UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field announced another standout recruiting class with the signings of national letters-of-intent by U.S. national team member Cassie Whitcomb, Canadian national team member Christine Peng Peng Lee, and former Junior Olympic national team member Dana McDonald.
Whitcomb is a five-year member of the U.S. national team who trains at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. At this year’s USA Championships, she placed second on the uneven bars and seventh on floor exercise. She also competed at the CoverGirl Classic this summer, placing fourth in the all-around and third on bars and floor. In 2009, she earned an eighth-place all-around finish and was second on bars and fifth on floor at USAs, and at the CoverGirl Classic, she won the uneven bars, placed second on floor and fourth in the all-around. Whitcomb has had success in international competition, winning gold in the all-around and on bars and silver on beam and floor at the 2009 International tournament of Pas-de-Calais in Argues, France.
“Cassie Whitcomb will bring a lot of competitive experience and artistry to our team,” said Kondos Field. “She is one of those athletes who takes the sport of gymnastics and is able to turn it into an artistic performance.”
Lee is a Canadian national team member from Oakville, ON who formerly trained with UCLA junior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs at Sport Seneca and is now at Oakville Gymnastics. Lee had a breakthrough year in 2007, placing fifth in the all-around, fourth on floor and eighth on beam at the 2007 Pan American Games. She also had a standout performance at the 2007 Junior Pan Am Championships, placing fourth in the all-around, second on vault and floor, fourth on bars and sixth on beam. In 2008, she claimed the beam and floor titles at the Canadian national championships and also placed third in the all-around and fifth on bars.
“Christine Peng Peng Lee has been healing from a back injury the last year but is now fully cleared, coming back and expected to be a strong competitor in all-around,” said Kondos Field. “Peng Peng will most likely be one of the most exciting Bruins to come to Westwood.”
McDonald, who is from Piedmont, CA and trains at Novato Gymnastics, was a member of the 2007 Junior Olympic National Team and was the Region 1 all-around, vault, beam and floor champion that season. In 2009, she won the NorCal State beam title and earned a Top 10 finish in the all-around at the Level 1 Regionals. McDonald won the vault and floor titles and placed third in the all-around at the 2009 Level 10 NIT.
“It’s always great to refuel our depth with athletes who are strong both mentally and physically and who can come in and contribute on every event,” Kondos Field said. “Dana is coming off an Achilles tear but is looking to be at full strength in near future. We expect her to be a solid contributor on all four events.”
UCLA Gymnastics Signees: Christine Peng Peng Lee (Oakville, ON/Abbey Park HS/Oakville Gymnastics) Dana McDonald (Piedmont, CA/Piedmont HS/Novato Gymnastics) Cassie Whitcomb (Cincinnati/Ohio Virtual Academy/Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy)