March 27, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - Stanford senior Carly Janiga won her fourth career Pac-10 individual title by tying for first in the floor exercise to help the Cardinal to a second-place finish at the Pac-10 women's gymnastics championships Saturday at McKale Center.
Stanford (15-3) and UCLA have won every Pac-10 title since 1998 and continued the streak at McKale Center, with UCLA winning with 197.150 points to Stanford's 196.550.
Janiga, who also was named the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's gymnastics, scored 9.925 to share the floor title with UCLA's Brittani McCullough and placed second in the all-around. Janiga, the defending all-around champion, placed in the top five in every event on way to a 39.500-point effort, just behind UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa's 39.575. Stanford's Allyse Ishino (39.300) was third.
"Carly is the leader and the rock of this team," Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. "She's always there, always dependable, and always huge."
Smyth felt her team's performance was defined by the way her team "fought for everything," she said.
There were two pivotal points for Stanford as it battled Oregon State and Arizona for second after UCLA had bolted into the lead.
On the first rotation, sophomore Nicole Pechanec responded to the pressure of having to follow a teammate's fall by scoring a 9.80 on the uneven bars, and "changed the momentum and got us back on track," Smyth said.
After a similar situation on the balance beam, when another fall would be counted in the scoring, Janiga produced a 9.85 in the fourth spot in the order. But perhaps even more impressive was the performance that followed from senior Tenaya West.
For four years, West had competed solely on the floor exercise, but Smyth continually reminded her to be ready on the beam if called upon. That moment happened Saturday when in the first beam routine of her collegiate career - and in a high-pressure situation in a championship meet - West scored a 9.80 to keep the Cardinal on track. And freshman Ashley Morgan followed with another 9.80 in the sixth and final spot.
"Both kids stepped up huge and answered the call when we needed them to," Smyth said. "At that point, there was a three-way battle for second. We knew if we could get out there an finish it out in second, and still with more room for improvement, that would be good for us. And every time a problem came up, they rose to the occasion."
West also led off the next rotation, the floor, with a 9.75 to spark Stanford to its highest team score in any event, a 49.425 that moved the Cardinal comfortably into sole possession of second.
"I feel very confident in Tenaya's ability to step in and be a strong competitor on beam," Smyth said. "There's no one I'd rather have in that situation, and it was exciting to see her step up in a championship meet."
Stanford finished with solid scores on the vault, with leadoff Blair Ryland leading solid performances from its seniors - Janiga and Ishino, as well as sophomore Alyssa Brown, who recently returned to the lineup in that event.
Stanford next advances to the NCAA Regionals on April 10 at a site to be determined and Smyth still feels the Cardinal's best performances are to come.
"Our lineups are never locked in," she said. "That's the beauty of having such great kids, knowing the spots are open to fight for, which will make them better. We do have options and we do have depth. The kids know they always have to be ready."
1. UCLA (V- 49.350; UB - 49.300; BB - 49.275; FX - 49.425; OVERALL - 197.350)
2. Stanford (V - 49.125; UB - 48.950; BB - 49.050; FX - 49.425; OVERALL - 196.550)
3. Oregon State (V - 48.950; UB - 48.675; BB - 49.325; FX - 49.000; OVERALL - 195.950)
4. Arizona (V - 49.050; UB - 48.975; BB - 48.875; FX - 48.975; OVERALL - 195.875)
5. Washington (V - 48.825; UB - 48.450; BB - 47.925; FX - 48.625; OVERALL - 193.825)
6. California (V - 47.475; UB - 48.250; BB - 48.375; FX - 47.375; OVERALL - 191.475)
7. Arizona State (V - 47.500; UB - 47.850; BB - 47.600; FX - 47.725; OVERALL - 190.675)
Winners and Stanford competitors
Vault: 1, Vanessa Zamarripa (UCLA) 9.95. Stanford: Alyssa Brown 9.85, Allyse Ishino 9.85, Carly Janiga 9.85, Nicole Dayton 9.80, Blair Ryland 9.775, Ashley Morgan 9.75.
Floor Exercise: 1, Carly Janiga (Stan) and Brittani McCullough (UCLA), each 9.925. Other Stanford: Allyse Ishino 9.875, Ashley Morgan 9.875, Nicole Pechanec 9.875, Blair Ryland 9.875, Tenaya West 9.75.