Richardson, Comforte Qualify For Event Finals

April 20, 2006

Corvallis, Ore. - Bruin gymnasts Kate Richardson and Kristina Comforte qualified for event finals at the NCAA Championships and earned first-team All-America honors. Comforte recorded the highest score of the night on vault, scoring a 9.95 with two 10.0 scores from the four judges. Richardson ranked second on vault with a 9.9 and second on floor with a 9.9 to make finals on those two events as well.

Richardson's all-around hopes were dashed after her first event when she fell on her double layout dismount off bars. She otherwise had a stellar routine, scoring a 9.4 after the automatic five-tenths deduction on the fall. But she did not let the fall phase her on her other three events, earning All-America honors on beam, floor and vault. After bars, she moved to balance beam, where she hit a near-flawless routine, highlighted by the return of her signature planche handstand to two layouts, a front aerial to a backhandspring swing-down and a stuck gainer full dismount. Her score of 9.85 gave her the second-highest mark on beam at the time, but by the time Georgia finished on beam in rotation four, she was knocked down to a tie for fifth, where she finished at the end of the night to earn second-team All-America honors. On floor exercise, Richardson had the crowd in the palm of her hand. With most of the arena clapping along to her routine, she hit a nice double layout in her opening pass and closed with a high double pike dismount for a score of 9.9, which ranked second on the night. Richardson concluded her meet on vault, hitting a big Yurchenko full with a tiny hop back to score a 9.9, which was surpassed only by Comforte. Richardson finished with a 39.05 in the all-around.

'It was different competing without the team, but it was fun experience getting to rotate with OSU,' Richardson said. 'They are a great group of girls. I'm excited to compete on Saturday and that I get one more day to go out and enjoy competing one more time.'

Comforte started on uneven bars and hit her Shaposhnikova, piked Jaeger and stepped forward on her double layout dismount to score a 9.825, good for second place on bars at the time. Her score did not hold up past the next rotation, however, and she eventually finished in 11th place. On balance beam, Comforte's only noticeable mistake was a wobble on her stag jump mount. She hit her side somi, switch leap to one-armed backhandspring, sheep jump and backhandspring/layout without wobbles and stuck her gainer full dismount with a flourish and scored a 9.775, which put her out of the event finals and earned her 12th place overall in the session. On floor, Comforte stuck a huge Arabian double front opening pass and closed with a front layout, front layout half to double stag jump, scoring a 9.85 to place 11th. She ended the meet with a bang, however, nailing a huge Yurchenko full vault for a meet-best 9.95. Comforte's all-around score of 39.4 was good for third-best in the session, which earned her first-team All-America honors in the all-around and sixth place overall in the combined sessions.

'Bars and beam weren't my best, but I knew I had floor and vault left and had to come out strong and do my best,' said Comforte. 'I was just having fun out there and trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I felt I did my best floor routine of the year. It was hard not having my team with me, but having Ari, Jordan and Melissa come helped so much. The Iowa State girls helped out a lot also and were really pulling for me. It was great to end on that vault. It felt really good, and overall I felt like I had a good season and am looking forward to next year so much.'

Tasha Schwikert also competed in the meet, on vault. She hit a high Yurchenko full with a hop back to score a 9.8, which tied for sixth at the time. She finished the night in 11th place.

Qualifying to the NCAA Super Six Team Finals are Nebraska, Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Iowa State and Florida.

Individual Results (Combined Sessions)
All-Around - 1. Courtney Kupets (Georgia), 39.575; 2. Ashley Postell (Utah), 39.525; 3. April Burkholder (LSU), 39.5; 4. Tiffany Tolnay (Georgia), 39.475; 5. Ashley Miles (Alabama), 39.425; 6t. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), Emily Parsons (Nebraska), 39.4. Also: Kate Richardson (UCLA), 39.05.

Individual Results (Session II only)
Vault - 1. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), 9.95; 2. Kate Richardson (UCLA), 9.9; 3t. Tiffany Tolnay (Georgia), Janet Anson (Iowa State), 9.875. Also: 11t. Tasha Schwikert (UCLA), 9.8

Uneven Bars - 1. Katie Heenan (Georgia), 9.925; 2t. Ashley Kelly (ASU), Courtney Kupets (Georgia), Tabitha Yim (Stanford), 9.9. Also: 11t. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), 9.825; 40. Kate Richardson (UCLA), 9.4

Balance Beam - 1. Courtney Kupets (Georgia), 9.95; 2t. Corey Hartung (Florida), Tiffany Tolnay (Georgia), 9.9; 4. Nikki Childs (Georgia), 9.875. Also: 5t. Kate Richardson (UCLA), 9.85; 12t. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), 9.775

Floor Exercise - 1. Kelsey Ericksen (Georgia), 9.925; 2t. Kate Richardson (UCLA), Corey Hartung (Florida), Savannah Evans (Florida), Courtney Kupets (Georgia), Janet Anson (Iowa State), Tabitha Yim (Stanford), 9.9. Also: 11t. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), 9.85

All-Around - 1. Courtney Kupets (Georgia), 39.575; 2. Tiffany Tolnay (Georgia); 39.475; 3. Kristina Comforte (UCLA), 39.4; 4. Janet Anson (Iowa State), Erin Dethloff (Iowa State), Tabitha Yim (Stanford), 39.375.

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