Feb. 21, 2000
THIS WEEK -- The fifth-ranked UCLA Gymnastics team (13-5, 5-0 in the Pac-10), winners of six of its last seven meets, will travel to Seattle to take on 15th-ranked Washington, Sacramento State and Alaska-Anchorage on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 2:00 pm.
WASHINGTON HOMECOMING FOR THREE BRUINS -- Sunday's meet will represent a homecoming for three Bruin gymnasts from Washington - freshmen Doni Thompson (Olympia/Capital HS), Onnie Willis (Tacoma/Wilson HS) and Carly Raab (Seattle/Seattle Prep). Thompson, the 1995 USA balance beam champion and a four-time national team member, has been one of UCLA's most consistent athletes this season, averaging over 9.7 on all three events in which she has competed - bars, beam and floor - with a high of 9.925 on bars. In just two months Willis has made her way into the UCLA record books, scoring a perfect 10 on vault last weekend. She also tied the Pauley Pavilion record on bars with a 9.975 and set a new freshman all-around record with a 39.525 Feb. 6. Willis averages 9.856 on vault and 9.866 on floor. Raab is out for the season with an ACL tear but will travel with the team to Seattle.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD -- Host Washington will be UCLA's main competition on Sunday. The Huskies, whose season-high mark is 195.55, are led by returning All-Americans Tiffany Simpson (season-high 39.475 in the all-around) and Lauren Reisenman (season-high 39.2), as well as Lanna Apisukh (season-high 39.3), who ranked 20th in last week's national all-around rankings. Sacramento State's season-high is 190.925. Alaska-Anchorage's is 184.0.
LAST WEEK'S UCLA INVITATIONAL -- The Bruins won an unprecedented ninth consecutive and 14th overall Invitational victory, scoring a meet-record 196.925 to outscore Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State and San Jose State. Lena Degteva successfully defender her Invitational all-around, beam and floor title and even set a new meet record in the all-around with a 39.55. Onnie Willis also set a new Invitational record by scoring a 10.0 on vault. She and Degteva tied the meet record on floor with a pair of 9.95s.
INJURY REPORT -- Freshman Kristin Parker, who missed two meets with a thigh contusion and shin laceration, competed on vault and bars last weekend at the UCLA Invitational. Junior Mohini Bhardwaj underwent a minor surgical procedure late last week and missed the Feb. 20 meet. Her status is questionable for Sunday. Freshman Carly Raab and sophomore Alison Stoner are out for the season with ACL injuries.
MONEYMAKER BECOMES A HISTORY-MAKER -- Senior Heidi Moneymaker (Santa Rosa, Calif.) made history Feb. 11 at Cal when she set a new school all-around record with a total of 39.775. Her total included a school-record tying 10.0 on vault, the first perfect mark in her career. She also tied career-highs on bars (9.975) and floor (9.95) en route to a sweep of all four events and the all-around. The perfect 10 was just the fourth-ever perfect mark on vault by a Bruin and the ninth 10.0 on any event in school history. Moneymaker, who was last week's Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week, averages 39.211 in the all-around, 9.911 on floor, 9.872 on vault and 9.818 on bars.
ONNIE ON FIRE -- Freshman Onnie Willis has sparkled for the Bruins in 2000, blasting her way into the UCLA record books. Her 10.0 on vault was just the fifth in school history on that event (10th on any event). She also tied a Pauley Pavilion record with a 9.975 on bars (third-highest score in school history). Her 9.95 on floor ranks fifth on the all-time list, and her 39.525 in the all-around was a new freshman record.
BRUINS RAISE THE BAR -- The Bruins not only set a new school record on bars Feb. 6 with a 49.7 out of 50, but they broke the old record by .175. Freshman 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. Three Bruins have scored 9.975 this season - Willis Feb. 6 and Moneymaker and Bhardwaj Feb. 11.
POTENT ALL-AROUNDERS -- An impressive six Bruins have scored 39+ in the all-around this season, with five averaging over 39. Heidi Moneymaker has scored 39+ in five meets, with a best of 39.775 and an average of 39.211. Mohini Bhardwaj has gone 39+ in six meets with a season-best of 39.725 Feb. 6 and an average of 39.271. Lena Degteva has scored 39+ in four meets competing all-around, with a high of 39.55. In her first all-around appearance this season, Onnie Willis scored 39.525 Feb. 6. Kristin Parker has scored 39.05 and 39.1 in her last two all-around meets, and Malia Jones broke the 39 barrier twice with a 39.05 and 39.425
BRUIN VAULTERS RAISE DIFFICULTY LEVEL -- UCLA ranks second nationally on vault with good reason - the Bruins have two athletes who have scored perfect 10s this season (Heidi Moneymaker and Onnie Willis) and perform the most difficult vaults in collegiate gymnastics. Moneymaker and Kristin Parker have competed a handspring front layout with a half-twist (worth 9.9 in the FIG international elite code), and Mohini Bhardwaj competes a Yurchenko layout with 1 1/2 twists (worth 9.8 in the FIG international elite code). UCLA has scored above 49.0 on vault in every meet this year and averages 49.2094, with a season-high of 49.425 set last week. Moneymaker and Willis became the first pair of Bruins ever to score perfect marks on the same apparatus in the same season.
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 scored a perfect 10.0 at Cal Feb. 11.
THE COMEBACK KIDS -- Freshman Doni Thompson not only made her collegiate debut Jan. 8 at the Super Six Challenge, 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, 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 20 of 21 routines this season.
Redshirt freshman Amy Young (Diamond Bar, Calif.), out for two years with two ACL surgeries to her left knee, made her comeback this season, competing on beam three times for the Bruins. In her first home meet ever as a Bruin, she scored a career-high 9.8 to tie for second place.
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.