April 4, 2006
Stanford, Ca - Stanford women's gymnastics head coach Kristen Smyth and her staff of Mike Lorenzen and Chris Swircek have worked extremely hard to continue Stanford's growing tradition in women's gymnastics.
The results have paid off during the 2006 season. This year, the Cardinal team of 13 women have won the Pac-10 title, has chalked up an 18-3 record, and has jumped to its current national ranking of eighth. Smyth is pleased with the work ethic of her team.
"Several of our goals at the start of the season included being consistent, developing a team with great depth, being confident and being unified," Smyth told reporters at an afternoon news conference on Tuesday. "The team has been great to work with this year, and the team chemistry is the best of any team I have ever coached. We are 7 or 8 people deep in every event. That's exciting. There is competition everyday in practice. We have great leaders. They live for the competition"
Stanford is preparing for the NCAA West Regional on Saturday (April 8, 6:00 p.m.) at Maples Pavilion. The six team field includes #5 Alabama, #8 Stanford, #16 Oregon State, San Jose State, Sacramento State and Boise State.
"This is the first time Stanford has ever hosted the Women's Regionals in gymnastics, and the team is excited to be performing before a home crowd," said Smyth, who has chalked up a 86-31 record in four-plus seasons on The Farm. "We're on our way to doing something special. It will be worth the price of admission. The other teams in the Regional have excellent talent."
Stanford, in its last competition, won the Pac-10 title for the second time in the last three years. The Cardinal chalked up a season-best 197.100 points. Sophomore Tabitha Yim captured titles in the All-Around and on Beam, and finished second on Floor Exercise. Not bad for a gymnast who says she was "horrible when I first started the sport at the age of three. But I kept trying, got more confident, and I now I feel lucky that I was able to stay with the sport."
Yim was a member of the United States team that won the bronze medal at the 2001 World Championship. Last year as a freshman at Stanford, Yim garnered first team All-American honors in the All-Around, Bars, Beam and Floor Exercise.
"Tabitha is a crowd favorite and one of the greatest performers of all-time," said Smyth. "She is also a fierce competitor with a wealth of experience. When the pressure is on, Tabitha rises up and is at her finest."
Liz Tricase, a sophomore from Itasca, Illinois, started gymnastics at the age of three. "When I was two years old, I used to pile up all the couch cushions, and jump on them. My mom decided to take me to a local gymnastics club (The Illinois Gymnastics Institute). I also played softball and soccer growing up, but gymnastics was becoming demanding."
The idea to concentrate on gymnastics was a great choice. Tricase is currently the national leader on Bars and fourth on Vault. Earlier this year, Tricase scored three perfect 10.000 in meets against Arizona, Cal State Fullerton and national power UCLA. Tricase helped the Cardinal to the Pac-10 Championship with a win on Bars, a second place finish on Vault and and third place on Floor Exercise.
"Liz is extraordinarily self-motivated and passionate about gymnastics," said Smyth. "She is one of the most exciting athletes to work with because of her explosive tumbling, high flying releases and great attitude."
Tickets are now on sale for the NCAA West Regional at Stanford University. Reserved tickets are $10, and general admission tickets are $8 (adult) and $6 (student/child/senior). Groups of more than 20 or more can purchase general admission tickets for $3 each (pre-sale only). The first 150 college students with their ID cards will be admitted free.