UCLA Gymnastics Team Earns Trip To NCAA Championships
April 14, 2007
Morgantown, WV - The UCLA Gymnastics team have earned a trip back to the NCAA Championships by virtue of a first-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday evening. The Bruins, who did not qualify a year ago, edged out second-place LSU, 195.975-195.950, to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held at Salt Lake City, UT on Apr. 26-28. LSU also qualifies as the second-place finisher.
'I am much more excited now to be back to the National Championships than I have ever been in my 17 years of coaching,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'Our girls were on a mission.'
UCLA began the meet on vault, scoring 49.275 with six 9.8+ vaults to take a first-rotation lead. Ariana Berlin led off with a stellar Yurchenko layout full vault that merited 9.85. Anna Li took just a small hop on her Yurchenko layout full and scored 9.8. Ashley Peckett nailed her Yurchenko Arabian for a 9.9. Jordan Schwikert followed with a 9.825 on her Yurchenko layout full. Michelle Selesky had nice height on her Yurchenko Arabian and took a small step to score 9.8. Tasha Schwikert had the tiniest of hops on her Yurchenko layout full and scored 9.9. LSU secured second place after the first rotation with a 49.125 on uneven bars thanks to a pair of 9.9 scores from Summer Hubbard and Ashleigh Clare-Kearney. Host West Virginia was close behind the Tigers, scoring 48.9 on floor behind a 9.9 from Janae Cox.
In rotation two, West Virginia leaped ahead of LSU after scoring 49.225 on vault while the Tigers were struggling to a 48.2 on beam. The Mountaineers had a pair of 9.9s from Janae Cox and Jaime Gold to take a two-event score of 98.125. LSU, meanwhile, held a two-event total of 97.325.
The Bruins were back in action on uneven bars in rotation three, needing 48.875 to maintain a lead over West Virginia. Natalie Padilla led off the rotation with a solid routine that earned 9.675. Berlin hit her routine and landed a nice full-twisting double back dismount for a 9.8, and Peckett followed with a stuck double layout dismount and a score of 9.85. Jordan Schwikert showed beautiful handstands, a clean Geinger and a double pike dismount for a score of 9.875. Tasha Schwikert was nearly flawless on her Shaposhinkova and Tkatchev and punctuated the routine with a stuck double layout dismount, scoring a 9.9. Li closed the set with huge release moves and a stuck double layout dismount to tie her career-high with a 9.95. The high marks brought the Bruins' event score to 49.375 and their two-event mark to 98.65, .525 ahead of second-place West Virginia and 1.175 ahead of third-place Auburn (97.475).
UCLA moved to the tightly-scored balance beam in rotation four. Super-steady leadoff performer Berlin held true to form with another hit routine and stuck her double twist dismount for a score of 9.675. Two falls from Peckett put the heat on Melissa Chan, who was performing her first counting routine in over a year. Chan was fearless, nailing her roundoff to two-footed layout and hitting a double tuck dismount to score 9.75. Li earned the highest beam score of the night, scoring 9.825. Jenkins fought to stay on the beam on her back tuck/back tuck tumbling series and earned 9.4. Tasha Schwikert needed to hit for the Bruins to safely maintain their lead, and she nailed her set for a 9.825 that gave UCLA a team score of 48.475 and a three-event total of 147.125, still .525 ahead of second-place West Virginia and .675 ahead of third-place LSU (146.45).
LSU and West Virginia both ended their evenings in rotation five. LSU went lights out on vault, scoring three 9.9s and a 9.95 and throwing out a 9.85 for a score of 49.5 and a final team total of 195.95, which left UCLA needing a 48.85 on floor exercise in the final rotation to stay ahead of the Tigers and 47.675 to stay ahead of West Virginia, which finished with 194.775.
Minor injuries forced a few late lineup changes on floor exercise, with Janelle Dantzscher subbing in for Berlin and Jenkins going in for Jordan Schwikert. Dantzscher not only was a late sub, but she was competing a new opening pass. Nevertheless, she hit her routine and ended with a stuck double pike dismount to score 9.75. Selesky provided another hit routine with a 9.7. Jenkins embraced her last-minute sub role, nailing a whip to immediate double pike opening pass and a double tuck dismount for a 9.8. Peckett nailed her full-in mount but was a little short on her double tuck dismount and scored 9.7. Li nailed a double pike, whip to double full and rudi, scoring 9.7 after getting dinged on her start value. Tasha Schwikert hit a huge half-in, half-out, whip to double-full to immediate punch front and a double pike dismount to score a 9.9, which enabled the Bruins to edge out LSU for first place and a team floor score of 48.850.
Tasha Schwikert won the all-around for the sixth consecutive meet, scoring 39.525. Li tied for third with a 39.275.
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