UCLA Gymnastics Team Places Fourth At NCAA Championships

April 27, 2007

The UCLA gymnastics team celebrated a return visit to the NCAA Super Six Finals after a one-year absence with a fourth-place finish after scoring 196.925. Several Bruins battled through injury and illness to pull through with strong routines, but it was not enough to overtake winner Georgia, who claimed its third consecutive NCAA title with a 197.850. Utah placed second with a 197.250, and Florida placed third with a 197.225. Stanford finished in fifth with a 196.825, and Nebraska was sixth with a 195.975.

Starting off the meet on the uneven bars was Ariana Berlin, who hit good handstand positions and landed her full-twisting double back dismount with just a small hop, scoring 9.825. Senior Ashley Peckett followed with another strong routine that featured a high Tkatchev and double layout dismount that got good distance to score 9.8. Jordan Schwikert had a minor error in her routine but hit a big Geinger and stuck her double pike dismount for a 9.725. Tasha Schwikert got big air on her Tkatchev and had a tiny shuffle on her otherwise perfect double layout dismount to score 9.85. Anna Li soared high above the bar on her Tkatchev but caught it close. She recovered nicely and stuck her double layout dismount with a flourish, earning 9.825. Ashley Jenkins battled through an ankle injury from the previous night to compete on bars for the first time since January, and she stuck her double pike dismount to score a 9.8. UCLA's team total of 49.10 was just behind Florida and Stanford's marks of 49.225. Nebraska stood in fourth with a 48.90.

UCLA moved to balance beam for rotation two. Berlin got the Bruins off to another solid start, scoring 9.8. Jordan Schwikert had a balance break on her flight series but stayed on the beam and scored 9.7. Melissa Chan landed her roundoff/two-footed layout with ease and stuck her double tuck dismount for a season-high 9.9. Li fell on her backhandspring layout and scored 9.3. Tasha Schwikert hit a sensational set, this time sticking her double twist dismount and scoring 9.925. Peckett hit her punch front mount and stumbled just slightly on her back tuck/back tuck series as the Utah home crowd roared for the Utes on floor but finished her routine strong for a 9.825. The Bruins' event score of 49.15 enabled them to take a slim lead over Nebraska, 98.25-98.225.

At the halfway mark, Utah and Georgia tied for the lead with a 98.75, followed closely by Florida with a 98.55. Stanford was just ahead of UCLA with a 98.325, with the Bruins at 98.25 and Nebraska at 98.225.

UCLA moved to floor exercise, where Berlin shrugged off leg soreness to hit a 9.75. Janelle Dantzscher followed suit with a routine highlighted by a new middle pass of double tuck and a stuck double pike dismount, which earned her a 9.875. Peckett followed with a 9.85, and Li earned a 9.8. Tasha Schwikert erased her earlier prelims mistake and nailed her double full/punch front middle pass, scoring a 9.9. Jordan Schwikert also shook off her hamstring injury to compete on floor and closed the set with a 9.85 to give UCLA an event score of 49.275 and a three-event total of 147.525., just .05 behind second-place Stanford (147.575) and .425 behind Florida (147.950).

The Bruins wrapped up on vault, where Berlin hit another sensational leadoff routine, sticking her Yurchenko full vault for a career-high 9.9. Senior Michelle Selesky also had a great landing on her vault, hitting a Yurchenko Arabian on her last career routine for a 9.85. Jordan Schwikert had a near stick on her Yurchenko full and scored a season-high tying 9.9. Li also hit a big Yurchenko full with a small hop back, scoring 9.85. Peckett also made her last collegiate vault count, hitting a 9.85 on a stuck Yurchenko Arabian. Tasha Schwikert finished the Bruins' competition with a big Yurchenko full that earned 9.9, upping the Bruins' vault total to 49.4 and a final mark of 196.925.

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