UCLA Spotlight

 (spotlight.ucla.edu) Rob Kennedy
Copyright © Rob Kennedy

UCLA Gymnastics

  • Published Apr 1, 2004 8:00 AM

Their heads wreathed in blue and white flowers and their faces wreathed in smiles, the UCLA Bruins claimed the national championship in gymnastics April 16 at Pauley Pavilion.

"We also set an NCAA record at home. This is what the magic at Pauley brings," said head coach Valorie Kondos Field. The Bruin score of 198.125 was the highest ever in a championship meet. It was the fifth national championship overall for UCLA gymnastics (1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004), but the first ever won at home.

The victory was especially sweet for the Bruin seniors. " What we did tonight is what we do every day in the gym; this is how we do it," Jamie Dantzscher said. Jeanette Antolin put it this way: "We all believed in our hearts that we would hit all our events. We worked really hard, and we deserve this national championship."

The last rotation for the Bruins was the beam – considered by most to be an unlucky draw, because of the potential for falls. "With gymnastics meets you never know, it comes down to tenths. I knew I had to go out there and hit a beam routine. And when I landed, I felt the biggest relief ever,” Kristen Maloney admitted.

Georgia, Alabama and Stanford gave the Bruins tough competition. But in the end, a UCLA gymnast was first or tied for first in every single event. Less than 12 hours later, Jamie Dantzscher won the AAI American Award as the nation's top senior gymnast and Chris Waller won national assistant coach of the year honors.

There are 18 student athletes on the gymnastics team. Last winter quarter, 15 of them made the honor roll. Typically the team's GPA is higher than UCLA's average undergraduate GPA: last year it was 3.49.

UCLA, already number 1 in the nation in terms of NCAA Division I championships, now has a total of 91.


Pictured are seniors Kristen Maloney and Yvonne Tousek.
Copyright © Rob Kennedy