UCLA Gymnastics Team Qualifies for Super Six Team Finals

April 26, 2007

Salt Lake City, UT - The UCLA gymnastics team scored 196.475 to place third in the evening session of the team preliminaries at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships, qualifying for the Super Six Team Finals on Friday. Bruin freshman Anna Li placed fourth overall in the all-around with a 39.5, and junior Tasha Schwikert, the 2005 NCAA all-around champion, placed sixth in the second session with a 39.375. Utah (197.325) and Stanford (197.2) also qualified for the team finals in this session.

The Bruins kicked off the meet on the treacherous balance beam and went 6-for-6, scoring 49.025, which was good for third place after one rotation. Sophomore Ariana Berlin, who has been nursing a sore leg, led off the meet with a solid routine that merited a 9.775. Junior Jordan Schwikert, who has also been nursing an injury (hamstring), nailed her flight series and her tuck full jump with no wobbles, scoring 9.8. Freshman Ashley Jenkins showed great fight in saving a fall on her standing back layout. After dismounting with a double twist, she scored 9.725. Sophomore Melissa Chan also saved a fall on her roundoff/two-footed layout and came back to nail her double back dismount for a final score of 9.7. Freshman Anna Li was nearly flawless, sticking her double twist dismount and scoring 9.875. Junior anchor Tasha Schwikert was strong and confident throughout her 9.85 set, with her only obvious mis-step coming with a step on her double full dismount. Stanford took a slim first rotation lead with a 49.175 on floor exercise, followed by Michigan, who scored 49.125 on vault. LSU was in fourth with a 48.7 on uneven bars.

As UCLA went on a second rotation bye, Stanford increased its lead on vault after four vaulters went 9.9 or higher, leading to an event score of 49.525 and a two-event total of 98.7. LSU scored 49.25 on beam for a two-event score of 97.95. Utah made its mark with a 49.125 on floor, and Denver joined in with a 48.7 on bars.

In rotation three, UCLA had a few troubles on floor exercise and scored just 48.8. Janelle Dantzscher led the set with clean tumbling and nice dance to score 9.775. Senior Michelle Selesky skidded back on her double pike opening pass but stayed in and sc landed it cleanly ed 9.7. Senior Ashley Peckett hit a whip through to double pike opening pass and double tuck dismount for a 9.8. Jenkins nailed her whip to immediate double pike but landed her double tuck dismount low, scoring9.675 and twisting her ankle in the process, which kept her off uneven bars later in the meet. Li performed a strong set with clean tumbling and impeccable dance to score 9.825. Tasha Schwikert stepped back out of bounds on her double full/punch front middle tumbling pass, which lowered her score to 9.7.

At the halfway mark, the Bruins stood in a tie for fourth place with Michigan with 97.825, .125 behind third-place LSU (97.95). Stanford led with a 98.7, and Utah was second with a 98.625.

UCLA moved to vault for rotation four and surged ahead of Michigan and LSU with a 49.425 event score. Jordan Schwikert led off with a 9.875.Berlin came in as a late sub after resting her leg for three rotations and came through with a 9.85. Li hit a big Yurchenko full for a career-high 9.9. Peckett equaled the mark with a season-high tying 9.9. Selesky followed with a 9.825, and Tasha Schwikert closed it out with a 9.9. The Bruins upped their three-event total to 147.250, ahead of LSU's 146.975 but behind first-place Stanford's 147.9. Michigan fell out of contention after counting a fall on beam.

In rotation five, the Bruins went on a bye as LSU finished up on vault. With UCLA claiming a .275 lead over the Tigers, LSU put some pressure on UCLA with a vault score of 49.3 and a final total of 196.275, which meant the Bruins needed a 49.05 on bars (9.805 average) in the final rotation to pass LSU for the third and final spot in the Super 6 Team Finals. Uneven bars has been good for the Bruins this season, as they have averaged 49.173 with a high of 49.7. Berlin hit a solid leadoff routine, scoring 9.8. Natalie Padilla stepped in for an injured Jenkins and hit her routine for a 9.625. Peckett and Jordan Schwikert came through with 9.8s, and Tasha Schwikert nailed a 9.925. Li needed a 9.725 for the Bruins to advance, and she scored a 9.9 to clinch the team finals berth.

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