April 18, 2012
DULUTH, Ga. - The Stanford women's gymnastics team returns to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in six years and competes in the nationals for the 12th time overall. Stanford is seeded 10th among 12 teams at the event and will open in its six-team semifinals session on Friday morning at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The top three teams in each of the two sessions advance to Saturday's Super Six, which determines the national champion. Stanford is seeking a sixth appearance in the finals, all since 2002.
What: No. 10-seeded Stanford (18-7 overall) at NCAA Championships
Where: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Ga.
NCAA Championships Schedule:
• Semifinals: Friday, 9 a.m. PT (first session)
• Super Six: Saturday, 1 p.m. PT
• Individual Event finals: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT
• Friday: Team Semifinals, click here for ncaa.com Webcast
• Saturday: Super Six Team Finals, ESPN3
• Sunday: Individual Event Finals, ESPN3
• Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. PT: NCAA Championships Tape Delay, ESPNU
Broadcast crew: Bart Conner, Kathy Johnson, Suzanne Yoculan
Follow the Action
• Check for updates on Twitter (@StanfordWGym).
• Live stats and updated scores can be found at gostanford.com.
Click here for a pre-meet interview with Stanford coach Kristen Smyth
• Born Leader: Jenny Peter, a senior captain, helped organize an education program in the U.S. Virgin Islands last summer that brought together high school students from all over the territory for three weeks and empowered them to become leaders who make positive changes in their communities.
• Czech Mate: Nicole Pechanec's parents emigrated from Czechoslovakia when it was still under communist rule (as a young gymnast, her mother, Yveta, competed against Nadia Comeneci). Though she grew up in New Jersey, Nicole moved to the Czech Republic at age 16 and lived on her own while training and competing for the Czech national team.
• Comeback Story: Amanda Spinner, a sophomore captain, missed the past two years with injuries, but returned to action this year and, in an amazing comeback story, won the regional title on the balance beam.
• Family Ties: Ashley Morgan is the daughter of Hall of Fame baseball player Joe Morgan and comes from the same hometown (Danville, Calif.) and the same gym (Bay Aerials) as her longtime friend Spinner. Morgan is a two-time Pac-12 floor champion.
• Hockey History: Alyssa Brown, a senior captain, was a hockey player for a number of years while growing up in Canada and is a big fan of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. She suffered a shoulder injury in the off-season and it appeared might not be able to compete this season. However, she worked her way back into three events -- scoring a 9.90 at regionals in only her second routine this season, and won the regional crown on vault.
• Elite Champion: Ivana Hong was a 2009 U.S. senior national champion and national team veteran, is excelling in her first collegiate season, winning a Pac-12 title on vault.
The Fab Five
Stanford coach Kristen Smyth has placed a great deal of responsibility upon her five-member freshman class -- one that figures to be one of the best in school history. The class is comprised of two-time U.S. senior national champion and 2012 Pac-12 vault champion Ivana Hong, former U.S. national team member Samantha Shapiro, 2008 British Olympian Rebecca Wing, and two-time Junior Olympic national qualifiers Alex Archer and Pauline Hanset.
Hong was limited by injuries early, but now is in the lineup in multiple events. Shapiro has largely competed in one as she overcomes injuries of her own. All have made an impact in the lineup. Shapiro has scored 9.875s on bars and vault, Hong has scored 9.9's on vault and beam, Wing should perform at leadoff in two events at nationals. Hanset has scored six 9.85's or higher on floor, and Archer has been in the vault lineup in four meets.
NCAA Regional Review
Stanford finished second at the NCAA Champaign (Ill.) Regional, scoring 196.675 points to edge host Illinois (195.725) for the final qualifying spot, behind Oklahoma (197.025). Three Cardinal individual champions were crowned: senior Alyssa Brown on vault (9.900), senior Nicole Pechanec on the uneven bars (9.925), and sophomore Amanda Spinner, who finished in a four-way tie on the balance beam (9.900). The titles were the first of any kind on the collegiate level for each.
Most Recent Lineup
The following is Stanford's regional lineup:
• Vault: Hanset, Pechanec, Hong, Brown, Dayton, A. Morgan.
• Bars: Wing, Brown, S. Morgan, Shapiro, A. Morgan, Pechanec.
• Beam: Wing, Pechanec, Hong, S. Morgan, Spinner, Brown.
• Floor: Dayton, Hong, S. Morgan, Hanset, Pechanec, A. Morgan.
Here is the rotation order for the first session of the NCAA semifinals on Friday. This is the same order for Stanford as in the regionals: bye, floor, vault, bye, bars, beam.
Athletes and Honors
A listing of collegiate titles and honors for members of this year's Stanford team:
• Alyssa Brown, sr.:
2012 NCAA Champaign Regional champion (vault)
2011 All-Pac-10 first team (beam)
2010 All-Pac-10 second team (beam)
• Ivana Hong, fr.:
2012 Pac-12 champion (vault)
2012 All-Pac-12 second team (vault)
• Ashley Morgan, jr.:
2012 Pac-12 champion (floor)
2012 All-Pac-12 first team (floor)
2012 All-Pac-12 first team (bars)
2011 Pac-10 champion (floor)
2011 All-Pac-10 first team (floor)
2010 All-Pac-10 second team (floor)
• Shona Morgan, so.:
2012 All-Pac-12 second team (beam)
• Nicole Pechanec, sr.:
2012 NCAA Champaign Regional champion (bars)
2011 All-Pac-10 second team (floor)
2010 All-Pac-10 second team (floor)
• Amanda Spinner, so.:
2012 NCAA Champaign Regional champion (beam)
Super Six Experience
Stanford has four gymnasts who were part of the lineups that competed in the 2010 NCAA Super Six finals in Gainesville, Fla., on the Cardinal's fourth-place team. They are: Alyssa Brown, Ashley Morgan, Nicole Pechanec, and Jenny Peter.
Stanford NCAA Championship Facts
• Team is competing in its 12th NCAA Championship meet.
• Has reached the Super Six five times.
• Most recent Super Six appearance was 2010 (fourth place).
• All of team's Super Six appearances have come since 2002.
• The program's high finish has been third in 2004 and 2008.
• Team's highest NCAA score was 197.200 in 2007 prelims.
• Highest Super Six score was 197.125 in 2004 (third place).
• There have been two individual NCAA champions from Stanford.
• Larissa Fontaine tied for first on vault in 1998 (9.8625).
• Carly Janiga won the bars in 2010 in Gainesville, Fla.
• Her score of 9.9375 is the program's highest in NCAA competition.
• Program has 15 first-team All-Americans in its history.
• Those individuals totaled 49 first-team All-America honors.
• Current assistant coach Tabitha Yim has the most first-team All-America honors in school history, with 13 from 2005-08.
• The highest all-around finish was Carly Janiga's third in 2010.
• Stanford has had 20 All-Americans total.
Stanford vs. Other NCAA Competitors:
The following are results of Stanford's most recent meetings with teams from Session I:
• UCLA: Stanford and UCLA faced each other twice this season, with the Bruins winning both times, most recently at the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City on March 24 when the Bruins (197.425) won and the Cardinal fell from first to fourth on the final rotation (196.825). On Feb. 5 at UCLA, Stanford lost the dual meet, 197.250-196.450 in Westwood. Stanford has a 12-10 series advantage over UCLA since 2006.
• Oklahoma: The Sooners (197.025) and Stanford (196.675) finished 1-2 at the six-team NCAA Champaign (Ill.) Regional on April 7.
• Nebraska: Stanford (196.800) was first, Michigan (196.500) second and Nebraska (195.400) third in a tri-meet in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Feb. 13, 2011.
• Utah: The Pac-12's newest member has played host to the Cardinal twice this season, winning a dual meet (196.300-196.100) on Feb. 24 and finishing second at the conference championships (197.375) to Stanford's fourth (196.925) on March 24.
• LSU: The third-place Tigers (196.300) edged Stanford (196.225) for the final qualifying spot in Session I of the 2009 NCAA team preliminaries in Lincoln, Neb.
* * *
The following are results of Stanford's most recent meetings with teams from Session II:
• Florida: Stanford finished fourth (197.100) to the Gators fifth (197.000) at the Super Six in Gainesville, Fla., on April 23, 2010.
• Alabama: The Crimson Tide (197.225) edged Stanford (197.100) for third place at the 2010 Super Six in Gainesville, Fla.
• Georgia: In the 2010 season opener (Jan. 9), Georgia (195.150) opened the post-Suzanne Yoculan era with a dual-meet victory in Athens, Ga., over the Cardinal (195.050).
• Arkansas: Stanford (196.300) finished third in Session II at the 2010 NCAA team preliminaries ahead of fifth-place Arkansas (195.600) to advance to the Super Six in Gainesville, Fla.
• Oregon State: The Beavers beat Stanford in both matchups this season. The first came in a dual meet in Corvallis, Ore., 196.800-194.525, on Jan. 27. The next came at the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City on March 24 when Oregon State finished third (197.025) to Stanford's fourth (196.825).
• Ohio State: The Buckeyes (195.350) and Stanford (195.225) both finished out of qualifying position at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional on April 2, 2011, with Ohio State third and Stanford fourth.
2012 record against Session II opponents: 0-2.
Stanford has seven with senior national team experience:
• Alyssa Brown: 2008 Canadian Olympic team alternate; two World Championships; silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
• Pauline Hanset: Represented Belgium, in a four-nation meet in Germany in 2011.
• Ivana Hong: 2009 U.S. national champion on vault and beam in 2009; 2008 U.S. Olympic team alternate; bronze on beam at 2009 World Championships and a team gold at 2007 Worlds.
• Shona Morgan: Competed for Australia in the 2008 Olympics, finishing 15th in the all-around; competed in three Worlds.
• Nicole Pechanec: Competed in three World Championships and two European Championships for the Czech Republic.
• Samantha Shapiro: Competed for the U.S. senior national team from 2009-11; won three U.S. junior national championships.
• Rebecca Wing: Competed for Great Britain in the 2008 Olympics; two Worlds and two European Championships.