UCLA Gymnasts To Compete In Pair Of So Cal Meets This Weekend

Jan. 17, 2007

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UCLA At Cal State Fullerton - The Bruins' first of two meets this weekend will take place on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 pm in Cal State Fullerton's Titan Gym. UCLA will compete against the host Titans, as well as San Jose State, in a triangular meet on Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Fullerton.

Bruins Host Arizona Sunday - UCLA's grueling opening month schedule continues on Sunday with a dual meet against eighth-ranked Arizona. The meet, already the Bruins' fifth of the season, will take place at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion. Free meet program posters will be available to the first 500 in attendance. This week's program poster features sophomores Ariana Berlin, Kristina Comforte and Janelle Dantzscher.

Live Coverage - Free live streaming video and live scoring will be available for Sunday's meet at www.uclabruins.com. Providing the commentary will be local broadcaster Darren Preston and former U.S. Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, who won four NCAA individual and three NCAA team titles at UCLA.

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 is located in the reserved section. 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.

In The Rankings - In the first rankings of the regular season, released on Jan. 15 prior to UCLA's meet against Stanford, the Bruins stand at seventh with a season average of 194.987. UCLA's highest event ranking is on vault, where it ranks sixth with an average of 49.087. The Bruins are also 10th on bars (48.9) and floor (48.875) and 21st on beam (48.125). Individually, Anna Li is tied for 19th in the all-around (39.1). Tasha Schwikert is ninth on floor (9.887) and 15th on vault (9.85), while Michelle Selesky ranks 20th on floor (9.862).

Bruins Drop Dual Meet To Stanford - Despite a season-best all-around score from Tasha Schwikert (39.575), UCLA could not overcome a strong performance from Stanford, who scored 196.975, the second-highest team total in the nation this season. The Cardinal hit 24-for-24 routines, while the Bruins had to count a fall on beam and scored 195.525. UCLA did, however, earn a season-high on floor with a 49.225 and received career-best routines from Janelle Dantzscher (9.9) and Ashley Jenkins (9.875), as well as season-highs from Schwikert (9.925) and Ashley Peckett (9.85). In addition to her all-around win, Schwikert tied for first on vault and floor.

UCLA Shows Two-Point Improvement At Utah - The Bruins hit all 24 of their routines without a fall and showed a nearly two-point improvement from the previous week in a close 195.975-196.325 loss at Utah. UCLA outscored Utah on both beam and floor, but Utah's uneven bars tally (49.375) made the difference in the meet. Tasha Schwikert placed third in the all-around with a 39.225 and tied for first on floor with a 9.9. UCLA set or tied 17 season-highs in the meet.

Schwikert Back To 2005 Form - Junior Tasha Schwikert is back to the form that brought her the NCAA all-around title in 2005. This week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week scored a 39.575 to win the all-around against Stanford. Her all-around mark is the second-highest in the nation so far this season. Schwikert also tied for first on vault (9.9) and floor (9.925). At Utah, she placed third in the all-around with a 39.225 and tied for first on floor with a 9.9. In the season opener against Washington, she competed all-around for the first time since the 2005 NCAA Championships and earned scores of 9.9 on vault and 9.875 on floor. Schwikert, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, missed nearly all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. She returned to competition in the last regular season meet of 2006 and also competed on three events in the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional meets. She qualified for the NCAA Championships on vault.

Peckett, Berlin Maintain High Consistency - Last season's most consistent competitors - Ashley Peckett and Ariana Berlin - have not skipped a beat in 2007. Each have hit their three events in all three meets this season. Against Washington, Peckett placed second on vault with a 9.85, while Berlin tied for third on vault with a 9.825, placed second on bars with a 9.775 and placed third on beam with a 9.675. At Utah, Peckett tied for third on vault with a 9.825 and hit season-bests on bars (9.75) and floor (9.775), and Berlin had season-bests on bars (9.85) and beam (9.75). Against Stanford, Peckett scored season-highs on bars (9.75) and floor (9.85), while Berlin recorded her season-best on beam (9.8). Peckett has hit 68 of her last 69 routines without a fall, dating back to 2005, while Berlin has hit 59 of her 61 career routines.

Selesky Shines - Senior Michelle Selesky had the meet of her career in the season opener against Washington, winning the floor exercise with a 9.9 and tying for third on vault with a 9.825 to make the medals stand for the first time in her career. Both scores were two-tenths higher than her previous career-bests. Selesky continued her success the following week, twice scoring 9.825s on vault and scoring a 9.825 on floor at Utah to tie for fourth. The former walk-on who earned scholarships in 2006 and 2007, currently ranks 20th in the nation on floor exercise.

Li Makes Stellar Debut In Season Opener - Freshman Anna Li made her Pauley Pavilion debut a memorable one, winning the all-around (39.0) and uneven bars (9.85) in her first collegiate meet on Jan. 6. Making the event even more special was the presence of her parents, Yuejiu Li and Jiani Wu, who had won Olympic team medals for China in the same arena at the 1984 Olympic Games. Li improved her all-around score the following week at Utah, scoring 39.2 to place fourth. She also placed second on beam with a 9.825.

Jenkins, Padilla Also Have Successful Pauley Debuts - Freshman Ashley Jenkins and junior transfer Natalie Padilla also had successful showings in their first meet as Bruins. Jenkins placed third on uneven bars with a 9.75, and Padilla earned a 9.75 on vault. Both also had improvements at Utah, with Jenkins improving her marks on beam (9.2) and floor (9.8), and Padilla scoring a 9.775 on vault. Jenkins upped the stakes in the next meet vs. Stanford, earning a 9.875 on floor and a 9.275 on beam.

Dantzscher Sets Career-High Twice On Floor - Sophomore Janelle Dantzscher set new career-highs on floor exercise in consecutive meets this past weekend, scoring a 9.825 to tie for fourth at Utah and then earning a 9.9 to tie for third vs. Stanford. She also had a season-best 9.7 on beam at Utah. Dantzscher seems to thrive in front of large crowds on the road; the crowd at Utah on Friday numbered 11,418, and last season, she scored career-high marks on all four events and the all-around in front of 9,603 at Georgia.

Comforte Conquers Beam - Despite undergoing shoulder and ankle surgeries in the pre-season, sophomore Kristina Comforte has healed enough to compete on and anchor the balance beam for the Bruins. The two-time All-American tied for first on the event in the season opener, scoring a 9.725, and tied for third at Utah with a 9.775. She added another 9.775 vs. Stanford. Comforte is currently limited to balance beam but should be available to compete on vault soon.

About The Opponents - Cal State Fullerton opened up the season with a 187.45-187.25 win over Boise State. The Titans overcame nearly a two-point deficit after three rotations, scoring a 48.1 on beam to Boise State's 46.1 on floor. San Jose State also rallied in the final rotation in its season opener, defeating UC Davis on the road, 189.45-187.875. Arizona edged out Michigan State on the road, 194.975-194.925. The Wildcats are ranked in the Top 10 on both vault (T-7th, 49.075) and floor (5th- 49.075). Jamie Holton and Breanne Workman are tied for fourth in the national vault rankings.

Two Meets To Be Televised On LA36 - UCLA home meets on Feb. 25 (vs. California, Cal State Fullerton and Denver) and Mar. 4 (vs. Georgia) will be televised on a delayed basis on Los Angeles cable station LA36. The station can be found throughout Los Angeles on Time Warner Cable and other LA-affiliated cable stations. Check your local listings for air dates and times.

Looking Ahead - UCLA will travel to Tempe, Ariz. on Friday, Jan. 26 to face Arizona State at Wells Fargo Arena at 7:30 pm MT.

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