Pac-10 Announces Gymnast and Event Specialist of the Week Nods

March 4, 2008

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - ARIZONA's Miranda Russell has been named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week and OREGON STATE's Mandi Rodriguez has received Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week honors for February 26-March 3, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

Russell, a sophomore from Oshkosh, Wis., brought on the desert heat against WASHINGTON in the teams' final Conference dual of the season. In her fifth go at the all-around competition this year, Russell scored a career-high 39.400. With the mark, Russell earned her first all-around win of the season and improved her four-event tally by nearly an entire point from her first 2008 competition in January (38.425). The result launched her into the individual Top 5 (RQS) in the Pac-10's all-around rankings.

Russell surpassed the 9.8 mark and matched or set personal bests on every apparatus, earned second place in three event contests, and paced the Wildcats to three season-high scores. In the first rotation of the meet, Russell stuck a 9.85 vault. Three other `Cats matched Russell's second-place mark: the high number and great depth earned the Wildcats a season-high 49.175. On beam, Russell, whose average on the apparatus is only 9.453, was awarded a blistering 9.825 (second place) after she nailed her routine. Another 9.85 on bars gave Russell her third second-place finish of the night. Finally, on floor exercise Russell once again charted the `Cats to the team's best mark of the year - 49.4 - with an individual 9.875. On the heels of Russell' dynamite meet, Arizona reached a season-high final mark of 196.3 that bested the Huskies and catapulted the Wildcats into the fourth position in the Conference.

Rodriguez, also a sophomore but from Baldwin Park, Calif., paced the Beavers through a tough double duty weekend. The team took on Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 29 and and undefeated Conference foe UCLA on Mar. 2. Rodriguez nailed both of her vaults on the weekend to tally scores of 9.9 and 9.925, both good for the individual titles. The vaults represent the sixth time this season, and fifth consecutive, that Rodriguez has reached the 9.9-plateau on on the apparatus. Her consistency in scoring high marks ties her as the best vaulter in the Conference and seventh-strongest in the nation. In addition, Rodriguez posted solid scores on her other events of the weekend, bars & floor, including 9.875s on both against the Bruins.

ALSO NOMINATED:
Gymnast of the Week: Tiana Jean, ASU; Sophia Hocini, CAL; Alex Pintchouk, STAN; Brittani McCullough, UCLA; Ashley Houghting, WASH.
Event Specialist of the Week: Karin Wurm, ARIZ; Kaitlynn Bormann, ASU; Siobhan Luce, CAL; Tabitha Yim, STAN; Kristina Comforte, UCLA; Samantha Walior, WASH.

2008 Pac-10 Gymnasts of the Week: Jan. 14 - Anna Li, UCLA; Jan. 21 - Nicole Harris, ASU; Jan. 28 - Jami Lanz, OSU; Feb. 4 - Tasha Schwikert, UCLA; Feb. 11 - Tabitha Yim, STAN; Feb. 18 - Karin Wurm, ARIZ; Feb. 25 - Tasha Smith, OSU; Mar. 3 - Miranda Russell, ARIZ.

2008 Pac-10 Event Specialists of the Week: Jan. 14 - Carly Janiga, STAN; Jan. 21 - Marci Bernholtz, UCLA; Jan. 28 - Jordan Schwikert, UCLA; Feb. 4 - Ashlee Hinkle, ASU; Feb. 11 - Allyse Ishino, STAN; Feb. 18 - Tasha Smith, OSU; Feb. 25 - Liz Tricase, STAN; Mar. 3 - Mandi Rodriguez, OSU.

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