Dec. 22, 2011
UCLA Gymnastics coaches and team members will be answering your questions every Thursday over the course of the season. To submit questions for future Q&As, CLICK HERE.
OCGymGuy (Orange County): Is a competitive rivalry between schools an important aspect of college gymnastics? If so, which school would you view as UCLA's "rival"? Go Bruins!
Valorie Kondos Field: YES! That's really what college athletics is all about. Peter Vidmar and I have tried many times over the years to get USC to reinstate their gymnastics team. I don't think we really have one particular rival, but if 'SC got a team ... now that would be a great cross-town rival!
Christian (Hollywood, CA): If the season were to start tomorrow, which of the girls would make the competitive lineup on each event?
Valorie Kondos Field: Right now we're about 9 deep on each event with gymnasts who could come in and score well. I keep telling our team that they need to keep fighting to get into the Top 6. If our Top 6 line-up doesn't continue to change this year, we won't ultimately realize our full talent. Also, we won't know our full potential for a few months. Vanessa Zamarripa isn't back yet on floor. Mattie Larson is about a month behind because she took two months off this summer. And Cassie Whitcomb is just now getting cleared to do more gymnastics based on her back issues. I think all of this will play out to be a really exciting season.
Steven (West Hollywood, CA): How are the freshmen walk-ons doing so far in practice? Excited to see what Ti Liu, Sadiqua Bynum and Ellette Craddock can bring to the lineup and give us some great depth!
Valorie Kondos Field: LOVE our walk-ons. Ti is struggling with a chronic bad back but should be able to come in on bars and beam. Ellette is beautiful on floor, bars and beam. Sadiqua is coming back from two achillies ruptures and just started tumbling on the floor; very fun. Included in this list is Alyssa Pritchett. Right now she's in our Top 8 on floor. She has been super consistent with her tumbling and is healthier than she's been since she's been here.
Jason (Los Angeles): I remember Amy Smith having some very provacative & sexy moves in her floor routines when she competed for UCLA. Did she choreograph those herself?
Valorie Kondos Field: HAHA! No, I don't think Amy choreographed any of her own routines when she was here; she just took what I gave her and added her own spice. :)
Casie (Houston): With all the talent on your team, is it a challenge to keep some of the athletes motivated when they probably won't have the chance to compete?
Valorie Kondos Field: We really haven't run into that. We try to keep our intra-squads challenging so anyone can celebrate their victories regardless of how big or small they are. It will really help if our Top 6 continues to change this year, that way the athletes will realize that the Top 6 spots aren't locked in.