Top-Ranked Gymnastics Squad Travels To Michigan For A Pair Of Dual Meets

March 5, 2001

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THIS WEEK - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (15-1) will travel to Michigan for a pair of dual meets against eighth-ranked Michigan (8-6) and Michigan State. The Bruins and Wolverines meet up on Friday, Mar. 9 at 7:00 pm CT at the Crisler Arena. Following that meet, the Bruins will face 23rd-ranked Michigan State (9-4) in East Lansing, MI on Sunday, Mar. 11 at 1:00 pm CT.

OLYMPIC REUNION - The three collegiate gymnasts on the U.S. Olympic team will meet again when the UCLA faces Michigan Mar. 9. UCLA's Kristen Maloney and Jamie Dantzscher will compete against their Olympic captain, Elise Ray of Michigan. Also scheduled to compete is Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek of UCLA.

A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION - Michigan enters the contest ranked eighth nationally and has scored a season-best of 197.225. Olympian Elise Ray leads the Wolverines with a No. 14 national ranking in the all-around. Michigan returns five All-Americans from a year ago - Janessa Grieco, Chrissy Michaud, Shannon MacKenzie, Bridget Knaeble and Karina Senior. Michigan State enters the week ranked 23rd nationally. The Spartans are led by Christy Linder, who ranks seventh in the region in the all-around, and Jane McIntosh, who ranks 23rd nationally on the balance beam. In the Spartans' last meet, McIntosh set the school record on beam with a 9.95 despite competing with a broken finger.

FOLLOW MICHIGAN MEET LIVE - Fans can follow the UCLA-Michigan meet live with live video coverage and scoring on the Michigan website,

BECKERMAN OUT FOR SEASON - Freshman Alyssa Beckerman, an alternate on the 2000 U.S. Olympic squad, will miss the remaining of the season after undergoing surgery on her left wrist Monday. Beckerman fractured her wrist after the 1999 World Championship trials, and the injury has limited her to just three competitions on the balance beam this season.

UCLA ATOP NATIONAL RANKINGS - The Bruins maintain their No. 1 position in the national rankings with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 197.29. The Bruins are also ranked first nationally on bars (49.45) and floor (49.595) and are third on vault (49.15) and beam (49.175). The RQS is compiled by taking the top six scores, three of which must be away scores, dropping the high and averaging the remaining five marks. UCLA has been No. 1 all season, except for one week when an early reporting deadline precluded the Bruins from entering its Jan. 14 meet score of 196.825, which was the highest team score in the nation at the time.

BRUINS SET MORE RECORDS - Behind an unprecedented back-to-back-to-back perfect 10s from Kristen Maloney, Jamie Dantzscher and Onnie Willis, the Bruins set a new school record 49.85 on the floor exercise Mar. 5. The trio's teammates set them up nicely with a 9.925 leadoff score from Malia Jones, a career-high 9.85 from Valerie Velasco and a 9.925 from Kristin Parker. Maloney followed with her first career 10.0 on floor. Dantzscher scored her fourth 10 on the apparatus immediately after, and Willis closed the meet with her first career 10 on floor.

UCLA GYMNASTICS A PERFECT 10! - In just half of one season, the 2001 UCLA Bruins have already scored 15 perfect 10s, three more than UCLA's all-time mark entering the year. Prior to the start of 2001, only 12 perfect 10s had ever been scored in UCLA history. In just three months, the Bruins have surpassed that number. Leading the wave of perfect 10s has been freshman Jamie Dantzscher, who has a school-record six (four on floor, two on bars). She has scored at least one perfect 10 in five of eight meets, including three consecutive. Senior Mohini Bhardwaj is close behind with four 10.0s this year (three on floor, one on bars). Bhardwaj's first three floor routines of the season merited perfect 10s. Also earning perfect marks this year were sophomores Kristin Parker (floor, Jan. 19) and Onnie Willis (vault, Feb. 16, floor, Mar. 4) and freshman Kristen Maloney (beam, Feb. 16, floor, Mar. 4). Of UCLA's 15 perfect 10s this year, eight have come on the road.

DEPTH OF SQUAD DROPS MANY BRUINS OUT OF TOP 25 - One downside to having the kind of depth UCLA has can be seen in this week's national rankings. Because none of UCLA's gymnasts have had to compete in the all-around six times (no one has competed all-around more than five times), no Bruins are ranked in the all-around. When rankings were based on average score two weeks ago, five were ranked in the Top 25 nationally. A shortage of competitive meets has dropped Mohini Bhardwaj out of the rankings. The top all-arounder for most of the season, Bhardwaj has competed on just one event more than five times this year. Six Bruins are ranked this week - Jamie Dantzscher, who is first on bars and floor, Yvonne Tousek, who holds the No. 4 spot on floor, Kristen Maloney, who ranks third on beam, Kristin Parker, who is fifth on vault and 16th on floor, Doni Thompson, who ranks 18th on bars, and Onnie Willis, who enters the rankings on vault at No. 25.

BRUINS HAVE NATION'S TOP MARKS - UCLA gymnasts have recorded the nation's highest individual and team scores this year. Individually, Mohini Bhardwaj has the nation's top all-around total this year with a 39.8. UCLA's five perfect 10 scorers have the nation's top marks on their respective events. As a team, UCLA has posted the nation's highest overall total (198.25), as well as the highest totals on vault (49.575), bars (49.75), beam (49.7) and floor (49.85).

UCLA SETS SCHOOL, PAC-10 MARK AT OSU - UCLA finally broke the elusive 198 mark for the first time in school history, scoring a national-high and Pac-10 record 198.25 in a dual meet victory at Oregon State Feb. 16. The Bruins scored 49.5+ on vault, beam and floor to achieve their school record and received perfect 10s from Onnie Willis (vault), Kristen Maloney (beam) and Jamie Dantzscher (floor).

BRUINS BREAK BEAM RECORD - UCLA shattered the school record on the balance beam at Oregon State with an amazing 49.7 (out of 50) team total. Doni Thompson started the set with a 9.85, setting the stage for big marks from her teammates. Onnie Willis equaled Thompson's mark with a career-high tying 9.85. Kristin Parker and Yvonne Tousek followed with back-to-back career-high 9.95s (Parker earned a 10 from one judge). In the fifth spot, Kristen Maloney made history by becoming the first Bruin ever to score a perfect 10 on beam, and then Mohini Bhardwaj closed with a career-high 9.95 to give UCLA its 49.7.

WILLIS STEADY IN ALL-AROUND - Sophomore Onnie Willis continues to post high all-around totals each week. In her three all-around competitions this year, all of which resulted in first-place finishes, Willis has averaged 39.625 with two scores of 39.6 and a career-high 39.675. She has scored a perfect 10 in consecutive meets, recording her first of the season on vault at Oregon State and then scoring her first ever on floor at the Bruin Classic.

WHAT CAN'T SHE DO?! - Senior Mohini Bhardwaj already competes the most difficulty in the nation. On vault, she is the first collegiate athlete to complete a double-twisting Yurchenko layout vault. On bars, she has two release moves and a double layout with a full twist dismount. On beam, her flight series is a backhandspring to three consecutive layouts and her dismount is a double back somersault. She tumbles a double layout and a full-in on the floor exercise. On Mar. 5, Bhardwaj one-upped even herself by performing an exhibition floor routine that opened with a handspring double front.

NUMBER CRUNCHING - Doni Thompson has hit 22 of 23 routines on the uneven bars in her career, a hit percentage of 95.7 ... Thompson is also 19-20 on beam for a 95% ... UCLA has not had to count a fall on floor in nearly two years, and its last sub-49 score on floor came in 1999 ... Bhardwaj has hit all 26 floor routines in her career ... Onnie Willis and Kristin Parker have each hit all 18 of their floor routines ... Willis holds UCLA's longest active 'hit' streak with 13 consecutive clean routines, none of which have scored lower than 9.85 ...Jamie Dantzscher is second with 12 consecutive 'hits' ... Dantzscher has scored 9.925 or higher on seven consecutive routines ...Kristen Maloney has scored 9.9 or better on her last five routines, with two perfect 10s ... The Bruins' score of 49.575 on vault at Oregon State was the second-highest vault total in school history.

UCLA TO HOST NCAA WEST REGIONALS - The defending NCAA champion and top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional Women's Gymnastics Championship in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Apr. 7. The meet begins at 6:00 pm.

Teams from five other universities, plus six at-large individual all-around competitors, will compete for team and individual titles, and the top two teams from each of the six regionals around the country will qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Athens, GA Apr. 19-21. The five teams and six individual competitors competing at the regional will be determined based on rankings Mar. 26.

Tickets for the regional championships can be purchased at UCLA's Central Ticket Office, (310) UCLA-WIN. Reserved tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for youth. General admission prices are $6 for adults and $4 for youth.

BRUINS SURROUNDED BY NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - If any one team in the nation knows what it takes to win, it is UCLA. Not only have nine Bruins won an NCAA team title, but many have won national championships for their respective countries. Included amongst UCLA's national champions are: Kristen Maloney (1998, 1999 U.S. all-around and 2000 vault and floor champ), Yvonne Tousek (2000 Canadian all-around, bars and floor champ, 1999 floor and vault champ), Jamie Dantzscher (1999 U.S. bars champ), Alyssa Beckerman (2000 U.S. beam champ) and Doni Thompson (1995 U.S. beam champ), not to mention defending NCAA bars champion Mohini Bhardwaj.

HEAD COACH VALORIE KONDOS FIELD - In her 11th season as head coach of the Bruins, Valorie Kondos Field has positioned her team as the premier program in collegiate gymnastics. Not only has she consistently recruited the top talent in the world, but she has produced the results. In the past five years alone, Kondos Field has led UCLA to two NCAA titles and one runner-up finish, four Regional titles and three Pac-10 Championships. She has been voted the national coach of the year by her peers three times in the past five years.

DEAR DIARY - Head coach Valorie Kondos Field will share her thoughts with readers in an online diary published by Kondos Field's diaries will run on Wednesdays.

DEGTEVA COMPLETES LA MARATHON - Former Bruin great and 2000 NCAA balance beam champion Lena Degteva (1997-2000) completed the LA Marathon March 4 in a time of 4 hours, 15 minutes. It was the first marathon she has ever run.

BRUINS SIGN ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE RECRUITING CLASS - Following two straight top-notch recruiting classes that saw the likes of Doni Thompson, Kristen Maloney and Jamie Dantzscher come to Westwood, head coach Valorie Kondos Field has signed another stellar class for the 2002 season. Set to join the Bruins next year are 2000 Canadian Olympian Michelle Conway and Level 10 standout Christie Tedmon.

Conway, who trains at Sport Seneca, had a 13th-place finish on floor at the Olympic Games. At the 2000 Canadian Championships, she placed third in the all-around, vault and beam, second on floor and fourth on bars. In 1999, she led her team to a gold medal at the Pan American Games and became the first Canadian woman in 20 years to win a Pan Am Games individual medal in the all-around when she captured the silver. Conway also competed at the 1999 World Championships.

Tedmon is a former international elite gymnast from Pozsar's Gymnastics. In 2000, she won a silver medal on floor at the Level 10 Nationals and was third in the all-around and vault and second on beam at the Region 1 Championships. Competing as an international elite, she qualified for the 1998 American Classic and placed first in the all-around, vault, beam and floor at the Region 1 Zone Championships. Tedmon competed at three Level 10 Nationals and won two regional vault titles in 1996 and 1997, as well as a regional floor title in 1997.

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