Posts Tagged ‘Valorie Kondos Field’

Aisha Gerber to become a Bruin

May 23, 2008

Aisha GerberAisha Gerber, the expressive Canadian who was third at the 2006 American Cup has signed a letter of intent to compete for UCLA next winter, NCAA.com reports.

In a statement, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos-Field compared Gerber to former Bruin Yvonne Tousek, one of the most expressive and unique gymnasts of her generation.

“Aisha embodies all that we pride ourselves on at UCLA. She is a brilliant and serious student of academics as well as of gymnastics. She also exudes confidence, poise and elegance, much like her fellow Canadian and past Bruin Yvonne Tousek.”

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Church, Mackie yet to compete for UCLA, Utah

February 6, 2008

UCLA and Utah made a big deal of getting freshmen Shavahn Church and Gael Mackie, respectively, a year earlier than originally planned.

Both arrived at their schools in the winter and began working out with their teams, but neither has had a score count yet.

Shavahn ChurchAfter standout 2003 and 2004 seasons as a U.S. junior Church, who holds dual citizenship with Great Britain, declared that she would compete for England in senior international competition. Which she did at the 2005 World Championships, 2006 European Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Injuries have slowed her down since then, and some saw her decision to come to UCLA a year earlier than planned as a way of throwing in the towel on her Olympic aspirations.

In her “Between the bars” online diary entry for Jan. 6, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos-Field reported that Church had not been cleared to train following arthroscopic surgery to “clean out her knee” in December.

Gael MackieMackie is uninjured, but the Utes’ lineup is really, really deep. The 2004 Canadian Olympian has competed an exhibition bar routine in two meets but has yet to be placed in the lineup. Utah coach Greg Marsden told The Salt Lake Tribune that Mackie needs to “relax and gain some confidence.”

Mackie herself sounds raring to go.

“I think about it all the time, how much I want to be in the lineup,” she said. “I came here to perform and stuff, so hopefully I’ll get to.”

2009 Bruins: Hopfner-Hibbs, Zamarripa, Baer, Frattone

November 16, 2007

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs

2006 World beam bronze medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs and three level 10 gymnasts will join UCLA in 2009, coach Valorie Kondos Field announced today.

In addition to Hopfner-Hibbs, Vanessa Zamarripa, Kaelie Baer and Tauny Frattone have also signed letters of intent to compete for UCLA.

“These four outstanding student-athletes bring diverse and unique qualities to our program,” said Kondos Field. “All of them are brilliant athletes in their own right. As a group, they will help maintain our program’s quest for dynamic, unique and beautiful gymnastics and help keep our program at a level of national prominence.”

One would guess this means Hopfner-Hibbs is going for one of the two Canadian spots up for grabs in 2008. Canadian Alyssa Brown, who plans to attend Stanford University, has also expressed her desire to wear the maple leaf in Beijing.

Church to compete for UCLA this winter

November 11, 2007

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.