Pac-10 Gymnasts Prepare for NCAA Regional Meets

April 1, 2009


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NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - Sat., April 4 - 6 p.m. local time

Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event [who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4] were named to each of the six regions. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Lincoln, Nebraska, April 16-18, hosted by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.

Visit the websites of the Pac-10 gymnastics teams or the NCAA  for competition orders and head-to-head histories. Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Washington

West Region (Seattle, WA, host Washington) - No. 2 Utah, No. 11 Auburn, No. 14 Illinois, No. 19 Boise State, No. 33 WASHINGTON, No. 34 San Jose State. Individual qualifiers include California's Avery Gee (floor exercise), Bridgette Glass (uneven bars, alt. on balance beam), Sophia Hocini (all-around).

North Central Regional (Iowa City, IA, host Iowa) - No. 6 Florida, No. 7 UCLA, No. 18 Minnesota, No. 20 Denver, No. 23 Iowa State, No. 28 Iowa.

South Central Regional (Fayetteville, AR, host Arkansas) - No. 4 STANFORD, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 16 Michigan, No. 25 ARIZONA, No. 31 ARIZONA STATE, No. 27 Southern Utah.

Central Regional (Columbus, OH, host Ohio State State) - No. 5 LSU, No. 8 OREGON STATE, No. 17 Ohio State, No. 22 Kent State, No. 24 Kentucky, No. 26 Michigan State.

Northeast Regional (Tuscaloosa, AL, host Alabama) - No. 3 Alabama, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 15 Missouri, No. 32 Central Michigan, No. 35 New Hampshire, No. 35 Maryland.

Southeast Regional (Raleigh, NC, host North Carolina State) - No. 1 Georgia, No. 12 Penn State, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 21 West Virginia, No. 29 North Carolina State, No. 30 North Carolina.


Propelled by their outstanding youngsters, UCLA edged OREGON STATE and defending champion STANFORD at the Pac-10 Women's Gymnastics Championships on Mar. 21 to clinch the program's 14th Conference title. Despite recording the highest team score in only one event, the balance beam, No. 7 UCLA avoided any poor showings to win at 196.725 in front of 3,035 at Stanford's Maples Pavilion. Runner-up Oregon State (196.550) and third-place Stanford (196.525) were victimized at the balance beam and the floor exercise, respectively.

Stanford junior Carly Janiga earned her first Pac-10 all-around championship at 39.575. The four-time All-American also won the balance beam (9.95) and finished in a five-way tie for the uneven bars' title at 9.9. Oregon State's Mandi Rodriguez, named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year, finished second in the all-around at 39.5. The 5-7 junior won the vault (9.95) and finished tied with Stanford's Nicole Ourada for the floor title at 9.9. A pair of newcomers helped UCLA round out the top five in the all-around. Freshmen Vanessa Zamarripa (39.4) and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (39.175) finished third and fifth, respectively, sandwiched around Bruins senior Ariana Berlin, who took fourth at 39.35.

UCLA junior Anna Li made the most of her only event, the uneven bars, to earn a share of her team's lone individual title. She joined Oregon State's Jen Kesler and Leslie Mak, and Stanford's Janiga and Ourada in the rare five-way championship.

Stanford's Kristen Smyth was selected Pac-10 Coach of the Year by her peers, her fourth such honor. UCLA's Hopfner-Hibbs earned the Conference's Freshman of the Year honor.

Only three programs have won the Pac-10 title. Stanford has five championships. Oregon State has four, none since 1996.

In the team competition, WASHINGTON finished fourth at 194.375, just ahead of ARIZONA (194.325) and ARIZONA STATE (194.000). CALIFORNIA (191.750) rounded out the field.

Arizona State's Beaté Jones finished seventh in the all-around at 38.925. Washington's Amanda Cline (38.825) tied for eighth. Sophia Hocini led Cal by taking 12th in the all-around at 38.65. Arizona's Colleen Fisher (38.475) was 13th.


ARIZONA - Senior Briana Bergeson led the Wildcats in their last meet before Regionals, posting team-highs on bars (9.8) and beam (9.85). Hitting a 49.200 on floor, their most consistent event all season, the Wildcats were bested only by Oregon State on the exercise. Sarah Tomczyk was the top Wildcat individual performer on floor, scoring 9.875 and finishing third overall on the event. Four other Arizona gymnasts scored a 9.8 or higher on the exercise. Closing the meet on vault, Arizona fell slightly shy of the 49-point mark but garnered a fifth-place showing in freshman Deanna Graham (9.85T).

ARIZONA STATE - The Sun Devils found success early on at the Pac-10 Championships, compiling a 49.000 on their second event of the night, vault. Beaté Jones nailed a 9.9 and ultimately tied for fourth place. Mary Atkinson and Nicole Harris each posted 9.85s. Due to uncharacteristic falls on floor and bars, the momentum was not sustained. However, the Sun Devils saved their best for last and lit up the beam. Harris nabbed a 9.9 and tied for second; Kaitlynn Bormann put up a strong routine and earned a 9.8.

CALIFORNIA - The Golden Bears closed out their season at the Pac-10 Championships with a seventh-place team finish. The Bears’ top performer was senior Bridgette Glass, who reached 9.8 on her event specialties of beam (9.85, 7th) and bars (9.8, 12th). Avery Gee recorded the top score for California on floor with her 9.7. But Gee’s best performance of the night came on beam, for which she was awarded 9.775. All-arounder Sophia Hocini garnered a 12th place finish (38.650). All three gymnasts earned individual invitations to the NCAA West Region.

OREGON STATE – The Beavers finished second at the Pac-10 Championships for the second straight year and Mandi Rodriguez earned Pac-10 titles on vault and floor exercise, while Leslie Mak and Jen Kesler tied for the uneven bars title. The 10th-ranked Beavers nailed six routines on the uneven bars to overtake Stanford in the final rotation. But all the successes came after a wobbly start on beam, an event on which the Beavers’ fifth-ranked lineup couldn’t muster a score higher than 9.85. After the second bye, Oregon State righted themselves for good on vault, where four vaulters tallied career-high scores.

STANFORD - Junior Carly Janiga captured the all-around title, Kristen Smyth was awarded Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors and the Cardinal earned at least a share of four individual titles out of five events at Pac-10s. Janiga not only captured her first all-around title (39.575), but repeated as the balance beam winner (9.95) and earned a share of the uneven bars championship (9.9). Nicole Ourada followed suit with her first two Pac-10 titles, tying for first on the floor exercise (9.9) and bars (9.9), And Shelley Alexander came through with three career bests. Senior captain Kelly Fee earned scores of at least 9.825 on bars, beam, and floor.

UCLA – Needing to hit a 49.15 on beam in the final rotation to surpass Stanford, UCLA scored a season-high 49.325 to claim its 14th Pac-10 title. The Bruins scored 49.0 or better on all four events and saved the best for last (49.35), conquering their beam demons in a big way with a 6-for-6 performance to take the victory. Mizuki Sato (9.775) and Vanessa Zamarripa (9.9) both scored career high beam routines and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs clinched the team title with a 9.9. Other 9.9 individual performances came courtesy of Ariana Berlin on floor and Anna Li on bars (T-1st). Zamarripa was UCLA’s top all-arounder, scoring 39.4 to place third.

WASHINGTON - The GymDawgs finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, the highest Husky finish since 2003. Starting the meet on bars, the Huskies were bolstered by Samantha Walior and Kristen Linton, who each scored 9.75. Next up on beam, Washington’s freshmen came up big, with Hatsune Akaogi (9.750 and Amanda Cline (9.775) recording the team’s highest scores on the event. On floor Cline contributed her second career best of the night and Walior paced the Huskies with a 9.85, good for sixth. Anchoring the team on vault, senior Ashley Houghting hit her highest score in four meets, a 9.9 (4th).



Gymnast of the Year: Mandi Rodriguez, Oregon State
Newcomer of the Year: Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, UCLA
Coach of the Year: Kristen Smyth, Stanford

MANDI RODRIGUEZ becomes the third Oregon State gymnast to earn the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year award and the first since 1994. Selected by the Conference’s head coaches prior to the Pac-10 championship meet, Rodriguez proved by earning the Championship title on vault (9.95) and tying for first on the floor exercise (9.90) that the coaches’ votes were deserved. She finished the meet second in the all-around with a score of 39.500. In 2009, Rodriguez has “hit” 45 of her 48 routines (94%) and has secured 24 individual titles on the season, which ranks fifth in single-season history at OSU. Among her wins this year are 10 on the vault, on which she ranks No. 5 in the nation, and nine on floor, where she ranks third in the country. In addition, Rodriguez has five all-around titles to her name and ranks sixth in the nation with a RQS of 39.480. In Conference standings, Rodriguez tops the charts on the floor exercise and in the all-around and is second on the vault. The honor, Rodriguez’s fifth Conference recognition this season, makes her the most decorated Pac-10 gymnast of 2009.

ELYSE HOPFNER-HIBBS was selected as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, UCLA's sixth honoree in the 10 years the award has been given. Hopfner-Hibbs is the highest-ranked freshman all-arounder in the nation - 15th overall with a RQS of 39.410 - and leads the Bruins with four all-around victories on the year. She is also ranked in the top 20 on beam and floor. The three-time Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week owns a team-high 28 top 3 finishes and her 11 individual wins ranks second in the Bruin lineup. Hopfner-Hibbs holds season highs of 39.525 in the all-around, 9.95 on vault and floor, 9.925 on beam and 9.875 on bars. She placed fifth in the all-around and tied for second on balance beam at the Pac-10 Championships.

KRISTEN SMYTH has coached the Stanford women’s gymnastics team to unprecedented success during her eight seasons, and added to her personal achievements by earning her fourth Pac-10 Coach of the Year award after leading the Cardinal to a regular-season No. 4 national ranking and into the NCAA regionals as No. 1 seed. Smyth coached junior Carly Janiga to the 2009 Pac-10 all-around title and placed five gymnasts on the All-Conference teams. In addition, Stanford contributed nine student-athletes to the Pac-10 All-Academic teams. Since Smyth arrived at Stanford, the Cardinal has finished as high as third in the country (twice) and last season reached the NCAA Super Six for the second consecutive year and fourth time in the past seven seasons. Four gymnasts from the 2008 squad earned All-America recognition; in all, Smyth has coached 12 gymnasts to a total of 56 All-America honors. In addition, 20 different gymnasts have been named Academic All-Americans under Smyth for having grade-point averages of 3.50 or above.

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