March 23, 2013
Corvallis, Ore. - Vanessa Zamarripa backed up her Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year Award by dominating at the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday evening. The Bruin senior scored a perfect 10 on vault, her third this season and won the all-around with a 39.75 to lead UCLA to a second-place finish and season-high road score of 197.375.
In addition to winning the all-around and vault, Zamarripa also took home a share of the balance beam crown to bring her career individual total to six, while Bruin junior Olivia Courtney won her fourth career conference title, taking home a share of the floor exercise title. Courtney also finished third in the all-around with a career-high 39.55, and Lichelle Wong was seventh with a new career-best score of 39.375.
Host Oregon State won the team championship for the sixth time, recording a school-record 197.85. Utah was third with 197.075, followed by Stanford in fourth with 196.625, Washington with 195.875, Arizona with 195.525, California with 195.075 and Arizona State with 193.425.
UCLA got off to a fantastic start on uneven bars, taking a one-rotation lead after scoring a season-high 49.45. The Bruins' first three competitors each stuck their dismounts en route to high marks. Danusia Francis led off with a 9.85, followed by a career-high-tying 9.9 from Sophina DeJesus and a 9.85 from Wong. Courtney was close to a stick on her dismount and scored 9.825. Monique De La Torre hit her difficult hop full to a stuck double layout dismount and scored 9.9, and Zamarripa closed with a nearly perfect routine that, in fact, merited a 10 from one of the four judges and a final score of 9.95. Utah kept close with a 49.4 on floor exercise, while Oregon State earned 49.275 on balance beam, and Stanford went 49.05 on vault.
The Bruins' lead was short-lived, however. On the next rotation, they were forced to count a low score after a low mark by Kaelie Baer was coupled with a fall by DeJesus. Baer, the Bruins' leadoff performer, missed her foot on her dismount and landed short, scoring 9.525. Her ability to land on her feet, however, proved to be important in the final standings. The Bruins were picked up by a strong routine by Wong (9.85), but DeJesus' fall forced UCLA to count the 9.525. But the Bruins finished strong with a 9.825 from Courtney, a meet-winning 9.925 from Zamarripa and a 9.85 from Francis to bring up UCLA's score to 48.975.
UCLA rebounded on floor exercise in the third rotation, scoring 49.45. The Bruins got a season-high 9.85 from Wong in the leadoff position, 9.875s from DeJesus and Zamarripa, a 9.9 from Alyssa Pritchett and a career-high-tying and meet-winning 9.95 from Courtney but still remained in third place with 147.875 behind Utah (148.250) and Oregon State (148.175).
The Bruins finished up on vault with a stellar team performance, tying their season-high with a 49.5. Wong's 9.825 started things off for the Bruins, and Pritchett followed up with a 9.8. Baer earned her fourth-straight 9.9+ vault score, this time setting a new career-high with a 9.925 on a stuck Yurchenko layout full. Courtney also stuck her vault, scoring 9.95 for the third-straight meet, setting up Zamarripa for her ninth career perfect 10. Zamarripa did not disappointing hitting a huge vault with stuck landing for a 10, just the sixth 10 on vault in Pac-12 Championship history. The Bruins' finish on vault allowed them to surpass Utah in the final standings. The Utes totaled just 48.825 on balance beam to drop from first to third in the last rotation. Oregon State set a school record on uneven bars with 49.675 to secure the victory with style.
"We had some really good performances, and I was proud of how we stuck with it for all four events, even when we knew we didn't have a chance of winning," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "But we can't make mistakes. Our team this year has got to be on every routine, every event for us to be able to continue to move forward. But we are getting more consistent with our landings and with areas that we needed to work on, which are bar dismounts and sticking vault. I'm confident we'll be able to move forward and keep improving."
Zamarripa won the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year award for the second time in her career; she previously won in 2010 as a sophomore. California's Serena Leong was the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, and Golden Bear head coach Justin Howell was selected the Coach of the Year. Stanford's Amanda Spinner, who tied with Zamarripa for first on balance beam, was named the Pac-12 Specialist of the Year. Oregon State senior Stephanie McGregor earned Scholar-Athlete of the Year acclaim.
The Bruins will next compete at the NCAA Regionals, which take place Apr. 6. The Regional field will be announced on Monday.