Church to compete for UCLA this winter

UCLA Gymanstics announced this week that Californian Shavahn Church, a member of the British team at the 2005 World Championships, will compete for UCLA during the upcoming season.

Shavahn Church

As Terin Humphrey did at the University of Alabama in 2004, Church will enroll beginning winter quarter, meaning she’ll have her first classes within days of competing in her first meet — or vice-versa.

Church, who was a U.S. standout as a junior, exercised her dual citizenship rights to become a member of the British National Team. She was injured in 2007 and was not on the British team that competed in Stuttgart in September.

Shavahn Church, 2005 World Championships All-Around, Uneven Bars: (Check out the toe-on Shaposhnikova in the piked position, done in combination with a Pak salto — the skill is named after her.)

Church’s ties to UCLA run deep. She’s spent the past few years training with UCLA assistant coach Chris Waller and apparently has a long history with UCLA Gymnastics doyenne Valorie Kondos Field.

“I have known Shavahn since she was nine years old, and I have always felt that she was the epitome of an artistic gymnast,” said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. “She is as brilliant in her artistry of the sport as she is exciting with her gymnastics skills.”

Church is likely to make an already competitive UCLA squad even more so. The Bruins already boast 2000 Olympic team member Tasha Schwikert, Allison Taylor, Kristina Comforte, Anna Li and former Canadian standout Marci Bernholtz.

One has to wonder if she’s still planning on being a part of the British Olympic team given this decision.

In other NCAA news, 2006 U.S. Championships runner-up Natasha Kelley has announced her intention to compete for the University of Oklahoma next year.

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