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Janiga Wins Pac-10 All-Around Title
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/21/2009

March 21, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. -

Complete Team Results in PDF Format From an individual standpoint, Stanford's success at the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Gymnastics Championships on Saturday was more than the Cardinal could have hoped for.

Stanford junior Carly Janiga captured the all-around title, Kristen Smyth was awarded Coach of the Year honors and the Cardinal earned at least a share of four individual titles out of five events.

However, despite nine season bests, Stanford was unable to duplicate its 2008 team championship, scoring 196.525 points to finish third to champion UCLA (196.725) and runner-up Oregon State (196.55) before a crowd of 3,035 at Maples Pavilion.

The Cardinal had a lead going into its final rotation, but two falls during the floor exercise forced the team to count a 9.3 in its total. While Stanford had a bye in the seventh and final rotation, it had to watch helplessly as UCLA and Oregon State overtook the Cardinal by sticking their routines.

"At this level, you can't expect to win if you're counting falls," Smyth said. "I felt we needed a much better team performance, even though we had some outstanding efforts today."

Janiga not only captured her first all-around title (39.575), but repeated as the balance beam winner (9.95) and earned a share of the uneven bars championship (9.9).

Senior teammate Nicole Ourada followed suit with her first two Pac-10 titles, tying for first on the floor exercise (9.9) and bars (9.9), though her fall on the balance beam may have deprived her of the all-around crown.

And Stanford sophomore Shelley Alexander came through with three career bests, including one on the bars as a replacement for freshman Alyssa Brown, who injured her knee on a vault landing during warmups and could not compete.

With alternate Jenny Peter recovering from an ankle injury, Stanford decided to use just five on the vault rather than six, meaning there was little room for error on its opening event. But the team reacted well to the added pressure, scoring a season-best 49.35. The vital points came from twin scores of 9.925 from Ourada and Alexander, who tied for second behind Oregon State's Mandi Rodriguez, who was voted as the Pac-10's Gymnast of the Year.

"One of the things that's been a trademark to the season has been that the girls are pretty focused and pretty resilient," Smyth said of her team. "When faced with a challenge, they will typically rise up. And they did a great job knowing that Brown had gone down and knowing we didn't really have a sixth vaulter."

Stanford began to put distance between itself and the rest of the field with a 49.275 on its next rotation, the bars. Ourada and Janiga scored 9.9's to finish in a five-way tie for first.

Janiga's all-around victory was the second consecutive for Stanford, following Tabitha Yim, who won in 2006 and 2008. Combined with Natalie Foley's first in 2004, Stanford has captured all-around honors four times in the past six years.

But the victory was bittersweet for Janiga.

"I'd rather take a Pac-10 team win 10 times more than an individual," Janiga said.

Stanford came back to the pack a bit in the fourth rotation when UCLA scored 49.3 on the vault, an event in which the Bruins lead the nation. Meanwhile, Stanford had to count a 9.675 on its way to a 49.125 on the beam.

But on the floor, one Stanford gymnast stumbled, resulting in a slight fall, and the next fell on the landing of a routine-ending tumbling pass.

Janiga followed with a 9.85 and Ourada finished off the final performance of her Stanford home career with a 9.9 to tie Rodriguez for first. But they weren't enough.

"Nikki and Carly both allowed us to finish strong," Smyth said. "With two misses, it could have snowballed. But they fought to the bitter end."

Janiga, who planned to celebrate with an ice bath, said she and every gymnast on the floor has been through what some of her teammates were struggling with after the meet.

"I've always thought that's the best and worst thing about gymnastics, that one mistake can open the doors for many and close the doors for many," Janiga said. "A championship can go down with one mistake."

UCLA captured its 14th Pac-10 title and continued a stretch in which the Bruins and Stanford have monopolized the conference championships for the past 13 years.

For Smyth, it marks her fourth Coach of the Year award in her eight seasons, as voted by her peers.

Senior captain Kelly Fee, in her final home meet, earned three scores of at least 9.825, on the bars, beam and floor. She, Ourada and Heather Purnell were honored along with the rest of the conference's seniors with flowers at the end of the meet.

The next task for Stanford (17-4) will be the NCAA regionals April 4. The Cardinal will be one of 36 teams to advance and will learn its destination on Monday. The new goals may allow the team to move on after a memorable championship meet, both positive and negative.

"There were some great things," Smyth said. "And some wonderful lessons. It's going to be great motivation for us."

Final scores
Team:
1, UCLA 196.725; 2, Oregon State 196.55; 3, Stanford 196.525; 4, Washington 194.375; 5, Arizona 194.325; 6, Arizona State 194.0; 7, California 191.75.

Winners and Stanford scores

All-around: 1, Carly Janiga 39.575. Also, Nicole Ourada 39.0.

Vault
Team:
Stanford 49.35.
Individual: 1, Mandi Rodriguez (Oregon State) 9.95. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.925; Nicole Ourada 9.925; Carly Janiga 9.875; Danielle Ikoma 9.825; Blair Ryland 9.8.

Uneven bars
Team:
Stanford 49.275.
Individual: 1, Carly Janiga (Stanford), Nicole Ourada (Stanford), Jen Kesler (Oregon State), Leslie Mak (Oregon State), Anna Li (UCLA), each 9.9. Also, Kelly Fee 9.85; Shelley Alexander 9.825; Allyse Ishino 9.8; Nicole Pechanec 9.675.

Balance beam
Team:
Stanford 49.125.
Individual: 1, Carly Janiga (Stanford) 9.95. Also, Allyse Ishino 9.9; Kelly Fee 9.825; Heather Purnell 9.775; Danielle Ikoma 9.675; Nicole Ourada 9.275.

Floor exercise
Team:
Stanford 48.775.
Individual: Nicole Ourada (Stanford), Mandi Rodriguez (Oregon State), each 9.9. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.875; Kelly Fee 9.85; Carly Janiga 9.85; Danielle Ikoma 9.3; Nicole Pechanec 9.15.


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