UCLA Scores Season-High 196.925 At Georgia
March 15, 2008
Five different UCLA gymnasts earned career-high marks, and three others recorded season-highs as UCLA scored a season-high 196.925 at No. 1 Georgia Saturday evening. The Bruins did not have to count a fall and went 6-for-6 on balance beam. Georgia won the meet with a 197.900 and scored one perfect 10 and a pair of 9.975s.
The Bruins started off a little shaky on uneven bars. Leadoff performer Ariana Berlin scored 9.65 after hitting her foot on the high bar on her piked Jaeger. She remarkably managed to not break rhythm and landed a nice full-twisting double back. Jordan Schwikert had a big break in her routine on her first handstand and had to take extra swings to get her routine going again, and she scored just 9.025. Shavahn Church and Kristina Comforte righted the ship with scores of 9.8 and 9.775, respectively. Tasha Schwikert and Anna Li both had powerful routines with just the tiniest hops on the double layout dismount and each scored 9.9. UCLA finished with a team total of 49.025, .525 behind Georgia, which scored 49.55 on vault thanks to a pair of 9.95s from Cassidy McComb and Tiffany Tolnay.
UCLA moved to vault for rotation two and immediately got of to a great start thanks to a 9.875 leadoff score from Berlin. Melissa Chan followed with a 9.8 on her first vault since Feb. 2006. Natalie Padilla followed with a 9.775. Jordan Schwikert rebounded from her uneven bars mishap to score 9.825. Comforte had a near-stick on her Yurchenko full to score 9.85. Tasha Schwikert closed out the set with a 9.925 to bring the Bruins' team score to 49.275, but UCLA was only able to cut into Georgia's lead by .05 after the Gym Dogs scored 49.225 on uneven bars.
At the halfway point, Georgia led, 98.775-98.300. Berlin started things off with a 9.8 routine that entertained the Georgia-partisan crowd. Chan hit a big double pike opening pass but stumbled out of her double tuck closing pass, dropping her score to 9.7. Sato hit a nice 2.5 twist opening pass and drilled her double pike last pass to tie her career-best of 9.875. Ashley Jenkins had her best showing ever on floor, hitting a double pike and a stuck double tuck for a career-high 9.9. Jordan Schwikert kept things going with a huge mark of 9.925 that tied her career-high. Niki Tom, stepping in for Tasha Schwikert as a late sub, closed with a 9.775. The Bruins earned a team total of 49.275, their second-highest on the event this year, but Georgia lit it up on beam with a 49.4, led by a near-perfect 9.975 from Grace Taylor.
With Georgia ahead by six-tenths heading into the final rotation, the Bruins were looking to hit 6-for-6 after three-straight weeks of beam problems in order secure a high score to improve their ranking. Berlin started off with a 9.725, followed by stellar routine by Tom that merited a 9.85. Comforte made a very successful return to the balance beam lineup, scoring a career-high tying 9.9 on her first beam routine since Jan. 27. Jordan Schwikert kept it going with a 9.85, and Tasha Schwikert guaranteed a strong beam score by earning a season-high tying 9.9. Li closed it out with a 9.85 to give UCLA 6-for-6 hit routines on beam for the sixth time this season. UCLA finished with a season-high 49.350 on beam. Georgia, meanwhile, scored 49.725 on floor to pull away, led by a perfect 10 from Courtney McCool.
Georgia's Katie Heenan won the all-around with a 39.725. Berlin placed third with a 39.05. Li and Tasha Schwikert tied for first on bars with their 9.9s.
The meet started over half an hour late due to tornado watches in the area. Twice just prior to departing for the arena, the Bruins had to move to the basement of their hotel for precautionary reasons.