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Stanford Advances to NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 04/04/2009

Score Sheet in PDF Format April 4, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The method wasn't what the Stanford women's gymnastics team had in mind, but the result was more than adequate for the Cardinal as it advanced to the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive season.

Stanford, the No. 4-ranked team in the country, had some rough moments that put added pressure on the team late in an already pressured-packed NCAA South Central Regional on Saturday night. But the Cardinal did enough to finish second in the six-team event, scoring 196.2 points, behind Arkansas's 196.3. Michigan was third with 195.7.

Carly Janiga followed up her Pacific-10 Conference title by scoring 39.45 points to edge runner-up Casey Jo Magee of Arkansas (39.40) for her first regional all-around championship.

Stanford also got first regional titles from Nicole Ourada, who tied for first in the vault with Arkansas's Michelle Stout (each 9.875), and Allyse Ishino, who tied Michigan's Becky Bernard (each 9.9), in the uneven bars.

"We are really excited to be one of the top 12 teams," Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. "That's wonderful. But the team definitely did not perform up to the level they were capable of.

"There were quite a lot of nerves. The regional meet is the toughest meet for sure, for the right to get to nationals. But considering how prepared we were, I expected a little more confidence."

A key moment for Stanford occurred on the team's final rotation, on the balance beam. After a leadoff fall, the pressure was on the remaining members to avoid another, or else Stanford would have to count a fall in its totals and perhaps drop to third.

Though they used more conservative routines with lower start values, each of the final five members scored 9.7 or higher, including Shelley Alexander in the final spot. Alexander moved into the beam lineup as a replacement for Kelly Fee, who was ill, and scored a 9.7 to ensure that Stanford would move on.

"That's a whole lot of pressure," Smyth said. "I'm really proud of how they stayed in this meet and fought. Now that we've qualified, maybe we can relax and let the real work shine through."

Janiga, at No. 5 in Stanford's beam order, scored a 9.875. She hit the same score on bars, a 9.85 on floor and a 9.825 on vault.

"Carly did what Carly does," Smyth said. "She's so steady and has such great leadership. She's so calm under pressure and confident."

Several Stanford gymnasts were unsung heros. Blair Ryland stepped into the floor exercise as a replacement for Fee and scored a 9.8. Also, Tenaya West, in her first competition in 10 weeks because of injury, scored a 9.8 on the floor.

Both Stanford and Arkansas, by virtue of finishing in the top two, advanced to the NCAA meet in Lincoln, Neb., April 16-18. There, the 12 remaining teams will be split into six-team groups for the afternoon and evening sessions of April 16. The top three in each advance the following day to the Super Six, the Final Four of women's gymnastics, where the national champion will be crowned. The individual championships conclude the weekend.

Stanford has reached the Super Six each of the past two years, tying a school-best of third place in 2008, and is advancing to the NCAA Championships for the 10th time in school history.

"We're going to work really hard for the next two weeks to be the best team we can be," Smyth said. "We're going to take the misses out of our routines, and we're looking to get ready and push the envelope. It's no time to be conservative."

Team scores
Overall:
1, Arkansas 196.3; 2, Stanford 196.2; 3, Michigan 195.7; 4, Arizona 194.35; 5, Arizona State 193.90; 6, Southern Utah 192.65.

Vault: 1, Arkansas 49.175; 2, Stanford 49.15; 3, Arizona 49.0; 4, Michigan 48.9; 5, Arizona State 48.8; 6, Southern Utah 48.2.

Uneven Bars: 1, Michigan 49.25; 2, Stanford 49.125; 3, Arkansas 48.95; 4, Southern Utah 48.6; 5, Arizona State 48.325; 6, Arizona 48.1.

Balance Beam: 1, Arkansas 48.975; 2, Stanford 48.825; 3, Michigan 48.425; 4, Arizona 48.025; 5, Arizona State 47.85; 6, Southern Utah 47.45.

Floor Exercise: 1, Arizona 49.225; 2, Arkansas 49.2; 3, Michigan 49.125; 4, Stanford 49.1; 5, Arizona State 48.925; 6, Southern Utah 48.4.

Individual results (Winners and Stanford scorers)
All-around:
1, Carly Janiga (Stanford) 39.425. Also, Nicole Ourada 38.675.

Vault: 1 (tie), Nicole Ourada (Stanford), Michelle Stout (Arkansas), each 9.875. Also, Blair Ryland 9.85, Shelley Alexander 9.85, Carly Janiga 9.825, Danielle Ikoma 9.75, Catherine Nguyen 9.525.

Uneven Bars: 1 (tie), Allyse Ishino (Stanford), Becky Bernard (Michigan), each 9.9. Also, Carly Janiga 9.875, Kelly Fee 9.85, Nicole Ourada 9.8, Nicole Pechanec 9.7, Shelley Alexander 8.95.

Balance Beam: 1, Casey Jo Magee (Arkansas) 9.9. Also, Carly Janiga 9.875, Danielle Ikoma 9.8, Nicole Ourada 9.75, Allyse Ishino 9.7, Shelley Alexander 9.7, Heather Purnell 9.25.

Floor Exercise: 1 (tie), Casey Jo Magee (Arkansas), Kylee Botterman (Michigan), Sarah Tomczyk (Arizona), each 9.9. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.85, Carly Janiga 9.85, Blair Ryland 9.8, Nicole Pechanec 9.8, Tenaya West 9.8, Nicole Ourada 9.25.

Qualifying teams for NCAA championship preliminaries, April 16, by national ranking: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 12 Penn State, No. 14 Illinois.


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