Gymnastics Hosts Stanford, San Jose State In Final Home Meet Mar. 5
Feb. 28, 2006
UCLA Hosts Stanford, SJSU Sunday - Eighth-ranked UCLA (15-3) will host 12th-ranked Stanford and San Jose State on Sunday, Mar. 5 in the Bruins' final home meet of the season. The meet will start at 2 pm, but fans are encouraged to come early to catch the pre-meet festivities honoring senior Kate Richardson.
Live Coverage - Live streaming video and live scoring will be available for Sunday's meet at www.uclabruins.com. Video access is available for subscribers of 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 all of UCLA's gymnastics home meets.
Tickets - Tickets to Sunday's meet are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. Tickets are $12 (adult)/$10 (youth) for reserved and $8 (adult)/$6 (youth) for general admission. UCLA students are free with valid ID.
Promotions - The first 100 UCLA students in attendance will receive a free In-N-Out burger in the student section ... UCLA faculty/staff can receive up to four free admissions with their staff ID ... Free meet program/posters will be distributed to the first 500 in attendance. This week's program/poster features the 2006 Bruin team.
Senior Salute - On Saturday, senior co-captain Kate Richardson will be performing in Pauley Pavilion for the last time in her storied UCLA career. Richardson has been one of UCLA's all-time greats, winning two NCAA individual titles (2003 bars and beam) and two NCAA team titles (2003, 2004) so far in her career. After the 2004 season, she did what only one other female collegiate gymnast had done before - compete in the Olympic Games. Not only did Richardson compete for Team Canada, but she also became the first woman in Canadian history to qualify for the floor exercise finals, where she placed seventh. Richardson is a 10-time All-American, two-time Academic All-American and the recipient of nine perfect 10s in her career.
In The Rankings - UCLA ranks eighth in this week's national rankings, which are based on Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). The Bruins are ranked fifth on vault (49.185) and bars (49.025), seventh on beam (48.885) and 10th on floor (49.010). Individually, senior Kate Richardson ranks second in the nation in the all-around (39.435) and is in the Top 10 on all four events, checking in at fifth on vault (9.895) and beam (9.880), sixth on floor (9.885) and 10th on bars (9.880). Freshman Kristina Comforte ranks 18th in the all-around (39.115) and is in the Top 20 on vault (tied for 17th, 9.865), bars (fourth, 9.895) and beam (tied for ninth, 9.855). Also ranked are freshman Ariana Berlin in the all-around (21st, 39.075) and freshman Melissa Chan on beam (tied for 14th, 9.840).
About The Cardinal - Stanford has posted a season-high of 196.875 and is ranked 12th nationally with an RQS of 195.585. Sophomore Liz Tricase ranks second in the nation on uneven bars (9.9) and scored a perfect 10 on Feb. 17. Freshman Nicole Ourada ranks 19th in the all-around (39.085) and 10th on floor (9.870). The Cardinal has two returning All-Americans on its squad - Tabitha Yim and Natalie Foley. Tricase and freshman Kelly Fee were club teammates with UCLA freshman Kristina Comforte at the Illinois Gymnastics Institute.
About The Spartans - San Jose State features two names familiar to Bruin fans - first-year assistant coach Doni Thompson and freshman gymnast Renae Moneymaker. Thompson was an All-American and three-time NCAA team champion at UCLA (2000, 2001, 2003), and Moneymaker is the younger sister of former Bruin star Heidi Moneymaker, who won two NCAA team titles (1997, 2000) and two NCAA individual titles (1998 bars, 1999 vault). The Spartans are ranked in the Top 25 on both vault and beam.
Bars Struggles Costly At Arizona - The Bruins got off to a rocky start at Arizona on Feb. 24, with three falls on the uneven bars in the first rotation, but UCLA rebounded to score 194.7 in a dual meet loss to the Wildcats. Senior Kate Richardson won the all-around for the seventh time this season and also took first-place honors on vault and floor. Kristina Comforte won the balance beam with a career-high tying 9.9. Ariana Berlin placed second in the all-around with a career-high 39.225 and tied for third on vault.
Freshmen Practically Seasoned Veterans - With the amount of competition time the seven-member Bruin freshman class has already attained this season, they could easily be described as seasoned veterans. In 10 meets, the freshmen have accounted for 161 of the team's 236 routines (68%). Four freshmen - Kristina Comforte, Melissa Chan, Ariana Berlin and Janelle Dantzscher - have gone all-around three times or more, with each scoring in the 39s at least once.
Chan Slated To Return - Freshman Melissa Chan is expected to compete on 1-2 events on Sunday. She missed UCLA's last three meets with a calf injury. Chan has been a valuable all-arounder for UCLA this season, recording a season-best of 39.375 to win the Oregon State meet. She is tied for 14th in the national rankings on beam with a RQS of 9.840 and scored 9.8 or better on the event in six of her seven meets. She has season-bests of 9.85 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.9 on beam and 9.9 on floor.
Jordan Schwikert Back On Track After Shoulder Surgery - Sophomore All-American Jordan Schwikert is back to her old form after being sidelined from November to late January after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Since returning on three events on Feb. 3, she has set career-highs on all three events in which she has competed (9.95 on vault and 9.925 on beam to win at Georgia and 9.9 on floor to win against Washington). Schwikert is averaging 9.8 on vault (third-best on the team), with three scores of 9.9 or better in the last five meets. She also leads the team with a 9.805 average on floor. Her sister Tasha Schwikert, who had the same surgery in December, remains out but is progressing well. The reigning NCAA all-around champion was cleared last week to start training skills.
Berlin Beating The Odds - 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 35 of 36 routines (97.2%) so far this season. She has become a mainstay in the all-around lineup in each of the last eight meets and recorded a best of 39.225 last week at Arizona. She won her first all-around title on Feb. 12 against Washington with a score of 39.2. Berlin, who is ranked 21st in the all-around in this week's national rankings, 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 and earned Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week acclaim after her all-around victory on Feb. 12.
Peckett Holds Near-Perfect Hit Percentage - Another steady competitor for UCLA has been junior Ashley Peckett. Limited to vault and bars due to an ankle injury, Peckett has recorded a nearly perfect 'hit' percentage on those two events, hitting 17 of 18 routines (94%), with her first miss coming on bars at Arizona. Nevertheless, she has hit 50 of her last 51 consecutive routines dating back to last season. Peckett holds the Bruinsf second-best average of vault (9.806) and third-best average on bars (9.756) and has scored season-highs of 9.9 on bars and 9.875 on vault.
Comforte Scores Nation's Perfect 10 - Freshman Kristina Comforte became the first gymnast in the nation to score a perfect 10 this season. At Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 3, Comforte hit a flawless Yurchenko layout full vault to receive her first career perfect score. Comforte, a current member of the U.S. National Team, also won the uneven bars at that meet 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). The only other athlete to score a perfect 10 this year is Comforte's former club teammate Liz Tricase of Stanford. Tricase scored a 10 on bars on Feb. 17.
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). Jalynne and Janelle have competed in every meet this season, with Jalynne scoring 9.8 on better on five of her last six floor routines, and Janelle recording career highs on every event plus the all-around at Georgia on Feb. 17.