Sixth-Ranked Bruin Gymnasts Travel To Arizona State
Jan. 22, 2007
Bruins Travel To ASU Friday - UCLA's jam-packed January schedule comes to an end on Friday, Jan. 26 with a dual meet against Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Competing in their sixth meet of the season, the Bruins (4-2) will take on Arizona State (0-1) at Wells Fargo Arena at 7:30 pm MT.
In The Rankings - UCLA ranks sixth in the latest national rankings with a total season average of 195.660. The Bruins rank fifth on vault (49.110), uneven bars (49.050) and floor exercise (49.030) and 13th on balance beam (48.470). Individually, Tasha Schwikert ranks No. 1 on floor exercise (9.910), No. 2 in the all-around (39.385), No. 6 on vault (9.895) and No. 25 on balance beam (9.810). Anna Li is 18th in the all-around (39.110) and 20th on uneven bars (9.860). Michelle Selesky ranks 23rd on vault (9.845).
Arizona State, who has competed just once this year, ranks just outside the Top 25 at 27th. Lauren Powell ranks 21st in the all-around (39.050) and tied for 24th on uneven bars (9.850), while April Boone is tied for sixth on beam (9.850) and 19th on floor (9.850).
Bruins Best Season-High Again vs. Arizona - For the second time in three days, UCLA scored a team season-high, recording a 196.75 in a dual meet victory over Arizona (193.075) on Jan. 21. The Bruins bested their season-bests on three events, scoring 49.35 on bars, 49.2 on beam and 49.35 on floor. Junior Tasha Schwikert continued her successful weekend, winning the all-around with a national-best 39.7 and capturing victories on beam (season-high 9.95) and floor (season-high 9.95). She also tied with teammate Michelle Selesky for first on vault (9.9, a career-high for Selesky). Freshman Anna Li also posted outstanding results, recording a career-high 39.55 in the all-around, the highest all-around total by any freshman in the nation this season. Li won the uneven bars with a career-high 9.95.
UCLA Scores Season-High At Fullerton - The Bruins broke the 196 barrier for the first time this season, earning a season-best 196.05 in a tri-meet victory at Cal State Fullerton. Junior Tasha Schwikert dominated the competition, winning the all-around and all four events. She recorded a national-best all-around total of 39.675, scoring consecutive 9.9s on bars, beam and floor and closing the meet with a career-high tying 9.975 on vault. The Bruins scored a season-high 49.4 on vault, with all six competitors scoring season-highs, including a 9.9 from Ashley Peckett and career-bests of 9.85 from Anna Li and Michelle Selesky.
Schwikert Back To 2005 Form - Junior Tasha Schwikert is back to the form that brought her the NCAA all-around title in 2005. Last week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week averaged a whopping 39.65 in the all-around in three all-around victories last week, scoring 39.575 against Stanford on Jan. 15, a national season-best 39.675 at Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 19 and another national-best 39.7 vs. Arizona on Jan. 21. Schwikert also picked up nine individual event victories last week, tying for first on vault (9.9) and floor (9.925) against Stanford, sweeping the four events at Cal State Fullerton (9.9 on bars, beam and floor; 9.975 on vault), and winning the beam and floor (9.95) and tying for first on vault (9.9) against Arizona.
Sixty percent of Schwikert's 20 scores this season have been 9.9 or higher, including nine in a row. She leads the team with averages of 39.385 in the all-around, 9.910 on floor, 9.895 on vault and 9.810 on beam. 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.
Selesky Shines - Senior Michelle Selesky continues to bring big scores to the Bruins in 2007. The former walk-on had only seen competition time just five times prior to this season but has been not only a mainstay but a top contributor on vault and floor. In the season opener, she won the floor exercise with a 9.9 and tied for third on vault with a 9.825 to make the medals stand for the first time in her career. Both scores were, at the time, two-tenths higher than her previous career-bests. She continued her success the following week, twice scoring 9.825s on vault and earning a 9.825 on floor at Utah to tie for fourth. She improved her personal-best on vault at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, scoring a 9.85 to tie for third place and improved it again on Sunday against Arizona, scoring a 9.9 to earn her first vault victory, tying with teammate Tasha Schwikert. Selesky currently ranks 23rd in the nation on vault with an average of 9.845 and was 20th last week on floor exercise. She has placed in the Top 3 on vault in four out of five meets.
Peckett, Berlin Show No-Fall Policy - Last season's most consistent competitors - Ashley Peckett and Ariana Berlin - have not skipped a beat in 2007. Despite an occasional struggle, each has managed to go without a fall on every routine this season. Peckett has hit 74 of her last 75 routines without a fall, dating back to 2005, and Berlin has hit 65 of her 67 career routines without a fall.
Li Makes Stellar Debut - 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. More career-highs were set at Fullerton on Jan. 19, as Li placed second in the all-around with a career-high 39.275. She also improved her personal-bests on vault (9.85 to tie for third), bars (9.875, second place) and beam (9.825 to tie for second). Li had an even better meet on Jan. 21 vs. Arizona, scoring a career-high 39.55 in the all-around to post the highest score by any freshman in the nation this year. Li also won the uneven bars with a career-high 9.95 and placed third on vault (9.825), second on beam (career-high 9.9) and tied for second on floor (9.875).
Dantzscher Dances Way To Floor Success - After a shaky opening meet, sophomore Janelle Dantzscher has hit her stride on floor exercise in the last four competitions. With a revamped floor routine, she scored a career-high-tying 9.825 at Utah on Jan. 12 to tie for fourth place. She tied for third with a career-high 9.9 vs. Stanford on Jan. 15, placed third at Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 19 with a 9.75 and tied for second against Arizona on Jan. 21 with a 9.875. Since the Jan. 12 meet, Dantzscher is averaging 9.84 on floor and 9.64 on beam.
Bruins Still Have Room To Grow - Even with the big scores UCLA posted this past weekend, there is still lots of room for improvement. The Bruins are still without All-Americans Kristina Comforte and Jordan Schwikert at full strength, and Ariana Berlin has not yet competed on floor exercise due to soreness in her leg. Comforte is limited to just balance beam at the moment, still recovering from pre-season shoulder and ankle surgeries. Schwikert has only competed on uneven bars due to a hamstring injury. All three gymnasts are strong all-around competitors. Comforte earned first-team All-America honors in the all-around last season and holds a career-high all-around score of 39.525. Schwikert has a career-best of 39.5 and was an All-Pac-10 performer in the all-around in 2005. Berlin's all-around best is 39.225, and she averaged 9.788 on floor a year ago.
About The Sun Devils - Arizona State lost to Stanford in its season opener on Jan. 19, 197.125-193.075. Friday's meet against the Bruins will be the home opener for the Sun Devils. ASU returns 12 athletes from last year's squad that placed ninth at the NCAA Championships, including All-American Nicole Harris and team captain April Boone, who scored a perfect 10 on vault last year.
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.
Ten-Year Anniversary - UCLA will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its first NCAA women's gymnastics title on Mar. 4 when the Bruins host Georgia in the home finale at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion. Members of the 1997 squad will be in attendance and honored during the meet.