Nov. 17, 1999
Westwood, Calif. - Last season, UCLA gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos signed 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 and reaffirmed commitments with two others who originally signed letters of intent a year ago. The three signed this year are Jeanette Antolin (Huntington Beach, CA/SCATS/Marina HS), Jamie Dantzscher (Palmdale, CA/Charter Oaks Gliders/San Dimas HS) and Yvonne Tousek (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada/Cambridge Kips/Southwood Secondary School).
Antolin, a five-year U.S. National Team member, placed second at the recent U.S. World Team Trials, earning a spot on the U.S. Team at the World Championships. She was also a 1999 Pan American Games silver medalist and a bronze medalist on bars at the 1998 USA Championships and on vault at the 1997 USA Championships.
Dantzscher has been on the U.S. National Team for six years and this year won the uneven bars title at the USA Championships. In 1998, she was a silver medalist on the floor exercise and a bronze medalist on bars at the 1997 USA Championships. Dantzscher was a teammate of Antolin at the 1999 World Championships and the Pan American Games.
"We are very excited to have Jeanette and Jamie join our ranks. They are both powerful and exciting gymnasts to watch, and they should bring a whole new skill level to the college gymnastics world," said Kondos.
Also exciting for the Bruin program are the local ties these two gymnasts have. "Both train and live in the Southern California area, are great friends and have tremendous family and fan support. It will be fun to have the support of their families and local gyms at our home competitions," Kondos said.
Tousek is a 1996 Canadian Olympian and a two-time World Championships competitor. The 1995-96 Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique's Female Athlete of the Year is the reigning national floor and vault champion and a gold medalist on bars and floor at the 1999 Pan American Games. She had a skill on the balance beam named after her at the 1999 World Championships - the "Tousek", a cross-wise back handspring.
Tousek, who was recently chosen by the Prime Minister of Ontario to greet and sit at the head table with Queen Elizabeth II at a luncheon in her honor, is an active member of her community. She is as a member of the City of Cambridge Council Committee and has participated in several fundraisers for various charities.
"Yvonne is the fifth Canadian national champion to join our Bruin family. She brings a tremendous amount of competitive experience and maturity to the competitive floor and to the team dynamics," said Kondos.
Joining Antolin, Dantzscher and Tousek in the freshman class of 2001 will be Kristen Maloney (Allentown, PA/Parkettes/Pen Argyl HS) and 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.
Maloney is the two-time reigning U.S. all-around champion who has competed at the last two World Championships. She was a gold medalist on beam at the 1998 Goodwill Games and USA Gymnastics' Gymnast and SportsWoman of the Year the past two years.
Beckerman is another top prospect for the 2000 Olympics, having placed fourth in the all-around at the 1999 USA Championships and winning a silver on bars in 1998. She was also a member of the U.S. World Championships team in 1999 but had to withdraw due to a fractured wrist.
Based on sheer accomplishments alone, Kondos believes that this year's class has topped that of last year, which was touted as the greatest recruiting class ever.
Said Kondos, "All five of next year's incoming freshmen have a great shot of competing in the 2000 Olympic Games. We are looking forward to a future of competitive success and increased interest and fan support with these high profile gymnasts."