Feb. 9, 2000
THIS WEEK -- The fifth-ranked UCLA Gymnastics team (7-4, 3-0 in the Pac-10), winners of four consecutive meets, will travel for two meets in four days, competing in Berkeley Friday, Feb. 11 against Cal, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis at 7:30 pm and on Monday, Feb. 14 at nine-time NCAA champion and fourth-ranked Utah at 7:00 pm MT in a meet televised live by KJZZ in Salt Lake City. Live meet results will be posted on the internet at www.UtahUtes.com.
CAL MEET -- The Bruins will meet up with two former UCLA gymnasts when they face Cal, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis on Friday. The head coach for Cal is former Bruin standout Trina Tinti, and the head coach for UC Santa Barbara is UCLA uneven bars record-holder Megan Fenton. UCLA leads the overall series with all three teams, 32-1 against Cal, 19-0 against UC Santa Barbara and 2-0 against UC Davis.
A LOOK AT UTAH -- Nine-time NCAA champion Utah (4-1) has taken major blows this season with long-term injuries to defending NCAA all-around champion Theresa Kulikowski (out for the season with a torn ACL) and All-American Shannon Bowles (will likely redshirt after breaking her neck). However, head coach Greg Marsden's Utes have maintained the No. 4 national ranking, averaging 196.085. Last Friday, the Utes defeated BYU 196.3-195.8. Deidra Graham ranks 11th nationally in the all-around with a 39.2312 average, and Denise Jones and Theresa Wolf are 16th and 17th, respectively.
UCLA HOPES TO BREAK "THE STREAK" -- Utah, who faces Utah State on the road Feb. 7 before facing the Bruins, holds an unprecedented 154-meet regular season home winning streak, a record for any sport. The last time Utah lost a regular season home meet was 20 years ago on Feb. 20, 1979 to Cal State Fullerton. UCLA is also looking for its first-ever regular season win over Utah in 16 meets. The last time the two teams met head to head, UCLA won the Region I championship in 1999 at Corvallis, OR.
INJURY REPORT -- Freshman Kristin Parker is out for the Cal meet and questionable for the Utah meet with a thigh contusion and shin laceration.
BRUINS SET SCHOOL RECORD WITH 197.8 -- UCLA set school records for overall score (197.8, also a Pac-10 record), bars (49.7) and floor (49.625), outscoring Stanford by over four points. Sixteen individual career highs were set or tied in the meet. Mohini Bhardwaj won the all-around for the fourth consecutive meet, tallying a career-high and Pauley Pavilion record-tying 39.725 (second-highest score in school history). Freshman Onnie Willis also tied a Pauley Pavilion record with a 9.975 on bars. The Bruins swept the Top 5 standings in the all-around, with Bhardwaj first, Heidi Moneymaker second (season-high 39.6), Lena Degteva and Willis third (39.525) and Kristin Parker fifth (career-high 39.1). UCLA hit 24 for 24 for the second time this season.
BRUINS RAISE THE BAR -- The Bruins not only set a new school record on bars 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.
BHARDWAJ CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE SEASON -- Junior All-American Mohini Bhardwaj (Cincinnati, Ohio) has lit it up this season. Bhardwaj has won the all-around at UCLA's last four meets and has been the Bruins' highest all-around scorer in all five meets. She moved into the UCLA record-books by recording the second-highest all-around total in school history, a 39.725 set Sunday against Stanford. The January UCLA/Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers Female Athlete of the Month leads the team with 14 individual wins and has 21 out of 25 Top 3 placings.
ALL-AMERICANS LEAD BRUIN SQUAD -- Along with Mohini Bhardwaj, senior All-Americans and 1999 World University Games competitors Heidi Moneymaker and Lena Degteva have been the backbone of the 2000 Bruin squad. Moneymaker has eight individual wins and 15 Top 3 finishes. She is averaging 39.081 in the all-around, 9.9 on floor and 9.84 on vault. Degteva has three wins this season and 12 Top 3 placings. She is averaging 39.206 in the all-around and 9.8+ on vault, bars and floor.
DEFENDING NCAA VAULT CHAMPION 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 a handspring front layout with a half-twist. She scored a 9.9 last Sunday competing her new vault.
BRUIN VAULTERS RAISE DIFFICULTY LEVEL -- Heidi Moneymaker is not the only Bruin doing high-level vaults - add freshman Kristin Parker to that mix. Parker successfully completed a handspring front layout with a half-twist (worth a 9.9 in the FIG international elite code) last Sunday, scoring a 9.75. Mohini Bhardwaj has been competing a Yurchenko layout with 1 1/2 twists (worth a 9.8 in the FIG international elite code) since her freshman season.
FRESHMEN MAKING STRONG IMPRESSIONS -- UCLA's highly-touted freshman class have made strong impressions in their first five collegiate meets. Onnie Willis (Tacoma, Wash.) has four victories this season, winning floor twice, vault once and bars once. Willis averages 9.825 on vault and 9.840 on floor. Doni Thompson (Olympia, Wash.) averages 9.805 on bars and 9.725 on beam with two third-place showings on beam and one on bars. Malia Jones (Sparks, Nev.) has placed fourth in the all-around in her last three meets and is averaging 9.805 on the floor. Kristin Parker (Hanford, Calif.) is averaging 39.042 in the all-around and over 9.725 on vault, beam and floor.
YOUNG BRUINS GAINING EXPERIENCE -- The youthful Bruins have used the early part of the season to gain experience. UCLA returns just six athletes who competed a year ago and only four who competed at the NCAA Championships. Prior to the start of the season, UCLA had one athlete who had not competed in four years (Doni Thompson), one who had not competed in two years due to a torn ACL (Amy Young) and another who had not competed in one year (Onnie Willis).
THE COMEBACK KID -- Freshman Doni Thompson (Olympia, Wash.) 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 American 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 World Championships. 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 12 of 12 routines this season and averages 9.805 on bars and 9.725 on beam.
IN THE RANKINGS -- Fifth-ranked UCLA holds the No. 1 position on the floor exercise with a 49.29 average. The Bruins are also second on vault (49.09), fourth on bars (49.08) and 10th on beam (48.52). Individually, five Bruins are ranked in the all-around, with Onnie Willis third (39.525), Mohini Bhardwaj tied for fifth (39.375), Lena Degteva 13th (39.2062), Heidi Moneymaker 18th (39.0812) and Kristin Parker 23rd (39.0417). Moneymaker and Bhardwaj are tied for fourth on floor with a 9.9 average, followed by Degteva at 13th (9.865). Degteva ranks fourth on bars with a 9.9 average, followed by Bhardwaj at 17th (9.85). Four Bruins are ranked on vault - No. 9 Bhardwaj (9.9), No. 15 Moneymaker (9.84), No. 17 Willis (9.825) and No. 22 Degteva (9.815).
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.