Bruins' NCAA Gymnastics Championship Defense Begins Thursday In Pauley Pavilion
April 12, 2004
NCAA Championships - The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (15-5) will host the NCAA Gymnastics Championships April 15-17 in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA begins competition on Thursday, April 15 at 7:00 pm in the evening team preliminary session. The Bruins will battle Arizona State, Utah, LSU, Alabama and Michigan for three spots in the NCAA Super Six Team Finals. Stanford, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Georgia and Nebraska will meet in the afternoon session at 1:00 pm.
Competition Format - The three-day competition begins on Thursday, Apr. 15 with two sessions (1:00 pm and 7:00 pm PT) of preliminary team competition. The Top 3 teams from each Thursday session will advance to the team finals (The 'Super Six'), which will begin at 7:00 pm on Friday, Apr. 16. The individual event finals competition will be held Saturday, Apr. 17 at 7:00 pm. The all-around champion and individual event finalists will be determined during the preliminary competition. Individuals qualify for event finals by placing in the top four (including ties) of that particular event during their own preliminary session.
The Championship Field - Competing for the NCAA team championship will be regional winners UCLA, Oklahoma, Georgia, Utah, LSU and Stanford, as well as regional runners-up Iowa, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Arizona State and Michigan.
Rotation Order - UCLA has the favored Olympic order in Thursday's meet, beginning the competition on vault, moving to a bye, then bars, beam another bye and ending on floor exercise. This is UCLA's regular rotation during home meets. Rotation order for the championship meet was determined by a blind draw conducted by the NCAA.
Meet Coverage - Live scoring will be provided on the UCLA website at the following address: http://uclabruins.collegesports.com/sports/w-gym/spec-rel/2004-ncaa-champ-central.html. The meet will be televised by CBS on Saturday, May 1 from 1-3 pm ET. Bonnie Bernstein and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden will call the action, with Tracy Wolfson serving as sideline reporter.
UCLA At The NCAA Championships - The Bruins have won three of the last four NCAA Championships and have won four titles overall (1997, 2000, 2001, 2003). UCLA won its fourth title last season with a score of 197.825, outscoring second-place Alabama by . 550. The Bruins utilized a stellar beam rotation (49.525) to take a .475 lead heading into their final event and solidified the championship with a 49.5 on floor to close the meet. In 2001, UCLA needed a near-perfect beam set to stave off Georgia in the two teams' final rotation and responded in style with a 49.575 (9.915 average) to capture the title with a team total of 197.575, .175 ahead of the Gym Dogs. The Bruins won in 2000 on the strength of a 48-for-48 performance over the two days of the championships. UCLA won its first-ever NCAA Championship in 1997, breaking the Utah-Georgia-Alabama triumvirate which had won all the other previous titles. This is UCLA's 13th consecutive and 21st overall appearance in the 23 NCAA Championships. UCLA and Georgia are the only two teams to qualify for every Super Six since its inception in 1993.
Bruins Boast Three NCAA Champions - UCLA has a meet-high three former NCAA champions on its roster - 2002 all-around, vault and floor champion and 2003 uneven bars co-champion Jamie Dantzscher, 2003 beam and 2003 uneven bars co-champion Kate Richardson and 2001 uneven bars champion Yvonne Tousek. No other school has more than one NCAA champion on its current squad. Other former champions competing in the meet are Michigan's Elise Ray (2001 all-around, 2002 beam), Georgia's Cory Fritzinger (2001 vault), and Alabama's Ashley Miles (2003 vault).
Individual NCAA History - Eleven Bruins have won 22 NCAA titles to tie for second amongst all teams. UCLA's NCAA champions are: Kim Hamilton (1987-88-89 floor, 1989 vault), Jill Andrews (1988 vault, 1989 beam), Stella Umeh (1995 and 1998 floor), Heidi Moneymaker (1998 bars, 1999 vault), Kiralee Hayashi (1999 beam), Mohini Bhardwaj (2000 bars, 2001 floor), Lena Degteva (2000 beam), Onnie Willis (2001 all-around); Yvonne Tousek (2001 bars), Jamie Dantzscher (2002 all-around, vault and floor; 2003 bars) and Kate Richardson (2003 bars and beam). Two other Bruins won AIAW national titles - Sharon Shapiro (1980-81 all-around and vault, 1980 bars, 1980 beam, 1980 floor) and Diane Dovas (1981 bars). Shapiro remains the only gymnast ever to sweep the all-around and all four events in one year at a national championships. Hamilton is the only woman to win three consecutive floor titles. UCLA has won at least two individual titles in each of the last six years and three titles in each of the last three years.
The 2003 Championship - With perhaps the greatest collection of gymnasts ever assembled on one collegiate team, UCLA claimed its third title in four years in Lincoln, Neb. The Bruins pulled away from a tight competition with a sparkling beam rotation. After struggling on beam in the preliminaries, Bruin head coach Valorie Kondos Field employed a brilliant strategy, putting in the extremely consistent Onnie Willis as the leadoff competitor. In the first leadoff beam performance of her career, Willis was not only steady but spectacular, scoring a 9.925 to set the table perfectly for her teammates, who responded by totaling a 49.525 to take a .475 lead over second-place Georgia after the fourth rotation. Alabama closed to within three-tenths of a point during rotation five, and the Bruins moved to floor with the chance to close it out. Jeanette Antolin led off with a 9.85. Seniors Kristin Parker and Malia Jones finished their careers with standout performances, scoring 9.875 and 9.9, respectively. A fall by Kate Richardson put pressure on the Bruins, but there was little doubt that the final two competitors would not respond like champions, and they did just that. Willis, the eventual Honda Award winner, scored a 9.9, and Jamie Dantzscher clinched the win with a 9.975. Individually, Richardson claimed the beam title and tied with Dantzscher for the bars title.
The 2001 Championship - The Bruins successfully defended their NCAA title with a gritty performance on balance beam in the final rotation. Leading second-place and host-team Georgia by just one-tenth of a point heading into their final rotation, the Bruins needed a near-perfect beam set to hold off the Gym Dogs, which ended on vault, one of their best events. Georgia put the heat on by posting a vault total of 49.5, meaning the Bruins needed a 49.425 or better to hold the lead. Doni Thompson started things off with a career-high 9.9 to set the table for an amazing 49.575 performance and a repeat championship. Individually, all eight competing Bruins earned All-America honors, with Onnie Willis (all-around), Yvonne Tousek (bars) and Mohini Bhardwaj (floor) capturing NCAA titles on their respective events. Valorie Kondos Field was honored as the Head Coach of the Year for the fourth time, and Bhardwaj earned the Honda Award as the nation's top gymnast.
The 2000 Championship - UCLA hit 48-for-48 routines throughout the two-day competition and won its second NCAA title with a final score of 197.3. In the team finals, the Bruins led throughout the competition and never let any competitor within four-tenths of a point after two events. Four Bruins placed in the Top 10 in the all-around, with Mohini Bhardwaj placing second, Heidi Moneymaker fourth, Lena Degteva fifth and Kristin Parker 10th. UCLA shined in the individual event finals as well, with Degteva first winning the beam, just ahead of Bhardwaj, and then Bhardwaj winning the bars, with Degteva third. The Bruins also placed three athletes in the Top 5 on vault. Bhardwaj, Moneymaker, Degteva, Parker and Onnie Willis combined to earn a school-record 18 All-America honors. The coaching staff was honored as well, with Valorie Kondos Field earning Co-Head Coach of the Year honors, her third in five years, and Randy Lane earning Assistant Coach of the Year acclaim.
The 1997 Championship - UCLA entered the 1997 season as the pre-season No. 1, saw Georgia assume the role of favorites during the regular season, then proved they were worthy of the No. 1 ranking by winning the school's first-ever NCAA Gymnastics title. Georgia opened the door early for UCLA, counting two falls on beam while the Bruins were on a first-rotation bye. In contrast, the Bruins scored a 49.2 on beam to stay in contention. Going into the final rotation, UCLA and Michigan trailed Arizona State, which ended its meet with a final score of 196.6. The Bruins and Wolverines needed a 49.25 in the final rotation to overtake the Sun Devils. While Michigan could only score 48.875 on floor, UCLA recorded a school-record 49.525 to win the crown with a final score of 197.15.
NCAA Championship Notes -
* Only four teams have ever won the NCAA title in the 22 years of the Championships - Utah (9), Georgia (5), Alabama (4) and UCLA (4).
* Eleven schools return from the 2003 NCAA Championships, including all six Super Six teams - UCLA (1st place), Alabama (2nd), Georgia (3rd), UCLA (3rd), Nebraska (4th), Michigan (5th), Utah (6th), Florida (7th), Stanford (8th), Arizona State (9th), LSU (10th) and Iowa (11th). Oklahoma joins the party this year after a two-year absence, replacing last year's 12th-place finisher Auburn.
* Six teams have been to all three UCLA-hosted NCAA Championships - UCLA, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Florida and Arizona State.
* Hosting the NCAA Championship has not always been easy. Only one host team has won the championship in the last nine years (Alabama in 2002 and 1996). The last time UCLA hosted, it finished fifth. The only other time the Bruins hosted, they finished second by .05 in 1984.
* UCLA is tied with Utah for second amongst all schools with 22 individual titles. Georgia leads all teams with 26.
* The Bruins have won more individual titles in the last six years (15) than any other team.
* The Pac-10 Conference has qualified three teams to the NCAA Championships - UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State. The Pac-10 has been represented by at least two teams in all 23 championships. A record six Pac-10 teams competed in the 1992 Championships.
Championships To Be Held On Podium - The 2004 NCAA Gymnastics Championships will be held on a podium for the first time ever. The gymnasts will be competing on a three-foot high elevated surface similar to what is used at the Olympic Games, World Championships and U.S. Championships. Eighteen gymnasts from the 12 competing teams have competed at an Olympic Games or World Championships.
UCLA vs. 2004 Field - The Bruins have defeated Georgia, Florida, Arizona State, Stanford, Michigan and Nebraska this season and have losses to Utah and Stanford.
Bruins Win Southeast Regional, Earn NCAA Berth - Needing to place in the Top 2 at Regionals to qualify for the NCAA Championships, UCLA won the NCAA Southeast Regional Apr. 3 at North Carolina State with a score of 197.325. Nebraska was second with 196.375, just edging out North Carolina (196.35). Jeanette Antolin won the all-around (39.75) and bars (9.95) and tied for first with Kristen Maloney on vault (10.0) and beam (9.95). Antolin's beam score tied a career high, and Maloney's 10 on vault was the first of her career. The Bruins tied an NCAA record with a 49.725 on vault.
Antolin Honored As SI On Campus National Gymnast of the Year, Pac-10 Gymnast Of The Year - Senior Jeanette Antolin was honored by Sports Illustrated On Campus as the national gymnast of the year and by the Pac-10 as the Conference Gymnast of the Year for 2004. The senior from Huntington Beach, Calif. has had an exceptional year, ranking either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation in the all-around throughout the entire season. She finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the all-around and on vault and second on bars and floor. Antolin has scored a school record 11 perfect 10s on the year, including seven in a row on vault. She has hit all 49 routines she has competed this season, with 39 scores of 9.9 or higher. Antolin's Gymnast of the Year honor was UCLA's 13th overall and eighth consecutive.
Three Bruins Earn All-Conference Honors - Seniors Jeanette Antolin and Kristen Maloney and sophomore Kate Richardson earned a total of eight Pac-10 All-Conference honors in 2004, a conference best. Antolin led all gymnasts with four honors - all-around, vault, bars and floor. Richardson received honors in the all-around, vault and floor, bringing her career total to seven, tied for second-most in UCLA history. Maloney picked up her first career honor on the balance beam.
Seven Bruins Earn Pac-10 All-Academic Honors - Seven UCLA gymnasts have earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors for 2004, including first-team selection Jamie Williams, who holds a 3.85 GPA in Psychology. Williams was a second-team selection a year ago and an honorable mention pick as a sophomore. Junior Christie Tedmon (3.71, Psychology/Education) and sophomores Holly Murdock (3.84, Biology) and Kate Richardson (3.74, Physiological Science) earned second-team acclaim, and seniors Jamie Dantzscher, Kristen Maloney and Yvonne Tousek received honorable mention honors.
Bruins Edged Out For Pac-10 Title - For the second consecutive week, the Bruins' fate was decided by the smallest margin possible (.025), but at the Pac-10 Championships, it did not come out in UCLA's favor, and the Bruins placed second to Stanford, 197.9-197.875. The Cardinal scored a 49.4 on vault in the last rotation to edge out UCLA, which entered the rotation with a .225 lead but scored just 49.15 on beam.Jeanette Antolin and Kate Richardson successfully defended their individual event titles with perfect scores on vault and floor, respectively. Antolin also claimed top honors on bars with Stanford's Natalie Foley. Kristen Maloney earned a six-way tie for the beam title by scoring a 9.95.
UCLA In The Rankings - The Bruins ended the regular season ranked No. 1 with an RQS (regional qualifying score, which is determined by taking the top six scores, three of which must be on the road, dropping the high and averaging the remaining five) of 198.055. The Bruins held the top spot on vault (49.590), uneven bars (49.540) and balance beam (49.535) and ranked third on floor (49.590).
Jeanette Antolin and Kate Richardson ranked 1-2 in the all-around with RQS's of 39.795 and 39.740, respectively. Richardson ranked in the Top 25 on all events. She was No. 1 on beam (9.965), No. 4 on vault (9.955), No. 6 on floor (9.955) and No. 11 on bars (9.925). Antolin ranked first on vault (10.0) and second on bars (9.955) and floor (9.975). Kristen Maloney was fourth on beam (9.945), eighth on vault (9.940) and 21st on bars (9.915). Yvonne Tousek ranked 13th on beam (9.925), and freshman Ashley Peckett was 25th on vault (9.910).
Bruins Boast Three Strong All-Around Contenders - Seniors Jeanette Antolin and Kristen Maloney and sophomore Kate Richardson are among the top contenders for the NCAA all-around crown. Antolin and Richardson rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the national all-around rankings and have consistently put up some of the highest all-around marks in 2004. Antolin has seven solo all-around wins this season, while Richardson has two. The two tied for first in the season opener vs. Utah. Antolin recorded the fifth-best all-around total in NCAA history, scoring a 39.875 on Feb. 22. She averages 39.752 on the year and has not scored lower than 39.6 in the all-around and has no individual score lower than 9.825 this year. Richardson has an all-around best of 39.85, the sixth-best total in history, and a season average of 39.609. Maloney has the Bruins' second-best average at 39.621 and has scored 39.75 twice. She placed second at the NCAA Regional behind Antolin.
Antolin Undefeated On Vault - All-American Jeanette Antolin has been unstoppable on vault this season, placing first in every meet in which she has competed. Antolin is a perfect 12-12 on the year and has won the event in her last 17 meets and in 20 of her last 21 regular season meets dating back to last year. The two-time Pac-10 vault champion averages 9.988 and has scored nine perfect 10s in 2004, including seven in a row.
Maloney Comes All The Way Back From Injury - After sitting out two full seasons due to a serious leg injury, Kristen Maloney has fully completed her comeback, competing all four events the last six meets. Her last all-around competition prior to this year was Jan. 28, 2001. In her first all-around competition of the year on Feb. 22 against Oregon State, Maloney set a new career-high with a score of 39.75 and also earned a career-high 9.975 on the uneven bars. She went 39.275 in her second all-around attempt at Washington and scored a season-best 9.975 on beam. Against Michigan, she tied her career-high with a 39.75 and won the beam with a 9.95. She has scored 39.65 in her last three meets and scored her first career perfect 10 on vault at the Regional Championships. She also claimed a share of the Pac-10 title on beam. The former Olympian ranks fourth in the nation on beam (9.945 RQS), eighth on vault (9.94) and 21st on bars (9.915). She averages 9.9 or higher on vault, beam and floor and 39.621 in the all-around.
Dantzscher Returns To Lineup - Four-time NCAA champion Jamie Dantzscher has returned to competition after a lengthy battle with an ankle injury. Prior to the season, she was expected to compete on just the uneven bars, but has healed enough to compete on floor exercise five times. In her first meet of the year, at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 20, Dantzscher won the first event on which she competed, scoring a 9.9 on the uneven bars. She also scored a 9.9 on floor exercise to place third. On Feb. 22 at home against Oregon State, Dantzscher again took first place on bars, scoring her UCLA-record 28th perfect 10. She later added a 9.95 on floor. On Mar. 7 against Michigan, she recorded a season-high 9.975 on a floor routine that amazingly included a double layout opening pass. At Florida, she tied for first on bars with a 9.95. She contributed a third-place score of 9.9 on bars and added a 9.875 on floor at the NCAA Regionals.
Richardson Aiming For Second Olympic Berth - Sophomore Kate Richardson is working towards a second Olympic appearance and has plans to try out for Canada's 2004 Olympic team. Richardson, last season's NCAA bars and beam champion, was Canada's top all-around finisher at the 2000 Games, placing a Canadian all-time best 15th.
Tousek Steady As Ever - Yvonne Tousek is having an outstanding senior season, posting high scores all season long. She averages 9.773 on bars, 9.902 on beam and 9.9 on floor, with highs of 9.95 on beam and 9.975 on floor. She scored a perfect 10 on bars Mar. 7 against Michigan.
Perfect Bruins - The Bruins have scored a school record-tying 20 perfect 10s this season. Jeanette Antolin leads the pack with a single-season school record 11, nine on vault (including seven consecutive) and two on floor. Kate Richardson has earned six perfect 10s - one on vault, two on beam and three on floor. Jamie Dantzscher and Yvonne Tousek have each scored a perfect 10 on bars, and Kristen Maloney earned her first 10 this season on vault at the Regional Championships. Dantzscher is UCLA's career leader with 28 perfect 10s.
UCLA Loaded With Elite Talent - Seven of UCLA's 16 team members have been members of their countries' national teams, while four were on Olympic teams and all seven were on World Championship teams. UCLA's 2000 Olympians are Jamie Dantzscher (U.S.), Kristen Maloney (U.S.), Kate Richardson (Canada) and Yvonne Tousek (Canada, also 1996). Other World Championship team members are Jeanette Antolin (U.S.), Holly Murdock (Great Britain) and Ashley Peckett (Canada).
Six Bruins have won National Championships for their respective countries - Dantzscher (1999 bars), Maloney (1998 and 1999 all-around, 2000 vault and floor), Murdock (2001 vault and beam), Peckett (2002 beam), Richardson (2000 vault and 2001 all-around, vault, bars and beam) and Tousek (1999 floor and vault, 2000 all-around, bars and floor).
Schwikert, Vanden Eykel To Join Bruins In 2005 - UCLA has signed U.S. Olympian and 2003 World Championship gold medalist Tasha Schwikert and former junior U.S. national champion Lindsay Vanden Eykel to national letters of intent. The duo will join the Bruin squad for the 2005 season. Schwikert is a two-time U.S. all-around champion (2001, 2002), as well as the 2003 all-around runner-up, the 2002 bars and floor champion and the 2001 beam champion. Vanden Eykel won the junior national title in her first season as a junior international elite in 1999 and repeated in 2000. In 2003, she placed in the Top 10 in the all-around and second on bars at the American Classic.
Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field - In her 14th season as head coach of the Bruins, Valorie Kondos Field has positioned her team as the premier program in collegiate gymnastics. In the past eight and a half years alone, Kondos Field has led UCLA to four NCAA titles and one runner-up finish, eight Regional titles and five Pac-10 Championships. She has been voted the national coach of the year by her peers four times in the past eight years.