March 20, 2000
NEXT MEET -- Second-ranked UCLA will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships when it competes at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, Apr. 1 in Corvallis, OR. The meet will take place at Gill Coliseum at 6:00 pm. Also competing in the Regional are No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 15 Stanford, No. 18 Washington, No. 20 Oregon State and Boise State. The top two finishers in the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held Apr. 13-15 in Boise, ID.
ROTATION ORDER --
UCLA's REGIONAL HISTORY -- UCLA has won 10 regional titles, including six in the last seven years. Last season, the Bruins won the regional title in Corvallis. That year, UCLA was not one of the 12 seeds and thus had to compete against two seeded teams in Utah and Oregon State. The non-seeding proved to be no matter to the Bruins, who placed first with a score of 197.025 after hitting 24 of 24 routines. Heidi Moneymaker won the all-around, and two of her Bruin teammates also placed in the Top 5. Moneymaker (1999 all-around, 1997 bars) and Lena Degteva (1997 beam) have won individual Regional titles in the past.
BRUINS ACCUSTOMED TO SUCCESS IN CORVALLIS -- Corvallis has been kind to the Bruins in recent years, having been the site of some of UCLA's top performances in history. The Bruins have won five of their last six meets in Corvallis, including three consecutive last year - at Regionals (197.025), Pac-10s (197.775) and in a dual meet Jan. 22 (194.575). UCLA also won meets in Corvallis in 1997 (196.5) and 1996 (194.325).
A LOOK AT THE FIELD -- UCLA has posted two wins apiece over Stanford, Oregon State and Washington and have not faced Oklahoma or Boise State this season. Oklahoma has two gymnasts ranked in the Top 25 in the all-around - No. 20 Amber McCracken and No. 23 Leticia Ishii. Stanford is led by 1998 NCAA vault champion Larissa Fontaine, who ranks third nationally in the all-around. Oregon State's top all-arounder is freshman Annie Campbell, and the Beavers have one gymnast ranked in the Top 25 - Katrina Severin, who ranks 19th nationally on vault. Washington has a trio of strong all-arounders - 10th-ranked Tiffany Simpson, 25th-ranked Lanna Apisukh, as well as Lauren Riesenman. Simpson and Apisukh placed fourth and fifth, respectively, at Pac-10s. Big West champion Boise State is led by Tiffany Weston, who ranks third nationally on floor. Weston won the Big West floor title and placed second in the all-around.
UCLA REPEATS AT PAC-10 CHAMPS -- The Bruins won their ninth Pac-10 title Mar. 18 in Tempe, AZ with a season-high away score of 197.7. UCLA hit six for six on beam to start the meet and cruised the rest of the way. Mohini Bhardwaj won the all-around title with a score of 39.7 and also won titles on vault (career-high tying 9.95) and floor (9.925, tied with Heidi Moneymaker and two ASU gymnasts). Lena Degteva placed first on bars (career-high 9.975) and beam (season-high 9.925). She also placed second in the all-around with a 39.675. The Bruins now have a Pac-10 high 60 conference individual titles, including a record 10 all-around champions. Bhardwaj's all-around win gave UCLA seven all-around crowns in the last eight years.
BRUINS SWEEP PAC-10 AWARDS -- After sweeping the individual titles and team title at the Pac-10 Championships, the accolades kept rolling in for the Bruins- UCLA swept the Pac-10 awards as well, with head coach Valorie Kondos earning Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her career, senior Heidi Moneymaker becoming UCLA's fourth consecutive Gymnast of the Year, and Doni Thompson winning the inaugural Freshman of the Year award.
PAC-10 TITLE BODES WELL FOR BRUINS AT REGIONALS -- When UCLA wins the Pac-10 Championship, all signs point to a likely Regional victory as well. In seven of the eight previous times the Bruins won the Pac-10 title, they also won Regionals later that year. UCLA won both titles in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999.
MONEYMAKER BECOMES A HISTORY-MAKER AGAIN -- Heidi Moneymaker vaulted her way into the UCLA record books again Mar. 5, scoring her second perfect 10 on vault this season. She becomes the first UCLA gymnast ever to score two perfect 10s on the same apparatus. Earlier this season, on Feb. 11, she scored her first career 10.0 on vault and went on to set a new school record in the all-around with a 39.775. Moneymaker now averages 39.233 in the all-around, 9.913 on floor, 9.883 on vault and 9.772 on bars.
VAULTERS REACH PERFECTION -- Prior to this season, only three UCLA gymnasts had ever scored a 10.0 on vault. This season alone, THREE Bruins have scored a total of four perfect 10s - Moneymaker (twice), Onnie Willis and Degteva. It is the first time in school history that more than two perfect 10s have been handed out in the same year. The Bruins, who are ranked first nationally on vault and have four athletes ranked in the Top 20, have the highest degree of difficulty in the nation on vault. Moneymaker and Kristin Parker have competed a handspring front layout with a half-twist (worth 9.9 in the FIG international elite code), and Bhardwaj competes a Yurchenko layout with 1 1/2 twists (worth 9.8 in the FIG international elite code). Willis and Degteva throw Yurchenko Arabians. Moneymaker has another two 10.0 start value (collegiate code) vaults in her repertoire. UCLA has scored above 49.0 on vault in all but one meet this year and is ranked first nationally, with a school record and national season-high 49.65 set Mar. 5.
DEFENDING NCAA VAULT CHAMP IMPROVES STATUS -- At a time when many collegiate gymnasts are struggling to compete one 10.0 start value vault, reigning NCAA vault champion Heidi Moneymaker has not one, not two but THREE 10.0 vaults in her repertoire. She has competed a handspring front pike with a half-twist, a Phelps and now the most difficult vault being performed at the collegiate level - a handspring front layout with a half-twist, on which she has scored two perfect 10.0s.
BRUINS RAISE THE BAR -- The Bruins set a new school record on bars Feb. 6 with a 49.7 out of 50, eclipsing the old record by .175. Doni Thompson started the record-setting set with a career-high 9.925. Onnie Willis followed with her 9.975. Kristin Parker and Lena Degteva followed that with career-highs of 9.925. Heidi Moneymaker's 9.85 was thrown out when Mohini Bhardwaj finished the set with a career-high 9.95. The Bruins averaged 9.925 in their six routines. Four Bruins have scored 9.975 this season - Willis Feb. 6, Moneymaker and Bhardwaj twice on Feb. 11 and Mar. 5 and Degteva Mar. 18. UCLA is averaging 49.456 in its last four meets and has moved into a tie for second place in the national rankings.
THE COMEBACK KIDS -- Freshman Doni Thompson not only made her collegiate debut Jan. 8, but she also competed in her first meet in four and a half years. The former U.S. National Team member retired from gymnastics in 1995 after winning gold medals at the Pan Am Games (team) and USA Championships (beam) and a bronze at the World Championships (team). She returned in 1998 but had not competed since the 1995 Worlds. Thompson showed little signs of rust in her first meet at the Super Six Challenge, scoring a 9.8 on bars and a 9.775 on floor. She was also the only Bruin to stay on the beam, scoring a 9.525. Thompson has hit 27 of 28 routines this season, including nine routines in the precarious and very important leadoff position. Her value to the team was demonstrated when she was voted the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year.
Redshirt freshman Amy Young, out for two years with two ACL surgeries to her left knee, made her comeback this season, competing on beam five times for the Bruins. In her first home meet ever as a Bruin (Feb. 20), she scored a career-high 9.8 to tie for second place.
UPDATED ATHLETE BIOS --
MOHINI BHARDWAJ -- Five-time All-American Mohini Bhardwaj added three Pac-10 titles to her impressive resume, winning the all-around, vault and floor crowns Mar. 18. Bhardwaj finishes the regular season ranked first nationally on bars and second in the all-around, as well as sixth on beam, 10th on vault and 12th on floor. In her nine meets this season, she is averaging 39.369, with three scores of 39.7 or higher. She leads the team in individual wins with 21, including a team-high six in the all-around. Bhardwaj, the Pac-10's athlete of the week Jan. 18, averages over 9.8 on vault, bars and floor. Bhardwaj has recorded scores of 9.9 or higher in 21 out of 36 routines this year.
LENA DEGTEVA -- Eight-time All-American and team co-captain Lena Degteva continues to show that gymnasts can get better with age. The 23 year-old added two more Pac-10 titles to her credit Mar. 18, winning the bars with a career-high 9.975 and the beam with a season-best 9.925. On Mar. 5, she scored her first career 10.0 with a perfect mark on vault. Also at that meet, Degteva set a new all-around career mark with a 39.7, the fifth-highest score in school history. For her accomplishments, Degteva was awarded the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. In the national rankings, Degteva is 15th in the all-around, 12th on vault and 18th on floor and 21st on bars. In her last four meets, Degteva is averaging 9.925 on vault and 9.919 on floor. She has hit 18 straight routines without a miss.
LINDSEY DONG -- Sophomore Lindsey Dong has suited up for the Bruins on vault in three of UCLA's last five meets. She is averaging 9.644 with a season-best of 9.675. Her career high is 9.85, set at the Pac-10s last season.
STEPHANIE JOHNSON -- Sophomore team co-captain Stephanie Johnson has seen action in two meets, competing on beam (9.125) Feb. 11 and on vault (9.575) Feb. 27.
MALIA JONES -- Freshman Malia Jones has been rock solid for the Bruins in her first season. Jones has scored 39+ in the all-around four times, with a career-high of 39.425. She averages 9.825 in the leadoff position on floor and 9.775 in the leadoff position on vault. She has also won bars twice, with wins at Utah and at the UCLA Invitational.
HEIDI MONEYMAKER -- Senior Heidi Moneymaker continues to show why she is considered one of the top gymnasts in the nation. The eight-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion has re-written the UCLA record books this season, becoming the first Bruin ever to score two perfect 10s on the same apparatus, accomplishing that feat with one of the most difficult vaults in the nation, a handspring front layout with a half-twist. Moneymaker also set a new school all-around record with a 39.775 Feb. 11 and has scored 39.5+ four times in 2000. The Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year has 16 individual wins this year, including a team-high five on vault. She is ranked 13th nationally in the all-around, seventh on floor, bars and vault and ninth on beam. Moneymaker has scored 9.9 or higher on floor in nine of 10 meets and is averaging 9.83 in her last four meets on beam and 9.92 in her last six meets on vault.
KRISTIN PARKER -- After missing two meets (Feb. 11 and Feb. 14) with a shin contusion and thigh bruise, freshman Kristin Parker returned to action on vault and bars in time for the Feb .20 and Feb. 27 meets and returned to the all-around lineup Mar. 5. Since her injury, Parker has averaged 9.869 on bars and 9.838 on vault. She tied for second at Pac-10s on bars with a career-high tying 9.925.
DONI THOMPSON -- Freshman Doni Thompson has been UCLA's most consistent athlete and the Bruins' valuable leadoff on bars and beam. She has led off on beam nine times and has hit all nine routines. Thompson, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, averages 9.725 or better on all three events in which she competes and has hit 27 of 28 routines on the year.
VALERIE VELASCO -- Sophomore Valerie Velasco has competed in five meets, including an all-around stint Feb. 27. Velasco has season-highs of 9.7 on bars, 9.85 on beam and 9.65 on floor.
ONNIE WILLIS -- Willis has established new freshman school records on vault (10.0), bars (9.975), floor (tied, 9.95) and all-around (39.525). Her 10.0 on vault Feb. 20 was just the fifth in school history on that event (10th on any event) and the first ever by a freshman. She also tied a Pauley Pavilion record with a 9.975 on bars (third-highest score in school history). Willis, who ranks in the Top 20 nationally on floor (14th) and vault (17th), has seven individual wins this season, including three apiece on vault and floor. At the Pac-10 meet, she tied for second on bars with a 9.925. In her last three meets, Willis is averaging 9.95 on vault, 9.88 on bars and 9.92 on floor.
AMY YOUNG -- Despite suffering two ACL injuries in two years, redshirt freshman Amy Young has returned in 2000, competing for the Bruins on beam. She established a career-high 9.8 to tie for second at the UCLA Invitational Feb. 20.
DEAR DIARY -- Get all the inside information about the Bruins' season every Thursday on UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos' online diary at CNN-SI.com.
UCLA AGAIN SIGNS TOP RECRUITING CLASS -- UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos signed in 1999 what was considered to be the greatest recruiting class in the history of the sport. This year, she one-upped that by signing an even more impressive group of recruits.
Kondos signed three 1999 World Championships competitors and 2000 Olympic hopefuls to national letters of intent in November and reaffirmed commitments with two other Olympic hopefuls who originally signed letters of intent a year ago. The three signed this year are five-time U.S. National Team member Jeanette Antolin (Huntington Beach, Calif./SCATS), 1999 U.S. bars champion Jamie Dantzscher (Palmdale, Calif./Charter Oaks Gliders) and 1996 Olympian and 1999 Canadian vault and floor champion Yvonne Tousek (Cambridge, Ont./Cambridge Kips).
Joining the trio in the freshman class of 2001 will be two-time defending national all-around champion Kristen Maloney (Allentown, PA/Parkettes/Pen Argyl HS) and 1999 World Championships qualifier Alyssa Beckerman (Middletown, NJ/Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy/Wyoming HS), who originally signed letters of intent a year ago and deferred enrollment until after the 2000 Olympics. Maloney and Beckerman signed new grant-in-aids forms for the 2000-2001 school year.
Region 1 (Corvallis, OR): No. 2 UCLA, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 15 Stanford, No. 18 Washington, No. 20 Oregon State, Boise State
Region 2 (Minneapolis, MN): No. 4 Utah, No. 9 West Virginia, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 19 Denver, No. 24 Utah State, Southern Utah
Region 3 (Tucson, AZ): No. 5 Nebraska, No. 7 LSU, No. 17 Arizona State, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois-Chicago
Region 4 (Tuscaloosa, AL): No. 6 Alabama, No. 8 Iowa State, No. 22 Central Michigan, No. 25 Kent State, Michigan State, Ohio State
Region 5 (University Park, PA): No. 1 Michigan, No. 12 Florida, No. 14 Penn State, New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, Rutgers
Region 6 (Athens, GA): No. 3 Georgia, No. 11 BYU, No. 13 North Carolina State, No. 21 Maryland, No. 23 Towson State, George Washington.
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