Jan. 17, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 12 Stanford women’s gymnastics team opens its home season against Arizona (0-1), the preseason No. 20. Stanford (0-1) took on then-No. 1 Georgia last week in Athens, Ga., and finished within 0.10 of the five-time defending NCAA champs, before a crowd of 10,224. Stanford coach Kristen Smyth was encouraged with the result, especially in light of the hostile road conditions, and believes the experience will pay off later in the season as the team performs under pressure.
Follow the Meet
A live webcast is available on gostanford.com, with Tim Swartz providing the call. Look for the “Watch” button on the women’s gymnastics schedule page or on the Calendar of Events on the home page. There is a fee.
This Week: Arizona
The Wildcats opened their season Jan. 9 at Arkansas, losing 195.400-192.650. Sophomore Britnie Jones tied for first on the balance beam with a score of 9.85, after taking two months off because of an injury. Arizona won the vault, with a team score of 48.50 against the 2009 NCAA Super Six team. The Wildcats held a preseason ranking of No. 20, but fell out after last week’s performance. Senior Sarah Tomczyk was an NCAA individual qualifier last season in floor exercise and was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in the event.
The Arizona Series
Arizona nearly upset then No. 4 Stanford, 195-575-195.175 last year in Tucson’s McKale Center. Arizona native Carly Janiga scored 9.9’s on the vault and uneven bars on her way to capturing the all-around competition for Stanford with 39.45 points. Janiga won three events and set or equaled season-bests in each. Stanford is 10-0 over the Wildcats since 2006, with three victories last year -- in a dual meet, Pac-10s, and the NCAA South Central Regional. Arizona last beat Stanford on March 26, 2005, in the Pac-10 Championships.
Stanford finished one-tenth of a point from top-ranked Georgia during a 195.150-195.050 dual-meet loss before a sellout crowd of 10,224 at Stegeman Coliseum. Senior captain Carly Janiga won the all-around competition for Stanford’s only victory, but freshman Ashley Morgan may have provided the Cardinal’s biggest highlight with her sterling collegiate debut. Competing in three events, Morgan had the highest scoring average of the meet (9.83), among those who competed in more than one event. She scored 9.875 on the vault for Stanford’s highest individual score of the day. She also led the Cardinal with a 9.80 on the balance beam, and scored 9.825 in the floor exercise. Janiga scored a 39.30 to win the all-around.
Other than a 2008 loss to eventual national champion Georgia, Stanford has gone a combined 13-0 in home openers since 2002. Last year, Stanford opened its home season with a 196.775-194.600 victory over Arizona State. Carly Janiga won the uneven bars (9.9) and balance beam (9.925), as well as the all-around (39.475). Janiga, who is from Paradise Valley in the Phoenix area, always seems to perform well against schools from her home state. Since 2002, Stanford is 5-0 in home openers against Pac-10 schools, having beaten ASU and Oregon State twice, and Washington once.
Stanford in the National Ranking
Stanford opened the season ranked No. 7 in the GymInfo coaches’ poll. However, all subsequent rankings during the season are empirical, based on average team scores. Therefore, Stanford’s score of 195.050 at Georgia became the team’s new determining factor in the rankings.
The following are the current rankings: 1, UCLA 196.600; 2, Oklahoma 196.250; 3, Nebraska 195.700; 4, Alabama 195.650; 5, Oregon State 195.625; 6, Denver 195.575; 7, Arkansas 195.400; 8, Florida 195.275; 9, Auburn 195.200; 10, Georgia 195.150; 11, Utah 195.125; 12, Stanford 195.050; 13, Michigan 194.875; 14, Kentucky 194.850; 15, Missouri 194.725.
What the Rankings Mean
Unlike other collegiate athletics rankings, gymnastics is not based on wins and losses or votes, but by season scoring average. But starting Feb. 15, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score, which is based on each team’s top six regular-season scores. At least three scores must come from away meets. The highest score is then dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. The 36 teams with the highest RQS’s earn NCAA regional berths. Stanford is shooting for an RQS among the top six, which would enable the Cardinal to earn a No. 1 seed.
Team Scores in Rankings
In every event, Stanford is among the national top 20 in average score. Here is how the Cardinal ranks, and its season averages:
Overall: 12th, 195.050
Vault: 4th, 49.125
Bars: 12th, 48.725
Beam: 17th, 48.275
Floor: 5th, 48.900
Individual Scores in Rankings
Here is how Cardinal individuals rank among the nation’s top 25, with their season averages:
All-around: 4th, Carly Janiga, 39.300
Vault: 6th, Ashley Morgan, 9.875
Bars: 25th (tie), Carly Janiga and Allyse Ishino, each 9.825
Beam: 9th, Ashley Morgan, 9.850
Floor: 14th, Carly Janiga, 9.850
All-American Carly Janiga
Senior captain Carly Janiga enters the season with six All-America honors, including four first-team. Janiga was the 2009 NCAA uneven bars runner-up with a score of 9.9125. It gave Stanford its highest NCAA individual finish since 2001. She also earned second-team All-America honors in the all-around. In fact, Janiga won both the Pac-10 and NCAA South Central Regional all-around titles last season and is expected to be a contender for the 2010 NCAA crown. Janiga also is a three-time Scholastic All-American and is among nine gymnasts at Stanford since 2000 to double as an All-American athletically and academically.
Head Coach Kristen Smyth
Since Kristen Smyth, the reigning Pac-10 and Regional Coach of the Year, arrived as head coach in 2002, the Stanford women’s gymnastics team has had unprecedented success. Numbers tell much of the story:
• Of Stanford’s 81 All-America honors, 60 have come in Smyth’s tenure.
• There have been 56 Scholastic All-American honors in that span.
• Smyth has coached the Cardinal into the NCAA Super Six finals four times – Stanford had never advanced that far before – and finished among the top-three twice.
• Of Stanford seven NCAA top-10 finishes, Smyth has coached the team to six of them.
Next Home Meet: No. 1 UCLA
Stanford takes on No. 1 UCLA in its next home meet, Jan. 24 at Burnham Pavilion, at 2 p.m. Stanford and UCLA have split the past six Pacific-10 Conference titles and will match up twice in the regular season before a showdown March 27 in Tucson, Ariz., at the conference championships. Stanford also takes on the Bruins Feb. 14 in Westwood.
2009 In Review
Carly Janiga’s second-place finish on the uneven bars highlighted Stanford’s performances at the NCAA Championships in Lincon, Neb. Janiga’s finish was the highest for a Stanford individual since 2001. The Cardinal barely missed advancing to the Super Six finals, missing by 0.075 of a point during the team preliminaries and finished eighth in the country.