UCLA's Tasha Schwikert Wins NCAA Uneven Bars Championship, Places 2nd On Floor Exercise
April 26, 2008
Athens, GA - UCLA senior Tasha Schwikert (Las Vegas, NV) won her second NCAA individual title of the year, claiming first place on the uneven bars with a score of 9.9375. Bruin junior Kristina Comforte (Burr Ridge, IL) tied for second place with Georgia's Katie Heenan, scoring 9.9. Schwikert also placed second on floor exercise to cap off her successful career at UCLA.
Schwikert, who won the NCAA all-around title on Thursday, showed perfect form, solid release moves (Shaposhnikova, shoot-over half to handstand, Tkatchev) and a stuck double layout dismount for a 9.9375, taking the lead after eight competitors. Comforte gave Schwikert a run for her money four competitors later with a Shaposhnikova, piked Jaeger and a stuck double layout dismount, scoring 9.9 to move into a tie for second place. Schwikert was still in first when Bruin sophomore Anna Li (Aurora, IL) took her turn, and her massive Tkatchev drew gasps from the crowd. Li stuck her double layout dismount but bent down at the waist to do so and scored 9.8125 to place 15th. Schwikert's score held up for the rest of the competition, giving the senior her first individual event title to go along with a pair of national all-around titles (2005 and 2008).
Schwikert had a chance for a third title this year, competing on floor exercise. She needed to score 9.9625 to match Georgia's Courtney McCool, who had a pair of 10s from the six judges. Schwikert gave it her best effort, sticking both her half in half out mount and her double pike dismount. The only deduction from the judges may have come on her middle pass, when she popped up just slightly on her double full/punch front, and she received a 9.9500 to finish second behind 2004 Olympian McCool.
LSU's Susan Jackson won the vault title with a 9.8563 average on her two vaults (Yurchenko full, Yurchenko 1.5). Schwikert and Comforte placed eighth and ninth, respectively. Comforte hopped back on her first vault, a Yurchenko full, and scored 9.8375. She attempted a layout Podkopayeva, which she had not trained since doing it at event finals in 2006, for her second vault and did not get enough rotation, falling to her knees for a 9.0625. She finished with an average of 9.45. Schwikert's first vault was a Yurchenko full, which she stuck with ease for a 9.9. For her second vault, she competed a Yurchenko 1.5 for the first time since the 2004 Olympic Trials but could not hold onto the landing, scoring 9.225. Her average of 9.5625 was good for eighth place. Comforte finished in ninth place.
Georgia's Grace Taylor won balance beam with a 9.9500.
"I probably couldn't have asked for a better way to go out," said Schwikert. "This was amazing. I didn't expect this coming in here. I want to thank my teammates and coaches, especially Miss Val. I couldn't have gotten through this competition or the last four years without her."
Vault Event Finals
Uneven Bars Finals
Balance Beam Finals
Floor Exercise Finals
CLick for Bruin Video