UCLA Places Third At Pac-10 Gymnastics Championships
March 29, 2008
Seattle, WA - UCLA finished in third place at the 2008 Pac-10 Gymnastics Championships, scoring 196.2. Ariana Berlin was the Bruins' top performer, scoring a season-high 39.4 in the all-around to place third overall. Tasha Schwikert won her seventh career Pac-10 title, winning a share of the uneven bars title with a season-high 9.95. Stanford won the team title for the fifth time, scoring 197.0. Oregon State placed second with a 196.55.
With UCLA and two other teams on a first rotation bye, Oregon State took the early lead with a 49.075 on vault. The Bruins started their competition in rotation two on vault and equaled Oregon State's mark with six clean vaults. Berlin led off with a 9.8. Anna Li, vaulting for the first time in over a month, nearly stuck her vault but had a low landing and scored 9.75. Natalie Padilla had a clean vault but took a step forward, scoring 9.775. Jordan Schwikert got good distance on her Yurchenko full but hopped back and scored 9.8. Kristina Comforte stuck her landing but only scored 9.85, a score that Tasha Schwikert matched in the anchor position. Stanford, competing on bars, took over the lead after scoring 49.3, thanks to a 9.9 from Tabitha Yim and 9.95 from Liz Tricase.
In rotation three, Stanford increased its lead over Oregon State to half a point by totaling 49.375 on the balance beam as the Beavers were scoring 49.1 on the uneven bars. UCLA moved to the uneven bars in rotation four, looking to close the gap. Berlin set her teammates up well with a beautiful 9.9 routine with perfect handstands and a stuck full-twisting double back dismount. Jordan Schwikert also performed a nice routine, scoring 9.825 after taking a step on her double pike dismount. Shavahn Church had a strong routine going but could not hold on to the dismount and scored 9.4. Comforte performed a powerful routine and took a step forward on her double layout dismount, scoring 9.825. Tasha Schwikert's 9.95 and Li's 9.9 closed the scoring for the Bruins and gave UCLA a bars total of 49.4 and a two-event total of 98.475, just two-tenths behind Stanford's 98.675. Oregon State, meanwhile, earned 49.3 on balance beam to bring its three-event total to 147.475.
UCLA moved to the balance beam in rotation five needing a 49.0 to keep pace with Oregon State. Berlin continued her impressive meet with a rock-solid leadoff routine that merited 9.85. A fall by Niki Tom, her first since the season opener, put a little bit of pressure on, but her teammates did not falter, with Jordan Schwikert scoring 9.85, Tasha Schwikert scoring 9.8 after being docked a tenth on start value, and Comforte and Li nailing their routines for 9.9s. The Bruins totaled 49.3 on beam, their second-highest mark of the season, bringing their three-event total to 147.775. Stanford earned 49.225 on floor to barely stay ahead of UCLA with a three-event score of 147.9.
With .125 separating Stanford and UCLA and with Oregon State wrapping up its competition with a final score of 196.55, it came down to the Bruins and Cardinal in the final rotation. UCLA finished up on the floor exercise, while Stanford ended on vault, which had been the lowest scoring event throughout the meet. The judges stayed consistently low, and Stanford earned a 49.0 to bring its final score to 196.9. With nagging injuries and illness forcing a tinkering of the floor lineup, UCLA needed career performances from its six performers to take over the lead. The Bruins got strong sets from Berlin (season-best 9.85) and Jordan Schwikert (9.9), but UCLA had to count a fall, which dropped the Bruins down to third place.
Stanford's Yim won the all-around with a 39.55 and was also named the Pac-10's Gymnast of the Year. Bruin redshirt freshman Brittani McCullough, who suffered a season-ending injury on Mar. 9, was named the Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. Oregon State coach Tanya Chaplin earned Coach of the Year honors.