Cardinal Returns to Site of Pac-10 Triumph

Jan. 14, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. -

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Back to Seattle
The last time Stanford competed in Seattle's Bank of America Arena, the Cardinal won the Pacific-10 Conference title March 29, its third conference championship in five seasons. The Cardinal went on to finish third in the country, tying its best-ever team finish. Stanford (3-0), ranked No. 7 in the national rankings (based on average team scores), returns to Seattle take on Washington (1-0), Sacramento State (2-0) and Seattle Pacific (1-0) on Friday night.

Live Coverage
A free live Webcast of the meet can be found on On the home page, click on the All-Access button.

Janiga Wins Pac-10 Honor
Stanford's Carly Janiga is the reigning Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week, having earned the season's first honor Tuesday for her performance in the Cancun Classic on Jan. 2. The junior won two events in the evening session of the season-opening meet to help the Cardinal beat Oregon State, Denver and BYU. The Paradise Valley, Ariz., scored 39.275 in the all-around, posted the best score of the evening (9.9) to win the uneven bars, tied for first in the vault (9.825), and finished second on the balance beam (9.825). It was the fourth Pac-10 weekly honor that Janiga, a 2007 first-team all-around All-American, has won. She has been selected Gymnast of the Week three times and earned Event Specialist of the Week once. Her all-around score is tied for No. 8 in the nation.

Ourada Expected to Compete
Five-time All-America Nicole Ourada is expected to make her season debut after sitting out the Cancun Classic with a sore shoulder. Ourada should compete in the vault, bars and beam. Janiga is scheduled to compete in the bars and beam, with the possibility of competing all-around.

Stanford Impressive in Opener
The Cardinal opened its season at the Cancun Classic Jan. 2 with solid victories over three schools that advanced to the NCAA postseason in 2008. Stanford, which entered the meet ranked No.5 in the national preseason coaches poll, scored 195.6 points to beat No.9 Oregon State (194.575), No.14 Denver (193.825) and BYU (189.125) in the four-team evening session at the Hilton Beach and Spa Resort. Coach Kristen Smyth got an all-around victory from Carly Janiga, but felt the team's performance on the balance beam was the highlight of the meet. Allyse Ishino, in her first competition since injuring her knee at the Pacific-10 Conference championships in March, set the tone by helping the team refocus after a teammate's miss, by performing aggressively and with confidence. Ishino's 9.825 sparked a flurry of outstanding routines: Kelly Fee's 9.775, Janiga's 9.825, Heather Purnell's winning 9.85 and Shelley Alexander's 9.825. Stanford's rotation score of 49.075 was the session's best in any event. Combined with the results of the four-team morning session, Stanford's team score was the best of the day, ahead of fellow 2008 Super Six competitor LSU (194.900).

This Week: Washington
Washington (1-0) enters the week ranked No. 27 in the country and No. 6 in the West Region after a season-opening 192.55-184.65 victory over visiting Alaska-Anchorage Jan. 9. The Huskies and Stanford met twice last season, at the Chicago Style Invitational and Pac-10 Championships. At Chicago's Navy Pier, Stanford was second and Washington fourth. At Pac-10s, Stanford was first and Washington sixth. Sophomore Karen Cain led the Huskies with an all-around score of 38.450 against Alaska-Anchorage, which ranks her No. 55 in the nation.

This Week: Sacramento State
Sacramento State (2-0) is No. 30 in the country and No. 7 in the West after opening with impressive victories in Berkeley. The Hornets scored 191.925 to edge UC Davis (190.25) and Cal (186.65) Jan. 10. Senior Marina Borisova won the all-around with 39.15, which places her No. 16 on the national list and won Western Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Week honors for her efforts. The Hornets have reached the NCAA regionals the past three years. Stanford faced them once last year, in a quad meet in Davis on March 23. Stanford won and Sacramento State was second. Stanford holds an 8-0 lead in the series.

This Week: Seattle Pacific
The Falcons (1-0), ranked No. 10 in the West, faced visiting Alaska-Anchorage on Jan. 10 in their season opener, winning 188.075-185-550. Brianna Schwartz led Seattle Pacific with an all-around score of 38.4. Seattle Pacific, a Division II school, has competed in the USA Gymnastics national championships for the past 29 years. Stanford faced Seattle Pacific at a tri-meet in Corvallis, Ore., on Feb. 15. Stanford was second and Seattle Pacific third, behind Oregon State.

Home Opener Next Week
Stanford opens its home season on Thursday, Jan. 22, when it takes on Arizona State at Burnham Pavilion at 7 p.m. The Sun Devils open their season Friday when they host Missouri. Arizona State, seventh in the Pac-10 last season, entered this season No. 24 in the coaches' preseason poll.

Pac-10s Coming to Stanford March 21
Maples Pavilion (gymnastics capacity 5,488) will host the Pac-10 Conference Championships on March 21, at 4 p.m. Stanford is the defending champion and has won three of the past five titles and five overall. This will be the fifth women's gymnastics conference championship meet held at Maples Pavilion and first since 2002. More recently, it was the site of the 2008 NCAA men's gymnastics championships and the 2006 NCAA women's regionals.

The Stanford Tradition
Stanford's third-place national finish last season was the most visible indication that the Cardinal has edged its way into the women's gymnastics national elite, but there have been others:
• Stanford has two top-three finishes in five years.
• Stanford is among four schools to reach the Super Six in each of the past two years.
• Stanford is one of seven schools to reach the Super Six four times in the past seven years.
• Stanford is the defending Pac-10 champion and has captured three conference titles in five years.
• Twelve Stanford gymnasts have won 56 All-America honors since coach Kristen Smyth arrived in 2002.
• Seven Cardinal gymnasts have won Pac-10 titles in that time.

Star-studded Lineup
Stanford has four All-Americans on the roster: Kelly Fee, Carly Janiga, Nicole Ourada, and Blair Ryland. Combined, they have earned six first-team honors and 11 altogether. Also, six Cardinal gymnasts have competed for their country's senior national teams: Fee (U.S.), Janiga (U.S.), Alyssa Brown (Canada), Allyse Ishino (U.S.), Nicole Pechanec (Czech Republic) and Heather Purnell (Canada). Purnell was Canada's team captain at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Freshmen Debut
Freshmen Nicole Pechanec and Alyssa Brown each were part of Stanford's season-opening lineup in Cancun. Pechanec scored a 9.775 on the bars and 9.675 on the floor, and Alyssa Brown scored 9.775 on the vault.

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