2000 Gymnastics Season Kicks Off For No. 3 UCLA At Super Six Challenge

Jan. 4, 2000

SUPER SIX CHALLENGE - Six of the nation's top teams will converge at the University of Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum for the Super Six Challenge. Competing in this unique season opener are five of the 1999 NCAA Super Six teams (winner Georgia, second-place Michigan, third-place Alabama, fifth-place UCLA and sixth-place Nebraska) plus the 1998 runner-up Florida. The meet will be held Saturday, Jan. 8 at 6:30 pm local time and will be televised tape-delayed on Jan. 16 at 12 pm PT by ESPN2 and on Jan. 23 at 11 am PT by ESPN.

A SUPER FIELD - No one can argue the success of the six teams in the Super Six Challenge. The field includes the winners of the last four NCAA titles - Georgia in 1998-99, UCLA in 1997 and Alabama in 1996. These three teams, along with Utah, remain the only teams to have won an NCAA gymnastics title. Georgia has won five titles, Alabama three and UCLA one. The last four National Coaches of the Year are also participating - Nebraska's Dan Kendig (1999), Georgia's Suzanne Yoculan (1998) and UCLA's Valorie Kondos (1996-97). In addition, two returning NCAA champions will showcase their winning form - UCLA's Heidi Moneymaker (1999 vault, 1998 bars) and Alabama's Andre? Pickens (1999 beam). The six Super Six teams have between them 18 All-Americans on their squads.

GEORGIA WINNING STREAK ON THE LINE - The Georgia Gym Dogs will put their 29-meet winning streak on the line at the Super Six Challenge. UCLA and Arizona State are the last teams to defeat Georgia, placing first and second, respectively, to Georgia's third at the 1997 NCAA Championships.

BRUINS RANK THIRD IN PRE-SEASON POLL - UCLA earned the No. 3 spot in the pre-season coaches' poll, earning six first-place votes. Two-time defending champion Georgia was selected No. 1 with 17 first-place votes, followed by No. 2 Alabama with seven first-place votes. Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 Florida and No. 10 LSU. All six teams participating in the Super Six Challenge are ranked in the Top 10. UCLA will face six additional Top 25 teams in the 2000 season. The Bruins were ranked No. 4 in a pre-season poll by Sports Illustrated for Women.

Pre-Season Coaches Poll

 1. Georgia (17)       854
 2. Alabama (7)        825
 3. UCLA (6)           816
 4. Michigan (5)       806
 5. Utah (1)           770
 6. Nebraska           680
 7. Arizona State      644
 8. Penn State         590
 9. Florida            584
10. Louisiana State    584
11. Stanford           577
12. Oregon State       431
13. NC State           354
14. Minnesota          345
15. Denver             315
16. Arizona            283
17. West Virginia      276
18. Maryland           264
19. Washington         250
20. Ohio State         245
21. Utah State         241
22. Iowa State         189
23. Brigham Young      108
24. Auburn              97
25. Oklahoma            70
(first-place votes in parentheses)

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION ... - The 2000 Bruins will be led by returning All-Americans Heidi Moneymaker (Santa Rosa, CA), Lena Degteva (Mississauga, Ontario) and Mohini Bhardwaj (Cincinnati, OH). All three Bruins competed in the 1999 World University Games during the summer, with Moneymaker and Bhardwaj representing the United States and Degteva representing Canada. Degteva, an eight-time All-American, finished 13th in the all-around finals. Eight-time All-American Moneymaker, the defending NCAA vault champion and the 1998 NCAA bars champion, placed 16th but was ninth all-around during team competition. Bhardwaj, a five-time All-American, qualified for the all-around finals but had to withdraw due to injury. In addition to competing at the World University Games, Moneymaker competed at her first-ever USA Championships, where she placed 21st.

STRONG FRESHMAN CLASS EXPECTED TO MAKE BIG IMPACT - Head coach Valorie Kondos will have the services of five outstanding freshmen for the 2000 campaign. Headlining the Class of 2003 are 1995 USA balance beam national champion and four-time national team member Doni Thompson (Olympia, WA), 1998 Level 10 national all-around, vault and bars champion Onnie Willis (Tacoma, WA) and former USA National Team member Amy Young, who redshirted the 1999 season with a knee injury. Others to watch for are top Level 10 competitors Malia Jones (Sparks, NV) and Kristin Parker (Hanford, CA). At the most recent Level 10 national championships, Parker placed first on bars, and Jones placed in the Top 20 in the all-around.

ROSTER UPDATE - Freshman Carly Raab (Seattle, WA), who was a Top 10 all-around finisher at the 1998 Level 10 Championships, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in November and will redshirt the 2000 season. Sophomore Alison Stoner (Laguna Hills, CA) tore ligaments in her knee while competing on floor at the NCAA Championships in April and will also sit out the 2000 season. Freshman Sarah Deegan (Oshawa, Ontario) has retired from the sport and moved back to Canada to attend school there. Kaitie Dyson, a freshman in 1999, injury-retired from gymnastics due to back injuries. Dyson will serve as an undergraduate assistant coach for the Bruins.

NEXT WEEK - The Bruins travel to Tucson, AZ to take on Arizona, Iowa and Central Michigan in a quadrangular meet at the McKale Center on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm MT. UCLA will also face Cal State Fullerton on Monday, Jan. 17 at 7:00 pm in Fullerton's Titan Gym.

BRUINS OPEN AT HOME JAN. 28 - UCLA's first home meet will be Friday, Jan. 28 against Arizona State in Pauley Pavilion at 7:00 pm. The Sun Devils placed fourth at last year's NCAA Championships and return All-Americans Elizabeth Reid, Elizabeth McNabb and Kelly Christensen.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Saturday, Apr 02
vs. NCAA Regionals
Salt Lake City, UT
2nd, 196,375
Friday, Apr 15
vs. NCAA Team Semifinals
Fort Worth, TX
3rd, 196.700
Saturday, Apr 16
vs. NCAA Super Six
Fort Worth, TX
5th, 196.825