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Cardinal Taking a Week off
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 06/21/1999

March 3, 1999

Briefly: The Stanford women's gymnastics team (8-3, 4-2 Pac-10) lost to Arizona (194.050-193.425) on Friday, February 26. Up next, the Cardinal, ranked 15th in the National Rankings, takes a week off before hosting Massachusetts on Friday, March 12. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm in Burnham Pavilion.

Last Week: Stanford had a disappointing weekend as it lost to Arizona (194.050-193.425) on Friday night. Despite the loss, three different Stanford gymnasts won an event during the evening. Sophomore Jen Exaltacion finished first in the vault with the second highest score of her career (9.775) on that event. In the floor and balance beam, the Cardinal also held the top two positions. Freshman Katy Herbart came in first (9.875), while Exaltacion finished second in the balance beam. With a score of 9.875, senior Sarah Harding won the floor exercise while Amy Murakami came in second (9.825). Stanford was ahead after the first rotation, but Arizona went on a roll as it won the last three events. The final outcome of the meet turned on the uneven parallel bars. Typically Stanford's strongest event, the Wildcats took the top four spots in the parallel bars. Arizona's Heidi Hornbeek finished first in that event with a 9.800 as Herbert had the top Stanford score with a mark of 9.675.

Jumping Jenny: Sophomore Jenny Wilson has continued to shine in all four events. In four out of her last five meets, other than the competition at Arizona, she has scored nothing lower than 9.750 on the vault, bars and floor. Against Oregon State (Jan. 29), Wilson finished first in the all-around (38.875) after winning the vault (9.800). In the Chili's Invitational (Feb. 5), she was second among 18 gymnasts in the vault (9.800). Against Washington (Feb. 12), Wilson finshed in the top three in all three of those events, including a first place finish in the vault (9.825). 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). Though she had a difficult time against the Wildcats on Friday, Wilson still scored a 9.650 on the vault, which resulted in a fourth place finish.

Excellent Exaltacion: Another Stanford gymnast to look out for is Jennifer Exaltacion. On the balance beam, Exaltacion has placed first in four of the eight meets, including two weeks ago when she set a school-record of 9.975. 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 six of the eight meets. Since the meet at Cal (Jan. 22), she has scored nothing lower than 9.600, in any event, except for the 9.575 she scored in the vault last week.

Freshmen Phenom: A big question for every team going into the season is "how well will the freshmen perform?" Six meets into this season, the Stanford coaching staff has been pleasantly surprised by the performances of rookie Kristin Jensen. A native of Easton, Pa., Jensen has been one of the most consistent performers on the uneven bars. In her seven meets, she has scored lower than a 9.750 on that event only twice. She registered a season-high 9.925 against Oregon State (Jan. 29), 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 early season success is Amy Murakami. A native of Wayland, Massachusetts, Murakami has scored 9.700 or higher in 17 of her 23 events this year. 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 own school record in the uneven bars (9.975). 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. Three weeks ago at Washington (Feb. 12), Murakami finshed first on the bars with a mark of 9.875. Two weekends ago, Murakami was a three-time winner as she won the bars (9.900), floor (9.925) and all-around (39.275) against Arizona State. Though she had a rough meet at Arizona, Murakami still managed a second place finish in the floor exercise (9.825).

Scouting the Minutewomen: Massachusetts is currently 5-5 overall after finishing second among four teams at Rhode Island on Sat., Feb. 27. With a score of 192.075, the Minutewomen lost to North Carolina State (194.225), but defeated Rhode Island (190.475) and Vermont (181.650). In that meet, sophomore Jodi Goldberg paced UMass by finishing third in the all-around (37.525) and floor exercise (9.775). With an average team score of 190.438, the Minutewomen are not ranked in the top 25 National Rankings. UMass Head Coach Dave Kuzara is in his sixth year at the helm for the Minutewomen and has a career record of 67-37. The Minutewomen will host Yale, MIT and Brigeport on Sat., Mar. 6 before facing the Cardinal on Fri., Mar. 12.

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             196.956
    2.  Alabama             196.713
    3.  *Utah               196.231
    4.  *Penn State         195.663
    5.  Louisiana State     195.413
    6.  Michigan            195.213
    7.  *Arizona State      195.113
    8.  Nebraska            194.913
    9.  Maryland            194.369
    10. Ohio State          194.313
    11. Oklahoma            194.281
    12. West Virginia       194.231
    13. *Oregon State       194.194
    14. Minnesota           194.163
    15. Stanford            194.150
    16. Utah State          194.038
    17. *UCLA               194.025
    18. Florida             193.956
    19. Illinois            193.463
    20. Iowa State          193.388
    21. Denver              193.375     
    22. Kentucky            193.350
    23. Central Michigan    193.288     
    24. North Carolina St.  193.238
    25. Illinois-Chicago    193.075 
 * represents 1999 opponents.

Stanford Season Highs

TEAM HIGHS

Vault
48.675
Arizona State (Feb. 19)

Uneven Bars
49.475*
vs. Oregon State (Jan. 29)

Balance Beam
48.925
Arizona State (Feb. 19)

Floor Exercise
49.325
vs. Oregon State (Jan. 29)

Total Score
195.775
Arizona State (Feb. 19)

INDIVIDUAL HIGHS

Vault
9.925
Larissa Fontaine
(at California - Jan. 15)

Uneven Bars
9.975*
Amy Murakami
(Oregon State - Jan. 29)

Balance Beam
9.975*
Jen Exaltacion
(Arizona State - Feb. 19)

Floor Exercise
9.925
Amy Murakami
(Arizona State - Feb. 19)
Sarah Harding
(Oregon State - Jan. 22)

All-Around
39.075
Jen Exaltacion
(Chili's Invitational - Feb. 5)

* - Denotes a school record

Individual Titles Acheived This Year

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)
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)
Tracy Kohl
at UC Davis (Jan. 10).............Floor (9.775)
at California (Jan. 22)...........Floor (9.750)
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)
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)


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