Stanford Closes in on NCAA Return

April 9, 2010


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This Week
The No. 6 Stanford women’s gymnastics team competes at the NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va., for the right to advance to the NCAA Championships in Gainesville, Fla., on April 22-24. Stanford received the No. 1 seed and will compete against five other schools with the goal of finishing among two qualifying spots. This marks the 27th consecutive season that Stanford has qualified for NCAA Regional competition. The Cardinal has advanced to the NCAAs the past three years and seven of the past nine.

Follow the Action
A live webcast and live stats can be found at For the webcast, look for the All-Access links, through the Multimedia tool bar, or on the “Watch” link on the schedule pages. Live stats can be found on the Calendar of Events on the main page, or on the women’s gymnastics schedule page.

Top Contenders
Three Stanford gymnasts won regional championships in 2009 and two return.
Carly Janiga captured the all-around title at the NCAA South Central Regional in Fayetteville, Ark., with a score of 39.425 to lead Stanford to a second-place finish. Another current senior, Allyse Ishino, also won a title, sharing first on the uneven bars with a 9.90. Altogether, Stanford has five gymnasts who enter among the top five qualifiers in different events.

Carly Janiga: No competitor in the entire regional ranks as high nationally in any category as Janiga does in the all-around, where she is sixth. Among all gymnasts in the meet, Janiga has the highest Regional Qualifying Scores in four events -- the uneven bars (No. 10 in nation, 9.90 RQS), balance beam (No. 9, 9.895), all-around (No. 6, 39.500), and is tied for the best RQS on floor exercise (No. 10, 9.91).

Janiga is a six-time All-American, a three-year team captain, and this year’s Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete with a 3.78 cumulative GPA in psychology. Janiga was second in the Pac-10 all-around on March 27, after winning the title in 2009, and was the NCAA uneven bars runner-up last year behind only Georgia’s now-graduated Olympic medalist Courtney Kupets.

Allyse Ishino: The senior tri-captain enters with the meet’s third-best RQS on the uneven bars (No. 13, 9.89), and is a reigning regional champion. Ishino, a 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate, is having her best collegiate season after being hampered by illness and injury as a freshman and sophomore.

Nicole Pechanec: The sophomore has the meet’s third-best RQS in the floor (No. 19, 9.90) and has scored 9.925 or above in the event three times, including a 9.95 that helped clinch a victory over then-No. 1 UCLA on Jan. 24. Pechanec is a former international gymnast for the Czech Republic, under the name of Nicole Pechancova, and competed in two World Championships.

Shelley Alexander: The junior tri-captain is an all-around competitor, who has scored 9.925 on vault and beam. Her RQS makes her the fouth-best qualifier on vault (No. 27, 9.885).

Ashley Morgan: The freshman made a huge debut, averaging a meet-high 9.833 for her three events at defending NCAA champ Georgia. Morgan is tied as the fourth-best qualifier on the floor (No. 24, 9.895). She is the daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

Regional History
Stanford’s regional trademark seems to be success in the individual all-around competition. Cardinal gymnasts have combined to win six regional all-around titles in the past nine years.
Carly Janiga in 2009 followed the accomplishments of current volunteer assistant coach Lindsay Wing (2001, 2002), Lise Leveille (2004), and Tabitha Yim (2006, 2007). In that span, since 2001, Stanford has won 26 individual regional titles, including 12 in the past four years. As a team, Stanford has won four regional championships, all since 1999. The team’s most recent was the 2007 South Central Regional at Stanford. Its’ most recent title away from home was the 2004 North Central Regional in Denver. This marks the 27th consecutive season that Stanford has qualified for NCAA regional competition.

Regional Team Comparisons
The Southeast Regional is one of six around the country. Stanford and Michigan are the top two seeds and tied in the GymInfo national ranking at No. 6. Stanford received the No. 1 seed because its highest score, not including the six used for the Regional Qualifying Score, was higher than Michigan’s. The field:
No. 6 Stanford (196.600)
No. 6 Michigan (196.600)
No. 18 Southern Utah (195.655)
No. 28 North Carolina State (195.085)
No. 29 Kent State (195.055)
No. 31 West Virginia (194.810)
In each event, Stanford and Michigan are Nos. 1 and 2 in qualiying scores among Southeast Regional teams. Stanford leads in uneven bars and floor exercise, with Michigan leading in vault and balance beam.

Best-Ever Record
At this point of the season, with the dual and conference championship meets concluded and with the team heading into the NCAA regionals , no Stanford squad has had a better record than the 19-3 mark of this year’s team. The .864 winning percentage edges the .857 set in 2006 and 2001 during 18-3 seasons. No previous Stanford team has gone this far into the season with fewer than three losses. Overall, Stanford has beaten 16 of its past 17 opponents over a span of seven meets and has a 7-3 record this season against teams in the current Top 25.

Revisiting the Pac-10 Championships
Carly Janiga won her fourth career Pac-10 individual title by tying for first in the floor exercise to help the Cardinal to a second-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships on March 27 in Tucson, Ariz. Janiga scored 9.925 to share the floor title and placed second in the all-around. Janiga placed in the top five in every event on way to a 39.500-point all-around effort, with teammate Allyse Ishino just behind, with a 39.300.

Stanford’s Most Recent Lineup (used March 27):
This was the lineup Stanford used in its most recent meet March 27, at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships in Tucson, Ariz.:
Blair Ryland, Carly Janiga, Ashley Morgan, Alyssa Brown, Allyse Ishino, Nicole Dayton.
Uneven Bars: Shelley Alexander, Nicole Pechanec, Alyssa Brown, Allyse Ishino, Carly Janiga, Jenny Peter.
Balance Beam: Alyssa Brown, Allyse Ishino, Danielle Ikoma, Carly Janiga, Tenaya West, Ashley Morgan.
Floor Exercise: Tenaya West, Allyse Ishino, Ashley Morgan, Nicole Pechanec, Carly Janiga, Blair Ryland.

Head Coach Kristen Smyth
Kristen Smyth is a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and 2004 National Coach of the Year who arrived as head coach in 2002. Sinced then, the Stanford women’s gymnastics team has had unprecedented success, such as:
• Of Stanford’s 81 All-America honors, 60 have come in Smyth’s tenure.
• There have been 56 Scholastic All-American honors in that span.
• Of Stanford’s seven NCAA top-10 finishes, Smyth has coached the team to six of them.
• Smyth has coached the Cardinal into the NCAA Super Six finals four times – Stanford had never advanced that far before – and finished among the top-three twice.
• Smyth, in her ninth year, is the longest tenured and winningest coach in the history of the 33-year-old program.
• Smyth has a 140-38-1 record at Stanford and, this year, coached the team to a 19-3 record, the best in program history.
• Smyth’s gymnasts have won 22 individual regional titles, 21 Pac-10 titles, three team regional championships and three conference titles.

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