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Stanford Scores Sweep in Gymnastics Opener
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 01/03/2009
CANCUN, Mexico - The Stanford women's gymnastics team opened its season at the Cancun Classic on Friday with solid victories over three schools that advanced to the NCAA postseason in 2008.

The Cardinal, ranked No.5 in the national preseason coaches poll, scored 195.6 points to beat No.9 Oregon State (194.575), No.14 Denver (193.825) and unranked BYU (189.125) in the four-team evening session at the Hilton Beach and Spa Resort.

Eighth-year Stanford coach Kristen Smyth got an all-around victory from Carly Janiga, but felt the team's performance on the balance beam was the highlight of the meet. Allyse Ishino, in her first competition since injuring her knee at the Pacific-10 Conference championships in March, set the tone by helping the team refocus after a teammate's miss, by performing aggressively and with confidence.

Ishino's 9.825 sparked a flurry of outstanding routines: Kelly Fee's 9.775, Janiga's 9.825, Heather Purnell's winning 9.85 and Shelley Alexander's 9.825. Stanford's rotation score of 49.075 was the session's best in any event.

Alexander, who competed solely on the vault last year, competed in the all-around "with the poise and confidence of a veteran," Smyth said. "She has worked really hard and has made big improvements. I am excited to watch her grow and get better every weekend."

Her all-around score of 38.975 was superb, but it didn't quite match Janiga. The 2007 first-team all-around All-America scored 39.275 to win, finishing just ahead of Oregon State's Jami Lanz at 39.125.

Janiga, a junior, scored a 9.9 - the best mark of the session - to win the uneven bars. She also scored 9.825 to tie Oregon State's Whitney Watson and Mandi Rodriguez for the vault title.

Stanford was without all-around All-America Nicole Ourada, who was nursing a sore shoulder, and endured a long travel day on Thursday. But the Cardinal (3-0) adjusted well.

"It was a great way to start off the year," Smyth said. "I was impressed with how this team stayed together throughout the meet and covered each other when we had mistakes. This team is tough and is willing to fight for everything. They showed a tremendous amount of character and heart. I'm excited to build from here."

Two Stanford freshmen made their collegiate debuts. Nicole Pechanec scored a 9.775 on the bars and 9.675 on the floor, and Alyssa Brown scored 9.775 on the vault.

Though four teams competed in an earlier session, Stanford had the highest combined score of the day, ahead of fellow 2008 Super Six competitor LSU (194.900).

The Cardinal returns to action Jan. 16 in Seattle with a quad meet against Washington, Seattle Pacific and Sacramento State, followed by its home opener Jan. 22 (7 p.m.) at Burnham Pavilion against No.24 Arizona State.

The following are the team scores, winners, and Stanford's individual results:

Overall

Team: 1, Stanford 195.6; 2, Oregon State 194.575; 3, Denver 193.825; 4, BYU 189.125.

All-around: 1, Carly Janiga (Stanford) 39.275. Also, Shelley Alexander 38.975.

Vault

Team: 1, Stanford 48.875; 2, Oregon State 48.8; 3, Denver 48.6; 4, BYU 47.15.

Individuals: 1 (tie), Carly Janiga (Stanford), Whitney Watson (OSU), Mandi Rodriguez (OSU), each 9.825. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.80, Alyssa Brown 9.775, Blair Ryland 9.75, Danielle Ikoma 9.725, Gretchen O'Henley 9.125.

Bars

Team: 1, Stanford 49.05; 2, Denver 48.8; 3, Oregon State 48.625; 4, BYU 47.125.

Individuals: 1, Carly Janiga (Stanford) 9.90. Also, Kelly Fee 9.825, Heather Purnell 9.80, Nicole Pechanec 9.775, Shelley Alexander 9.75, Allyse Ishino 9.40.

Beam

Team: 1, Stanford 49.075; 2, Oregon State 48.775; 3, BYU 48.25; 4, Denver 47.9.

Individuals: 1, Heather Purnell (Stanford) 9.85. Also, Allyse Ishino 9.825, Carly Janiga 9.825, Shelley Alexander 9.80, Kelly Fee 9.775, Danielle Ikoma 8.70.

Floor

Team: 1, Denver 48.675; 2, Stanford 48.6; 3, Oregon State 48.375; 4, BYU 46.6.

Individuals: 1, Amanda Johanson (Denver) 9.85. Also, Danielle Ikoma 9.80, Kelly Fee 9.775, Carly Janiga 9.725, Nicole Pechanec 9.675, Shelley Alexander 9.625, Blair Ryland 9.50.


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