UCLA Gymnasts At Cal Friday, Host Washington Sunday At 2 pm

Feb. 6, 2006

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UCLA Travels To Cal Friday - The 11th-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (8-1) will travel to the Bay Area for a quad meet at Berkeley against California, UC Davis and Sacramento State. The meet will take place on Friday, Feb. 10 at Haas Pavilion at 7:30 pm. Calbears.com will offer live streaming video/audio for a fee, but the feed will be mostly focused on Cal due to the multi-team format. Live scoring will also be available free of charge at calbears.com.

Chan, Kitasoe Return To Bay Area - Bruin freshmen Melissa Chan and Alyssa Kitasoe will compete in the Bay Area for the first time as collegiate gymnasts. Chan, who is from Los Gatos (Los Gatos HS), and Kitasoe, who is from Menlo Park (Menlo-Atherton HS), both trained at Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara.

Bruins Host Huskies In John Wooden Challenge Sunday - UCLA returns home for the John Wooden Challenge against Washington. The Challenge will honor not only both teams' academic and athletic achievements, but also Coach Wooden himself. The meet will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12 in Pauley Pavilion at 2 pm. This will be the third time UCLA has faced Washington this season. The Bruins won both prior meetings.

Tickets - Tickets to UCLA gymnastics meets are available for sale on a season ticket or single-meet basis. For the best value, UCLA offers a season ticket package that costs $30 ($6/meet) and has seats located in the reserved section. All season ticket holders will receive a special gift to be redeemed at each home meet this season. The season ticket holder gift for this week's meet is John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. Single-meet tickets are $12 (adult)/$10 (youth) for reserved and $8 (adult)/$6 (youth) for general admission. UCLA students are free with valid ID.

Promotions - UCLA Faculty/Staff will receive four free admissions with their Bruin Card or paystub. Free meet program/posters will be distributed to the first 500 in attendance. This week's program/poster features juniors Ashley Peckett, Michelle Selesky and Courtney Walker, and sophomore Jordan Schwikert.

Live Coverage - Live streaming video and UCLA All-Access. The fee for UCLA All-Access is $6.95 per month, and it allows users access to audio and video broadcasts of all available UCLA sporting events, including each UCLA gymnastics home meet.

In The Rankings - With a season average of 194.845, UCLA is ranked 11th in this week's national rankings. The Bruins are ranked eighth on vault (48.990), 11th on bars (48.760), sixth on beam (48.680) and 20th on floor (48.451). Individually, senior Kate Richardson ranks 11st in the all-around (39.180), 10th on vault (9.86) and 12th on bars (9.855). Freshmen Melissa Chan (9.805) and Kristina Comforte (9.8) are ranked 15th and 17th, respectively, on beam.

Comforte Scores Perfect 10, Selected Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week - Freshman Kristina Comforte earned Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors and UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week acclaim after becoming the first gymnast in the nation to score a perfect 10. At Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 3, Comforte hit a flawless Yurchenko layout full vault to receive her first career perfect score. Comforte also won the uneven bars with a career-best 9.9 and placed second in the all-around with a career-high 39.475. In addition, she finished third on both beam (9.825) and floor (9.75).

Bruins Roll To Win At Cal State Fullerton - Buoyed by Kristina Comforte's perfect 10 on vault, the Bruins rolled to a 195.925-190.05 win at Cal State Fullerton. Senior Kate Richardson won the all-around for the fourth time in five meets, scoring a season-best 39.55. Richardson also won beam with a 9.925 and floor with a season-high tying 9.9. Comforte placed second with a career-high 39.475, and Ariana Berlin set a new career-high with a 38.975 to place third. Several other Bruins scored new career-best marks: Jalynne Dantzscher with a 9.825 on floor to place second, Berlin with a 9.85 on vault to place third, and Janelle Dantzscher with a 9.65 on vault and a 9.725 on bars in her first time in the bars lineup. Additionally, Jordan Schwikert returned to the lineup on vault (9.625), beam (9.775) and floor (9.725).

Freshmen Practically Seasoned Veterans - With the amount of competition time the seven-member Bruin freshman class has already attained in one month, they could easily be described as seasoned veterans. In UCLA's first five meets, the freshmen have accounted for 86 of the team's 120 routines (72%). A minimum of four freshmen have been in the lineup on every event in every meet this year, and four freshmen - Kristina Comforte, Melissa Chan, Ariana Berlin and Janelle Dantzscher - have gone all-around at least once, with Comforte going the distance in all five meets.

Richardson Posts One Of Nation's Highest All-Around Marks - Senior Kate Richardson posted one of the top all-around marks in the nation this season, 39.55, in winning her fourth all-around title of the year at Cal State Fullerton. The senior co-captain has won the all-around in four of UCLA's five meets, with her scores improving with each win. In the season opener in Hawaii, she won the all-around (38.75), vault (9.85) and floor (9.8). Against Utah, she nearly swept the competition, winning the all-around (39.275), vault (9.9), bars (9.95) and beam (9.95). At Washington, she won the all-around with a season-best 39.3 and also claimed first place honors on beam (9.9) and floor (9.8). She won vault and tied for first on bars and floor against Oregon State and won the all-around (season-high 39.55), vault (season-high tying 9.9), beam (9.925) and floor (season-high tying 9.9) at Cal State Fullerton. Remarkably, Richardson is coming off a fractured tibia suffered in September.

Jordan Schwikert Returns To Action - Sophomore All-American Jordan Schwikert returned to competition on vault and beam at Washington on Jan. 20 after being sidelined since November due to arthroscopic shoulder surgery. She made her floor debut at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 3 and scored a 9.725. Tasha Schwikert, who had the same surgery in December, remains out but is progressing well with her rehab.

Berlin Continues To Impress - Freshman walk-on Ariana Berlin has been one of the most pleasant surprises in collegiate gymnastics this season. Berlin, who prior to this season had not competed in gymnastics since a serious car accident in 2001 halted her budding elite career, has been one of UCLA's rocks, hitting all 16 of her routines so far this season. She has broken into the all-around lineup in each of the last three meets and has improved her scores in each meet. Her current season-high is 38.975. Berlin was selected the UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week for Jan. 17-22 after placing second in the all-around at Washington and scoring 38.95 against Oregon State two days later.

Peckett Shows Great Consistency - Junior Ashley Peckett has been UCLA's most consistent gymnast so far this season, hitting all of her routines in four meets. She holds the Bruins' second-best averages on both vault (9.788) and on bars (9.769), with season-highs of 9.875 on vault and 9.8 on bars. Peckett, who sat out last weekend's meet at Cal State Fullerton with the flu, has hit 41 consecutive routines dating back to last season.

Sister Act 2 - Last season, Tasha and Jordan Schwikert became the first pair of sisters to compete concurrently for UCLA's gymnastics team. This season, the sisters are joined by another pair of sisters, Jalynne and Janelle Dantzscher, who are the first set of twins to compete for the Bruins. The name Dantzscher should be a familiar one to Bruin fans. The twins' older sister Jamie Dantzscher competed for UCLA from 2001-04 and won three NCAA team (2001, 2003, 2004) and four NCAA individual titles (2002 all-around, vault, floor; 2003 bars).

Standouts In Classroom - The Bruins had large success in the classroom in the fall, with 10 team members making the Director's Honor Roll (3.0 or better) for fall quarter. Freshman Janelle Dantzscher topped all gymnasts with a 4.0 GPA. Jalynne Dantzscher, Ashley Peckett, Michelle Selesky and Courtney Walker each recorded GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Also making the Director's Honor Roll were Kristina Comforte, Kate Richardson, Tasha Schwikert, Jordan Schwikert and Lindsey Vanden Eykel.

Early Graduates - Three members of the UCLA squad graduated from high school early to join the Bruins. Jalynne and Janelle Dantzscher took extra community college courses last year so that they could graduate a year early from San Dimas HS. Maranda Smith graduated a half-year early in December and just joined the Bruin team on Dec. 27. She began classes at UCLA in January for the start of winter quarter.

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