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Can History Repeat Itself?
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 06/21/1999

March 17, 1999

Briefly: The Stanford women's gymnastics team (9-3, 4-2 Pac-10) put on a record-breaking performance as it defeated Massachusetts (197.275-193.150) on Fri., Mar. 12. On the night, Stanford broke six school records and scored six perfect 10s. Up next, the Cardinal heads to the Pac-10 Championships at Oregon State to defend its 1998 Title. The meet begins at 6:00pm on Sat., Mar. 20 in OSU's Gill Coliseum.

Last Time Out: Stanford put on an unbelievable show as it scored three perfect 10s and broke six school records on Friday night against Massachusetts. The Cardinal set new team marks on the bars (49.625) and floor (49.625) as it scored a meet record of 197.275. The previous school record for a meet was 196.800, which was recored at Utah on Mar. 7, 1997. The highlight of the night, however, was the three scores of 10 that were acheived for the first time in school history. Senior Amy Murakami had two of the perfect scores (bars & floor), while senior Tracey Kohl added another perfect mark in the floor exercise. Those performances of Murakami helped her acheive an all-around Stanford record of 39.675, which broke Larissa Fontaine's previous mark of 39.550. Stanford dominated the whole meet as it outscored the Minutewomen on every event. In fact, the Cardinal took the top three spots on every event, including the uneven bars, where Stanford held the top five spots.

Jumping Jenny: Sophomore Jenny Wilson has continued to shine in all four events. In five out of her last six meets, other than the competition at Arizona, she has scored nothing lower than 9.750 on the vault and bars. Last weekend versus Massachusetts, Wilson won the vault (9.850), for the fourth time this year, and finshed fourth on the bars (9.900). A native of Portland, Oregon, Wilson scored career-highs in the all-around (39.225), which was good for second, and the balance beam (9.875), which was good for fourth, against Arizona State (Feb. 19). Against Washington (Feb. 12), Wilson finshed in the top three in the vault, floor and bars, including a first place finish in the vault (9.825). In the Chili's Invitational (Feb. 5), she was second among 18 gymnasts in the vault (9.800). Against Oregon State (Jan. 29), Wilson finished first in the all-around (38.875) after winning the vault (9.800).

Excellent Exaltacion: Another Stanford gymnast to look out for is Jennifer Exaltacion. On the balance beam, Exaltacion has placed first in five of the nine meets, including last month when she set a school-record of 9.975 against Arizona State (Feb. 19). Additionally, Exaltacion recorded a career-high in the all-around (39.075) at the Chili's Invitational (Mar. 5) and has competed in the all-around in seven of the nine meets. Since the meet at Cal (Jan. 22), she has scored 9.725 or higher in 17 of her 22 events.

Freshmen Phenom: A big question for every team going into the season is "how well will the freshmen perform?" Nine meets into this season, the Stanford coaching staff has been pleasantly surprised by the performances of rookie Kristin Jensen. A native of Easton, Penn., Jensen has been one of the most consistent performers on the uneven bars. In her eight meets, she has scored lower than a 9.750 on that event only twice. Last weekend, she tied her season-high with 9.925 in the bars, which resulted in a second place finish.

Senior Leadership: As with any successful team, the role of the senior gymnasts is very important. One senior who has led the team to success this season is Amy Murakami. Versus Massachusetts last weekend, Murakami had the meet of a lifetime as she scored two perfect-10s (bars & floor), set three school records (bars, floor, all-around) and had four career-highs (bars, beam, floor, all-around). A native of Wayland, Mass., Murakami has won ten individual titles and has scored 9.700 or higher in 21 of her 27 events this year. Last month, Murakami was a three-time winner as she won the bars (9.900), floor (9.925) and all-around (39.275) against Arizona State (Feb. 19). In the Chili's Invitational (Feb. 5), she finished first in the bars (9.950) and clinched the team title with a 9.875 on the floor. Against Oregon State (Jan. 29), Murakami had no score lower than 9.750 in all three of her events. Her most impressive feat of that competition, however, was that she tied her previous school record in the uneven bars (9.975).

Looking Back at Last Year: With a score of 195.275, Stanford won its first-ever Pac-10 Championship last season. The Cardinal finished just ahead of Oregon State (194.950), Arizona State (194.900) and UCLA (194.700). The leader of Stanford on that night was sophomore Larissa Fontaine. In her three events, Fontaine scored 9.825 of higher, including a 9.925 on the bars, which was good for second place, and a 9.875 on the vault, which was good for third place. Also making a significant contribution was senior Keri Monahan, who finshed second on the vault (9.875) and scored a 9.825 on the floor. In the team competition, Stanford finshed second in both the vault (49.150) and bars (48.925) as the Cardinal acheived its second-highest team score of the season.

Head Coach Mark Cook: At the helm of the Cardinal program is second-year head coach Mark Cook. In just one season on The Farm, Cook has transformed Stanford into one of the best gymnastics programs in the country. Last season, he led the Cardinal to the Pac-10 Title and an individual NCAA Title, both first-time accomplishments for the program. Previously one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, Cook came to Stanford from rival UCLA where he helped build the Bruins into a national championship team. During his three-year stint in Westwood, the Bruins improved each year. After finishing fourth at nationals his first year (1995), UCLA placed second in 1996, and in 1997 he helped direct the Bruins to their first-ever NCAA tilte. The 1996 West Region Assistant Coach-of-the-Year, Cook also helped lead the team to three consecutive West Region titles and two Pac-10 Conference championships. While at UCLA, Cook's duties included scouting, recruiting, strength development, training athletes and promoting gymnastics.

NATIONAL TOP 25 RANKINGS (By Regional Qualifying Score)

 1.   Georgia            197.1125
 2.   Alabama            197.0875
 3.  *Utah               196.8000
 4.   Louisiana State    196.1562
 5.   Michigan           196.0812
 6.  *Penn State         196.0375
 7.   Nebraska           195.6375
 8.  *Arizona State      195.5062
 9.   Ohio State         195.1375
10.   Maryland           195.1000
11.   Florida            194.9187
12t.  Utah State         194.8125
12t. *Oregon State       194.8125
14t. *UCLA               194.7375
14t.  Stanford           194.7375
16.   Minnesota          194.7000
17.   Oklahoma           194.6062
18.   Kentucky           194.5937
19.   Denver             194.5250
20.   Iowa State         194.4750
21.   West Virginia      194.4375
22.   Illinois-Chicago   194.3812
23.   North Carolina St. 194.2687
24.   Illinois           194.2187
25.   Towson             194.2125 

 * represents 1999 opponents.
Stanford Season Highs
TEAM HIGHS

Vault 49.000 Massachusetts (Mar. 12)

Uneven Bars 49.625* Massachusetts (Mar. 12)

Balance Beam 49.025 Massachusetts (Mar. 12)

Floor Exercise 49.625* Massachusetts (Mar. 12)

Total Score 197.275* Massachusetts (Mar. 12)

INDIVIDUAL HIGHS

Vault 9.925 Larissa Fontaine (at California - Jan. 15) Uneven Bars 10.000* Amy Murakami (Massachusetts - Mar. 12) Balance Beam 9.975* Jen Exaltacion (Arizona State - Feb. 19)

Floor Exercise 10.000* Amy Murakami Tracey Kohl (Massachusetts - Mar. 12)

All-Around 39.675* Amy Murakami (Massachusetts - Feb. 12)

* - Denotes a school record

Stanford in the National Rankings
                         RQS Nat'l. Ranking Region I Pac-10 
Vault            48.463  23rd       3rd              4th
Uneven Bars      49.200   4th       1st              1st
Balance Beam     48.569  22nd       3rd              4th
Floor Exercise   48.856  24th       2nd              3rd

Individuals in the Top 25: Exaltacion (Beam) 9.875 13th 1st 1st Murakami (Bars) 9.919 6th 2nd 2nd

Jen Exaltacion
at UC Davis (Jan. 10)...................Beam (9.750)
at California (Jan. 22).................Bars (9.80)
........................................Beam (9.875)
Oregon State (Jan. 29)..................Beam (9.850)
Arizona State (Feb. 19).................Vault (9.825)
........................................Beam (9.975)
at Arizona (Feb. 26)....................Vault (9.775)
Massachusetts (Mar. 12).................Beam (9.925)
Katy Herbert
at UC Davis (Jan. 10)...................A-A (37.925)
........................................Beam (9.750) 
at California (Jan. 22).................A-A (38.500)
at Arizona (Feb. 26)....................Beam (9.875)
Larissa Fontaine
at UC Davis (Jan. 10)...................Vault (9.700)
........................................Bars (9.775)
at California (Jan. 22).................Vault (9.925)
........................................Floor (9.750)
Sarah Harding
Oregon State (Jan. 29)..................Floor (9.925)
at Arizona (Feb. 26)....................Floor (9.875)
Tracey Kohl
at UC Davis (Jan. 10)...................Floor (9.775)
at California (Jan. 22).................Floor (9.750)
Massachusetts (Mar. 12).................Floor (10.000)
Amy Murakami
Oregon State (Jan. 29)..................Bars (9.975)
........................................Beam (9.850)
UCLA & PSU (Feb. 5) ....................Bars (9.950)
at Washington (Feb. 12) ................Bars (9.850)
Arizona State (Feb. 19).................A-A (39.275)
........................................Bars (9.900)
........................................Floor (9.925)
Massachusetts (Mar. 12).................Bars (10.000)
........................................Floor (10.000)
........................................A-A (39.675)
Jenny Wilson
at Utah (Jan. 15).......................Vault (9.825)
Oregon State (Jan. 29)..................A-A (38.875)
........................................Vault (9.800)
at Washington (Feb. 12).................Vault (9.825)
Massachusetts (Mar. 12).................Vault (9.850)


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