Friday, June 5, 2009

Totally Commited #4


Continuing its freshman heavy form, UCLA is taking on a bunch of recruits this year.  After fare-welling a small handful of seniors after last season, including the team standout and stalwart Arianna Berlin, UCLA is going to be even more bottom heavy with youth than ever.  But coach Val and co have selected some fabulously talented girls to take on the UCLA 2010 ride with them this year.  I am still, however, harboring a theory about Val Kondos Field only picking gymnasts with odd names, like double-barrel surnames like her own (Hopfner-Hibbs), a first name as a second names, boys names as second name (Nikki Tom) or just incredibly long or fun names (Heidi Moneymaker, Ari Berlin, Aisha Gerber!) !  I stand by it with this bunch of recruits!

Monique De La Torre  hails from Glendale Arizona.  She is level ten gymnast and trains at Carter's Gym in Mesa (Cater's has sent a whopping 83 gymnasts to college on Gymnastics scholarships!!).  De La Torre is in the top 60 gymnasts in the country and her coach, Jack Carter thought she had a small chance at making the Beijing Olympic Team.  Monique and her family are happy enough that she has a full-ride scholarship with a top college like UCLA.  Her father told journalists once, that "In Mexico, this sport is for rich people only.  Here in the United States, it is possible for Monique to participate."
Monique reached level 10 by 2005, and then international elite where she placed 24th at the Nationals.  She then returned to level Ten.  Her first year competing at that level, she won every event but bars at the State finals.  Last year she was Arizona's Junior Olympic Gymnast of the Year.  Monique is known for powerful and stylish gymnastics.

Danielle Greig- trains at Chart Oak Gymnastics Gliders club in California, home of the well known coaching couple, the Rybacki's.  Her personal best AA score is a 36.525 at Level !).  Some fabulous US Olympic Gymnasts have hailed from Charter Oaks, including Jamie Dantzscher, a UCLA favorite (along with her many sisters!) Allyse Ishino, Tabitha Yim and Vanessa Atler.  Grieg is a walk-on.  She placed 37th AA at the Level 10 Nationals.

Courtney Shannon is a level ten gymnast.  Her highest AA score at the 2008 Surf City Classic was a 36.350.  She trains at Olympic Gymnastics in Laguna Hills and placed 13th in the AA at the 2007 regionals.  She has a GPA of 3.7.

Chloe Takayanagi is a level ten gymnast who hails from Los Angeles.  She trains at Chris Wallers Gym Jam (other home of Chris, UCLA coach and workplace of Mohini Bhardwaj).  She attends Laurel Springs High School and has a whopping GPA of 4.27.  In 2007 she qualified to regionals at Level 10.  In 2002 she was the level 5 state champion.  Her beam set includes an aerial, back handspring to back tuck swing down, a front 1.5 dismount and she vaults a single Yurchenko layout.  She is walking on to the UCLA team.


  1. 4.27 GPA?!?! Holy crap, she must have some high level classes!

    You know it feels really weird that the college recruits these days are the same as as ME, god, I feel old!

  2. I know!! Not being from the U.S.A, I was like, is that even a GPA!?! I thought it only went up to 4! Was it a typo? Or is it possible?

  3. sometimes if you have advanced placement classes or ap they give you extra credit something like that I was surprised the first time someone claimed to have more than a 4.0

  4. 4 is the top grade and some systems still are purely 4.0 based. For instance, when I went to HS and college and grad school, all of them were on a strict 4.0 scale. The reason for the higher than 4.0 possibility is that some school systems now (I think only in high schools, not colleges) give an extra 0.5 or even an extra 1.0 for courses that are AP or accelerated or enriched or somehow designated as harder.

  5. Lichelle Wong of the Netherlands is another UCLA recruit..

  6. I think college women's gym tends to do better with younger girls. It's very different from most sports, certainly than men's gym, where 22 year olds beat the 19 year olds.

  7. Danielle Greig is originally from New Zealand. She came to the States when she was 12 years old. Her highest AA was actually 36.75 at Nationals in 2008. She was injured in 09. She had a 5.0 GPA for her last 2 years at high school and is a National AP Scholar.