and we surged on from there.'

Schwikert also tied the Pac-10 record for most titles won in a season with four. She takes home the all-around and floor exercise titles, as well as shares first place on vault with Washington's Ashley Houghting and first place on the balance beam with her UCLA teammate Anna Li.

'She's an amazing athlete,' Kondos Field said of Schwikert. 'She competes for the team, but she's also here to win the all-around. She trains like she is training for her third Olympics. She's focused and driven. Nothing gets in her way.'

Stanford junior Liz Tricase, claimed the uneven bars title for the second consecutive season with a score of 9.950 and only the second Cardinal to ever win that event.Following UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State in the team standings, Arizona (194.825) was fourth, Washington (194.775) was fifth, Arizona State (194.550) was sixth and California (193.650) was seventh.

Conference awards, based on balloting of the coaches, were also announced tonight. UCLA's Schwikert was named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year (the 11th straight time a Bruin has earned the honor). Stanford's Carly Janiga was named the Freshman of the Year. Stanford's Kristen Smyth and Washington's Joanne Bowers, in her first season with the Huskies, were the co-Coaches of the Year. It was Smyth's third honor.

The teams now await regional selections, to be announced Monday.

Final Team Scores: 1. UCLA 197.200, 2. Stanford 196.950, 3. Oregon State 196.300, 4. Arizona 196.000, 5. Washington 194.775, 6. Arizona State 194.550, 7. California 193.650

Individual All-Around: 1. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA) 39.75, 2. Tasha Smith (OSU) 39.475, t3. Nicole Harris (ASU) 39.450, t3. Jami Lanz (OSU) 39.450, t3. Anna Li (UCLA) 39.450.

Vault (individual): t1. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA) 9.950, t1. Ashley Houghting (Washington) 9.950, t3. Cassandra Jusino (ASU) 9.925, t3. Tasha Smith (OSU) 9.925, t3. Alex Pintchouk (Stan.) 9.925, t3. Michelle Selesky (UCLA)

Uneven Parallel Bars (individual): 1. Liz Tricase (Stan.) 9.950, t2. Karin Wurm (Ariz.) 9.925, t2. Tabitha Yim (Stan.) 9.9250, t4. Nicole Harris (ASU) 9.900, t4. Carly Janiga (Stan.) 9.900, t4. Jordan Schwikert (UCLA) 9.900, t4. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA) 9.900.

Balance Beam (individual): t1. Anna Li (UCLA) 9.950, t1. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA) 9.950, 3. Nicole Harris (ASU) 9.925, t4. Jami Lanz (OSU) 9.900, t4. Tabitha Yim (Stan.) 9.900.

Floor Exercise (individual): 1. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA) 9.950, 2. Tasha Smith (OSU) 9.925, t3. Jami Lanz (OSU) 9.900, t3. Carly Janiga (Stan.) 9.900, t5. Jamie Holton (Ariz.) 9.875, t5. Nicole Ourada (Stan.) 9.875.

Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year: Tasha Schwikert (UCLA)

Pac-10 Freshman of the Year: Carly Janiga (Stanford)

Pac-10 co-Coaches of the Year: Kristen Smyth (Stanford) and Joanne Bowers (Washington)

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