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Titans' Mathiasen an All-Around Good Gymnast

April 03, 2001|LON EUBANKS

Gymnast Kelly Mathiasen hopes she can turn in another good performance in the all-around on Saturday, when the Cal State Fullerton women's gymnastics team competes in the NCAA West Regional at UCLA.

Mathiasen, a sophomore, won the Big West Conference all-around title on March 24 at UC Santa Barbara, where she was selected the meet's top gymnast by conference coaches.

"I probably had my best meet of the year," Mathiasen said.

The competition Saturday will be considerably more challenging, with top-ranked UCLA, 11th-ranked Brigham Young and 13th-ranked Oregon State in the field along with California, Boise State and the Titans. UCLA has the nation's top-ranked all-around gymnast in Mohini Bhardwaj, who won the all-around, bars and beam last season at the regional.

However, Titan Coach Julie Knight said she thinks Mathiasen has a chance to advance to the NCAA finals April 19-21 in Athens, Ga.

"The all-arounders on the top two teams automatically qualify for the nationals, and two other all-arounders will get spots individually," Knight said. "Kelly has been very consistent all season, and she's made a significant improvement in her bars routine."

Mathiasen earned a berth in the West Regional last season as a freshman. She posted the best all-around average in Titan history at 38.82, and also set school records on the vault with a season average of 9.78 and in floor exercise at 9.82.

She finished sixth in the all-around in the Big West meet last season and 21st in the West Regional.

"The regional last year definitely wasn't my best meet," she said. "I fell on the beam, and my bars routine wasn't as strong last year. I added a new dismount on the bars this season that is much tougher. I think I've also been more consistent on the beam this year."

The Titans qualified for the regional as a team for the first time since 1997.

COACHES STOKED

UC Irvine women's soccer Coach Marine Cano and Vanguard softball Coach Beth Renkoski are full of praise for recent additions to their programs.

Last week, Cano announced the hiring of former Cal State Bakersfield player Jamie Suprenaut as his top assistant. She replaces Kristen Borland, who resigned in December.

Suprenaut played at Bakersfield from 1995-98 and holds school records in goals for a career (43), season (15, twice) and game (four), and points in a career (103) and season (39). In 1997, Bakersfield shared the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title with Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Suprenaut began her coaching career as an assistant at Bakersfield and most recently was an assistant at Boise State.

"We are getting an experienced coach at a young age," Cano said. "She has a lot of fire and passion for the game."

Cano also signed five recruits, including Valencia High alumna Alejandra Nunez, a two-time junior college All-American at Cypress College.

"Last season, we created tremendous amounts of scoring chances but could not cash in," Cano said. "She will finish those chances."

At Vanguard, Renkoski believes signee Holly Martinez will be among the best players in the Golden State Athletic Conference. A senior at Skyline High of Sammamish, Wash., Martinez is a four-year starter and a three-time all-league selection who can play every position but pitcher.

"Holly is an extremely versatile athlete with a solid softball background," Renkoski said. "She plays hard and works hard, and we are excited to see how she will develop and adjust to collegiate competition."

For the last eight summers, Martinez has played for the Southend Rebels travel-ball team. A two-time team captain, she led Skyline to the 1999 Washington 3A championship. Last season, she batted .386 and led her team in hits, runs, triples, home runs and game-winning runs batted in.

CONCORDIA ROLLS

Concordia's softball team may be struggling in fifth place in the Golden State Athletic Conference, but that didn't stop the Eagles from sweeping to the title at the month-long Sun West Tournament in Orange, which ended last week. The Eagles posted a 9-0 tournament record.

Biola (30-9), second in the GSAC, was 4-0 in Sun West competition. Host Chapman was a workhorse, winning 18 of the 24 tournament games it played. It was the most victories posted by any of the 39 participating teams. But the tournament title is awarded to the team with the best overall winning percentage, regardless of the number of games played.

Concordia (25-17) had a team batting average of .329 and a slugging percentage of .431. The Eagles outscored tournament opponents, 66-25. Several players turned in outstanding performances.

Pitcher Christie Shankles went 4-0 with an earned-run average of 0.71.

Among regulars, Holly Walker batted .450 and drove in nine runs. Sarah Kammert batted .435 with six RBIs. Tricia Thoms batted .412 with 10 RBIs. Kristen Degree batted .400 with two RBIs and six stolen bases, and Shelley Kuehnert batted .400 with seven RBIs.

Part-timer Andrea Castillo played in four games, hit .429 and had a .500 on-base percentage.

NOTEWORTHY

Long Beach State designated hitter Darcey Brown, a freshman from Los Alamitos High, was named Big West Conference softball player of the week. She was five for seven with four runs and four RBIs in a three-game sweep of Utah State. Brown reached base in nine of 11 at-bats. . . . Cal State Fullerton's Richard Adams won the 400 intermediate hurdles in a school-record time of 52.06 seconds last weekend at the Stanford Invitational track and field meet. Brandon Campbell broke his Fullerton record in the long jump with an effort of 24 feet 7 inches, and finished third.

Staff writer Paul McLeod contributed to this story.

If you have an item or idea for the college report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at: lon.eubanks@latimes.com or paul.mcleod@latimes.com

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