April 27, 2007
Salt Lake City, UT - Stanford women's gymnastics (SWG) had an outstanding competition in the second session of the day during NCAA National Championships team preliminary competition. The Card's 197.2 was good enough for second place, just .125 behind host Utah, and plenty to send them to their third Super Six appearance in the last six years. There were abundant individual honors, including 13 All American awards. SWG moves on to the team finals against Utah and UCLA (from the evening session) and the top three teams from the earlier session (Georgia, Florida, and Nebraska). Team finals competition will start at 7 pm at the Huntsman Center on the campus of the University of Utah and Stanford will follow Olympic order, starting on vault and finishing on floor.
SWG's primary goal on the evening was to hit 24 of 24 routines and the young team delivered in style. The floor team had a few nervous moments, but freshman Carly Janiga and Junior Tabitha Yim both earned a spot in Saturday's event finals competition (first team All Americans all qualify to the individual event finals).
Vault turned into one of the major highlights of the night as SWG hit at a level they've been striving for all season. Junior Liz Tricase tied for first with a 9.95 and Janiga's 9.925 also earned first team All American status, while freshman Blair Ryland led off with a career high 9.9 that gave her second team All American status. Sophomore Nicole Ourada matched Ryland's effort and gained her first All American title.
Bars was very solid and Stanford had the second best team score of the evening session, but Yim was the lone All American with second team honors thanks to her 9.9, which included her huge trademark Geinger and a big full twisting double tuck for the first time this season.
Stanford moved to beam in the final rotation and was battling Utah for the number one spot, but the competition was tight enough at that point that the team needed to hit in order to assure their place in the Super Six. SWG proceeded to turn in one of the best team beam efforts of the competition, including first team All American performances of 9.9 for sophomore Kelly Fee, Ourada, and Yim.
Janiga and Yim both also earned first team All American in the All Around, with second place (39.5) and fourth place (39.45), respectively, while Ourada made second team with her 39.35.
Scores and results:
Official championship site:
Quotes from session 2:
Utah Head Coach Greg Marsden
Opening Statement: "I'd like to congratulate Stanford and UCLA. Last year was extremely disappointing for both programs. For the athletes and staff to make it back to the championship finals says a lot about their programs.
"We're thrilled. We felt like things were coming together for us at the end of the season. We had a good regional meet and a very good night tonight. We're hoping to have one more tomorrow."
Question: "What do you think of the competition tomorrow?" Answer: "We have seen both programs (Georgia, Florida). It will be a hard-fought finals tomorrow. If we expect to be in the running, we've got to bring our A game. There will be great athletes on the floor and great gymnastics."
Utah Student-Athlete Ashley Postell
Question: "Would you talk about your performance tonight?" Answer: "I'm really excited how I did. But more importantly, we're all really excited with how we did tonight as a team. We're excited to have made it to Super Six. We just have to make it another day."
Question: "Did you feel extra pressure competing at home?" Answer: "It was positive to compete at home. It's great to compete in front of people you know and faces you recognize. When the fans get rowdy, it really helps us out."
UCLA Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field
Opening Statement: "We're thrilled to be back in the finals to compete. It was a competitive meet where we had to dig it out in the end and just refuse to lose. It's great to have a team that doesn't have emotional highs and lows, but just stays steady. It has been the most fun team I've coached."
Question: "Did you know what you had to do in the final rotation to beat LSU?" Answer: "We knew what we needed to do. It wasn't clear exactly what scores we needed, but we had done some math. We just had to hit everything to advance. We had to rise to the occasion and go out and get it, because it wasn't going to be given to us."
Question: "What do you think of the competition tomorrow?" Answer: "The athletes are excited to compete in an arena like this one. It's a great atmosphere here. I didn't see the first session but heard great things and have seen the teams over the season. It's going to be a great Super Six."
UCLA Student-Athlete Tasha Schwikert
Question: "How did you feel to hit the final event (bars) with pressure to do well?" Answer: "It felt awesome. We knew what we had to do and that was just to focus on our handstands and dismounts and everybody just do their job. We knew if we could do that we'd qualify for the Super Six."
Stanford Head Coach Kristen Smyth
Opening Statement: "First of all, I would like to say how unbelievably proud I am of my team tonight and how they performed. We came out and did exactly what we wanted to do all year long. It was a very consistent effort all the way around. From start to finish a very consistent effort. All year we have been getting 22, 23 or 24 out of our 24 routines done well. Tonight, they did exactly what they have been training to do all year. This is our program's third Super Six in the last six years, which is something that I am very proud of. We are very happy to be moving on tomorrow night."
Question: "Could you rate your performance tonight on the vault and how important that was to your overall performance?" Answer: "To be honest with you, all year vault hasn't been our best event. For us to come out in the National Championships and perform the way did -- with freshmen leading the way -- is incredible. It was incredibly exciting for me to watch. I want to thank our vault coaches for their incredible job preparing our athletes. It was only a matter of time before we put one together like this. It couldn't have come at a better place."
Question: "What do you think about tomorrow's competition. Did you get to watch anybody else. How does your team fit into the mix?" Answer: "I think it's going to be great tomorrow. A great competition should be expected. I didn't get to see anybody else today, but I have seen all the teams involved in this year's event. Tomorrow is going to be phenomenal. The crowds here have been great, and I can't imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like tomorrow night."
Stanford Student Athlete Tabitha Yim
Question: "Could you rate your team's performance tonight on the vault? How important was that to your overall performance?" Answer: "We are really proud of the freshmen for the way they stepped up tonight. It gave us so much confidence for us the rest of the event. I'm so proud. They were just awesome."