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UCLA Sets Bar High for Pac-10 Finals

Times Staff Writer

With a roster overflowing in talent, UCLA Coach Valorie Kondos Field said the Bruins’ women’s gymnastics team is frequently a target, an opinion that was reinforced at the Pacific Challenge meet last weekend at Cal State Fullerton.

“I was sitting in front of some people in the stands and they were talking about how their team beat UCLA,” Kondos Field said. “It’s not just because you’ve been very successful. I think any team that wears those four letters is going to be a target.”

The No. 1 Bruins are in the hunt for their fourth NCAA title but they’ll face some excellent competition Saturday night in the Pacific 10 Conference championships at Pauley Pavilion. The seven teams competing all are ranked in the top 20; No. 3 Arizona State, No. 7 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State, which upset UCLA on Jan. 24 in Corvallis, are the main challengers.

UCLA will be trying for its 11th conference title and fourth in five years.

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“The Pac-10 meet is when you get serious,” Kondos Field said. “It’s when you put up your A-team and every half-tenth [of a point] counts.”

Senior Onnie Willis will try to defend her conference title in the all-around and junior Jamie Dantzscher will be after her third consecutive floor exercise title. Injury-plagued senior Doni Thompson, the Pac-10 co-champ on the uneven bars last year, will compete for the first time this season.

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UCLA’s top-ranked softball team swept a doubleheader from eighth-ranked Cal State Fullerton, 11-2 and 8-2, Tuesday night before 1,643 at Fullerton, the seventh-largest crowd in program history.

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Tairia Mims powered the Bruins in the opener with two home runs and All-American shortstop Natasha Watley went three for four with a homer. In the second game, UCLA (28-2) took a 7-0 lead after two innings. Key hits were a two-run single by Toria Auelua, a two-run double by Mims and a two-run triple by Emily Zaplatosch.

Fullerton (19-12) was coming off a 15-3 victory over third-ranked Arizona.

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USC senior Mikaela Parmlid and Pepperdine senior Katherine Hull shared golf medalist honors Wednesday at the Pioneer Electronics Classic. Each shot three-over par 219 for 54 holes at Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Santa Clarita.

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Hull, ranked No. 1 in the nation by Golfstat.com, has won four tournament titles this season. Parmlid won her third tournament, a school record.

Top-ranked Pepperdine won its fourth consecutive tournament with a two-stroke victory over the third-ranked Trojans.

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Long Beach State sophomore pitcher Jered Weaver was among the first eight players selected to try out for the U.S. national team this summer. Weaver is 6-2 with a 2.25 earned-run average after throwing six shutout innings Tuesday in a 2-0 win over UCLA.

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Matt McConnaughy of Fullerton finished ninth in the men’s epee division at the NCAA fencing championships Sunday at the Air Force Academy.


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