Big Meet, Gymnastics Style

Feb. 21, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - No. 4 Stanford renews its rivalry with California on Sunday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley with a 2 p.m. meet. Stanford is off to its best start ever, at 11-0. Cal (0-8) is looking for its first victory. This will Stanford's final regular-season competition against a Pacific-10 Conference team before playing host to the Pac-10 Championships March 21 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford is 5-0 against conference teams this season.

On the Net
Live stats can be found at The link can be found on the Events Calendar of Cal's home page, or on the team's schedule page.

Breast Cancer Awareness Day
Think Pink! That's the message for gymnasts and fans alike as Stanford takes part in Cal's annual Breast Cancer Awareness meet, which serves as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Stanford held its own meet for the same cause on Feb. 8 against UC Davis.

Back to Back Honors
Stanford senior Nicole Ourada earned her second consecutive Pac-10 Conference Gymnast of the Week honor, for her performance in the Cardinal's double-dual victory over Oregon State and UC Davis on Feb. 15. Ourada has performed at a consistently high level all season, which was evidenced last week with a score of 39.5 in the all-around. She edged two other conference contenders, teammate Carly Janiga and Oregon State's Mandi Rodriguez, in the process. Ourada, tied her season-bests on the bars and beam (each 9.925) on the way to her second consecutive victory in three all-around competitions this season.

Best-Ever Start
Stanford's 11-0 start is considered to be a school record. It certainly is the best in at least a decade. Before that, the program wasn't nearly as strong as it is today. Among the victims have been five teams (including Arizona State) that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time their meetings. Stanford's victims that are currently ranked are: No. 9 Oregon State, No. 19 Arizona, No. 21 Denver, and No. 24 Washington. Stanford has one more ranked opponent on its regular-season schedule, No. 8 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 6.

Sunday's Opponent: Cal
The Golden Bears (0-8) are coming off their best meet of season, scoring a team-high of 191.475 against then-No. 24 Arizona State in Tempe. Cal scored higher than ASU in two events, the vault (48.275) and the beam (48.5). Sophia Hocini scored 38.475 to place third in the all-around. The junior scored a lifetime best of 38.8 at UCLA on Jan. 25.

The Series: Stanford vs. Cal
Stanford has a 16-meet winning streak in the series, including both dual and conference-meet competitions. The last time Cal beat Stanfod was in the 2000 Pac-10 Championships, when Cal was fifth and Stanford sixth. In duals, Stanford holds a 13-meet winning streak. Cal's last dual victory was March 29, 1996 in Berkeley, 194.1-193.05. In all-time dual meets, Stanford holds a 28-15 lead. But in all meets, Stanford is 25-1 in their past 26 meetings.

Last Week
Stanford scored 197.025 points to beat Oregon State's 196.6 and UC Davis' 191.55 in a tri-meet Feb. 15 at Maples Pavilion on Senior Day. It was the second victory of the season for Stanford against Oregon State, a team that finished second to the Cardinal in last year's Pac-10 Championships. Stanford exceeded 197 for the second consecutive week, set 11 individual season bests, one team event best, and a season-high mark of 9.95 by Carly Janiga on the balance beam.

Now at No. 4 ...
Stanford gained two spots in the national rankings as the first Regional Qualifying Scores were revealed. Until this week, the rankings, which appear on, were based on team scoring average. The RQS, which is explained below, is the women's gymnastics equivalent of college football's Bowl Championship Series ratings. A final ranking among the top six will allow Stanford to earn a No. 1 seed in one of the six NCAA regionals.

What the Rankings Mean
Unlike other collegiate athletics rankings, gymnastics is not based on wins and losses or votes, but first by season scoring average, and then by a Regional Qualifying Score, which is based on each team's top six regular-season scores. At least three scores must come from away meets. The highest score is then dropped and the remaining five are averaged. The 36 teams with the highest RQS earn NCAA regional berths. Teams must finish among the top two in the regionals to advance to the NCAA team preliminaries, where teams are divided into two six-team sessions. The top three in each session advance to the Super Six, the Final Four of women's gymnastics.

The Rankings ...
This week's top-10 team rankings, based on RQS: 1, Utah 196.78; 2, Georgia 196.63; 3, UCLA 196.33; 4, Stanford 196.285; 5, Auburn 196.2; 6, Florida 196.035; 7, Arkansas 196.02; 8, Alabama 196.01; 9, Oregon State 195.97; 10, LSU 195.87.

Video Interviews
Stanford captains Heather Purnell and Kelly Fee discuss the season and the team's goals and expectations in video interviews that can be found at:

Team Scores in Rankings
In every event, Stanford is among the national leaders in average score. Here is how the Cardinal ranks, and its RQS:
Overall: 4th, 196.285
Floor: 9th, 48.965
Beam: 2nd, 49.055
Bars: 4th, 49.135
Vault: 7th, 49.065

Individual Scores in Rankings
Here is how Cardinal individuals rank, with their RQS (some Stanford gymnasts are not included because they haven't yet competed in six competitions in a specific event):
Vault: 18th (t), Shelley Alexander, 9.84
Bars: 3rd, Carly Janiga, 9.895
Beam: 7th, Carly Janiga, 9.855, 20th, Heather Purnell, 9.815

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 Gymnastics Tradition
• Stanford finished third in the nation last season.
• Stanford has two top-three national 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.
• Stanford had a combined grade-point average of 3.46 last season.

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