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Second-ranked Gymnasts Look To Defend Pac-10 Title
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  03/13/2000

March 13, 2000

THIS WEEK -- UCLA will compete on Saturday, Mar. 18 at the Pac-10 Championships in Tempe, Ariz. The meet will take place at Wells Fargo Arena at 6:00 pm MT and will be televised on a delayed basis by Fox Sports Net on Saturday, Mar. 25 at 11:00 am PT.

UCLA AT THE PAC-10s -- The Bruins have won the Pac-10 team title a record eight times in the conference's 13-year history. The Bruins' last win came in 1999 when they scored a Pac-10 Championship record 197.775. Individually, UCLA gymnasts have won a record 34 Pac-10 titles. The Bruins also hold the record for most vault champions (5), most bars champions (9), most floor champions (6, tied with Oregon State) and most all-around champions (9). Bruin senior Heidi Moneymaker is the defending all-around and vault champion. Fellow senior Lena Degteva won the vault title in 1998.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD -- UCLA has defeated every team in the Pac-10 this season, going a perfect 6-0 in regular season conference action. Five of the seven conference teams are ranked in the Top 25 - #2 UCLA, #8 Stanford, #14 Washington, #15 Arizona State and #21 Oregon State. The Pac-10 also has six gymnasts ranked in the Top 25 in the all-around - #1 Larissa Fontaine of Stanford, #4 Mohini Bhardwaj, #7 Heidi Moneymaker and #24 Malia Jones of UCLA, and #11 Tiffany Simpson and #19 Lanna Apisukh of Washington.

PAC-10 NOTES -- A UCLA gymnast has won the all-around title six of the last seven years ... Conference awards for Gymnast of the Year, Coach of the Year and Freshman of the Year will be handed out after the meet ... A UCLA gymnast has won Gymnast of the Year honors each of the last three years and four times in the last five years ... Valorie Kondos was named Co-Coach of the Year in 1995 ...Previous Pac-10 Champions looking to recapture more individual titles this season are UCLA's Lena Degteva (1998 vault) and Heidi Moneymaker (1999 all-around, vault), Arizona's Heidi Hornbeek (1996 all-around, 1997 beam and floor), Washington's Tiffany Simpson (1997 vault) and Oregon State's Lara Degenhardt (1999 floor).

ROTATION ORDER --

     Bye    V      UB     Bye    BB      Bye     FX
I    WASH   CAL    ASU    UCLA   ARIZ    OSU     STAN
II   STAN   WASH   CAL    ASU    UCLA    ARIZ    OSU
III  OSU    STAN   WASH   CAL    ASU     UCLA    ARIZ
IV   ARIZ   OSU    STAN   WASH   CAL     ASU     UCLA
V    UCLA   ARIZ   OSU    STAN   WASH    CAL     ASU
VI   ASU    UCLA   ARIZ   OSU    STAN    WASH    CAL
VII  CAL    ASU    UCLA   ARIZ   OSU     STAN    WASH

LAST MEET -- Behind back-to-back 10.0s on vault from seniors Lena Degteva and Heidi Moneymaker, UCLA scored a school record 49.65 on vault and won the fourth annual Bruin Classic Mar. 5 with a meet and arena record 197.575. Third-ranked Michigan placed second, followed by Illinois-Chicago and UCSB. Mohini Bhardwaj won the all-around with a career-high tying 39.725. Degteva and Moneymaker placed second with a pair of 39.7s.

MONEYMAKER BECOMES A HISTORY-MAKER AGAIN -- Heidi Moneymaker vaulted her way into the UCLA record books again Mar. 5, scoring her second perfect 10 on vault this season. She becomes the first UCLA gymnast ever to score two perfect 10s on the same apparatus. Earlier this season, on Feb. 11, she scored her first career 10.0 on vault and went on to set a new school record in the all-around with a 39.775. Moneymaker now averages 39.272 in the all-around, 9.911 on floor, 9.886 on vault and 9.838 on bars.

VAULTERS REACH PERFECTION -- Prior to this season, only three UCLA gymnasts had ever scored a 10.0 on vault. This season alone, THREE Bruins have scored a total of four perfect 10s - Moneymaker (twice), Onnie Willis and Degteva. It is the first time in school history that more than two perfect 10s have been handed out in the same year. The Bruins, who are currently ranked second nationally on vault and have four athletes ranked in the Top 15, have the highest degree of difficulty in the nation on vault. Moneymaker and Kristin Parker have competed a handspring front layout with a half-twist (worth 9.9 in the FIG international elite code), and Bhardwaj competes a Yurchenko layout with 1 1/2 twists (worth 9.8 in the FIG international elite code). Willis and Degteva throw Yurchenko Arabians. Moneymaker has another two 10.0 start value (collegiate code) vaults in her repertoire. UCLA has scored above 49.0 on vault in all but one meet this year and averages 49.225, with a school record and national season-high 49.65 set Mar. 5.

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.

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 Feb. 20 was just the fifth in school history on that event (10th on any event) and the first ever by a freshman. 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. At Washington Feb. 27, she scored a 39.5 to place second in the all-around. Willis has seven individual victories this season, including three each on vault and floor.

BRUINS RAISE THE BAR -- The Bruins set a new school record on bars Feb. 6 with a 49.7 out of 50, eclipsing the old record by .175. 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 twice on Feb. 11 and Mar. 5.

THE COMEBACK KIDS -- Freshman Doni Thompson not only made her collegiate debut Jan. 8, 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 in her first meet at the Super Six Challenge, 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 25 of 26 routines this season, including eight routines in the precarious and very important leadoff position.

Thompson ranks second on the team with a 9.742 average on beam, .005 behind team leader Mohini Bhardwaj. She has posted beam scores of 9.8 five times this year.

Redshirt freshman Amy Young, out for two years with two ACL surgeries to her left knee, made her comeback this season, competing on beam five times for the Bruins. In her first home meet ever as a Bruin (Feb. 20), she scored a career-high 9.8 to tie for second place.

UPDATED ATHLETE BIOS --

MOHINI BHARDWAJ -- Five-time All-American Mohini Bhardwaj has consistently posted top scores all season long. Bhardwaj averages 39.328 in eight meets competing all-around, including two scores of 39.725. She leads the team in individual wins with 18, including a team-high five in the all-around. Bhardwaj, the Pac-10's athlete of the week Jan. 18, averages over 9.8 on vault, bars and floor and is the top-ranked gymnast in the nation on bars. She also ranks eighth on vault, ninth on beam and 11th on floor.

LENA DEGTEVA -- Eight-time All-American and team co-captain Lena Degteva continues to show that gymnasts can get better with age. The 23 year-old scored her first career 10.0 with her perfect mark on vault Mar. 5. Also at that meet, Degteva set a new all-around career mark with a 39.7, the fifth-highest score in school history. For her accomplishments, Degteva was awarded the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week.

LINDSEY DONG -- Sophomore Lindsey Dong has suited up for the Bruins on vault in three of UCLA's last four meets. She is averaging 9.644 with a season-best of 9.675. Her career high is 9.85, set at the Pac-10s last season.

STEPHANIE JOHNSON -- Sophomore team co-captain Stephanie Johnson has seen action in two meets, competing on beam (9.125) Feb. 11 and on vault (9.575) Feb. 27.

MALIA JONES -- Freshman Malia Jones has been rock solid for the Bruins in her first season. Jones ranks 24th nationally in the all-around and has scored 39+ four times. She averages 9.823 in the leadoff position on floor and has won bars twice, with wins at Utah and at the UCLA Invitational.

HEIDI MONEYMAKER -- Senior Heidi Moneymaker continues to show why she is considered one of the top gymnasts in the nation. The eight-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion has re-written the UCLA record books this season, becoming the first Bruin ever to score two perfect 10s on the same apparatus, accomplishing that feat on one of the most difficult vaults in the nation, a handspring front layout with a half-twist. Moneymaker also set a new school all-around record with a 39.775 Feb. 11 and has scored 39.5+ four times in 2000. Moneymaker has 15 individual wins this year, including a team-high five on vault.

KRISTIN PARKER -- After missing two meets (Feb. 11 and Feb. 14) with a shin contusion and thigh bruise, freshman Kristin Parker returned to action on vault and bars in time for the Feb .20 and Feb. 27 meets and returned to the all-around lineup Mar. 5. Since her injury, Parker has averaged 9.85 on bars and 9.83 on vault.

DONI THOMPSON -- Freshman Doni Thompson has been UCLA's most consistent athlete and the Bruins' valuable leadoff on bars and beam. She has led off on beam eight times and has hit all eight routines. Thompson averages 9.74 or better on all three events in which she competes and has hit 25 of 26 routines on the year.

VALERIE VELASCO -- Sophomore Valerie Velasco has competed in five meets, including an all-around stint Feb. 27. Velasco has season-highs of 9.7 on bars, 9.85 on beam and 9.65 on floor.

ONNIE WILLIS -- One of the top freshmen in the nation, Willis has established new freshman school records on vault (10.0), bars (9.975), floor (tied, 9.95) and all-around (39.525). Willis, who ranks in the Top 15 nationally on floor (11th) and vault (15th), has seven individual wins this season, including three apiece on vault and floor

AMY YOUNG -- Despite suffering two ACL injuries in two years, redshirt freshman Amy Young has returned in 2000, competing for the Bruins on beam. She established a career-high 9.8 to tie for second at the UCLA Invitational Feb. 20.

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.


‹ UCLA Gymnastics



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