Feb. 15, 2012
No. 7 Bruins Face No. 8 Beavers, California -- The seventh-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (7-1, 3-1 in Pac-12) will face eighth-ranked Oregon State and California in a tri-meet on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 pm in Corvallis, Ore.
Live Coverage -- Live scoring will be available at osubeavers.com. There will also be a fee-based video available on Beaver Nation Online, with emphasis on Oregon State routines, as there will be three events going on simultaneously.
In the Rankings -- With a season average of 196.305, UCLA remains at No. 7 in the national rankings for the third consecutive week. The Bruins are back at No. 1 on vault (49.413) and up to No. 5 on floor (49.113) while remaining No. 9 on bars (49.029) and No. 8 on beam (48.950).
Individually, Samantha Peszek ranks sixth in the all-around (39.445 average) and is sixth on beam (9.867), 14th on vault (9.890) and 19th on floor (9.865). Vanessa Zamarripa remains ranked first in the nation on vault with a 9.935 average and is tied for 12th on bars (9.863) and 20th on beam (9.825). Olivia Courtney is tied for ninth on vault (9.895) and 18th on bars (9.850). Additionally, Tauny Frattone ranks 25th on vault (9.871), Aisha Gerber is tied for 17th on beam (9.831), and Alyssa Pritchett ranks 10th on floor (9.883).
About the Bruins -- UCLA returns eight All-Americans from last year's NCAA runner-up squad, including reigning NCAA beam champion Samantha Peszek and 2010 NCAA vault champion Vanessa Zamarripa, who redshirted a year ago with a torn Achilles tendon. Other All-Americans back for UCLA are 10-time All-American Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, two-time honoree Aisha Gerber, 2011 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Olivia Courtney, Monique De La Torre, Tauny Frattone and Sydney Sawa. The Bruins also bring in an outstanding freshman class, led by 2010 U.S. floor exercise champion and World Championships silver medalist Mattie Larson, as well as U.S. national team member Cassie Whitcomb.
The Bruins are coached by UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame member Valorie Kondos Field. She is assisted by Associate Head Coach and 1992 Olympian Chris Waller. New to the staff in 2012 are familiar faces to Bruin fans - assistant coach Randy Lane, who helped guide UCLA to two NCAA titles and was the 2000 NACGC/W National Assistant Coach of the Year, and volunteer coach Amy Smith, who was the co-captain for UCLA's 1997 NCAA championship team and an assistant coach at the University of Missouri from 2007-11.
About the Opponents -- Oregon State (6-0, 3-0 in the Pac-12) ranks eighth in the nation with a season average of 196.305. The Beavers posted a season-high 197.4 last weekend, the fifth-highest score in school history. Reigning conference champion and this week's Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week Leslie Mak is currently ranked eighth in the nation in the all-around, first on bars and second on beam and 14th on floor. Oregon State head coach Tanya Chaplin was a six-time All-American at UCLA. Associate head coach Michael Chaplin was also an All-American gymnast at UCLA and a teammate of UCLA Associate Head Coach Chris Waller on the Bruins' 1987 NCAA Championship squad.
Under first-year head coach Danna Durante, California (4-3, 0-3) is having one of its strongest years in recent history. The Bears are coming off a season-high 194.725 score in a dual meet loss to Stanford. Earlier in the season against the Bruins, Mariesah Pierce scored a career-high 39.15 to place second in the all-around and also tied for second on floor exercise.
In regular season competition, UCLA is 44-18 all-time vs. Oregon State and 58-1 against Cal.
UCLA Wins IGI/Chicago Style NCAA Invitational -- Despite not being at full strength, the Bruins hit all 24 routines without a fall to take first place at the IGI/Chicago Style NCAA Invitational with a score of 196.85. UCLA held slim leads over Boise State after each of the first three rotations but then pulled away in the final rotation with a strong performance on floor exercise (49.35) to win the meet by over eight-tenths of a point. Boise State was second with a score of 196.025, followed by Missouri in third with 195.525 and Illinois in fourth with 195.1.
The Bruins had event winners on all four events, with Olivia Courtney winning vault with a season-high tying 9.925 and tying for first on bars with a career-high tying 9.9. Mattie Larson picked up her first event win of the year, winning balance beam with a 9.85, and Alyssa Pritchett set a new career-high of 9.9 on floor exercise to win that event for the second time this year.
Pritchett Moves up the Ranks -- Redshirt junior Alyssa Pritchett continues to move up in the national rankings, now checking in at No. 10 on floor exercise after her career-high 9.9 in Chicago to win the IGI/Chicago Style meet. Pritchett has picked up two wins in her last three meets and is averaging a team-best 9.883 on the event.
Super-Consistent Sophomores -- Sophomores Samantha Peszek and Olivia Courtney have been as consistent as they get for the Bruins. Peszek has hit all 22 of her routines this season, with no score dipping below 9.775 and 20 of the 22 going 9.825 or higher. She has won the all-around in four out of five meets, with a career-high of 39.55 set Feb. 5. Peszek, who sat out the first month of last season with a foot fracture and was limited to no more than three events the rest of season, has posted career-highs on all but one event this year, earning high marks of 9.925 on vault and beam and 9.9 on floor.
Courtney has hit 14 of 15 routines for 9.7 or higher, with nine of her 15 routines scoring between 9.875 and 9.925. Since week two, she has averaged 9.868 on her routines, and in her last meet in Chicago, she scored a 9.9 on vault and a career-high tying 9.9 on bars to win both events. She also added a 9.85 on floor as a late replacement in the lineup.
Vault Powerhouse -- UCLA's vault lineup has been the best in the nation this season. The Bruins are averaging 49.413 on the event and have scored 49.5 or better in three meets. Four Bruin vaulters are ranked in the Top 25 nationally - No. 1 Vanessa Zamarripa (9.935 average), No. 9 Olivia Courtney (9.895), No. 14 Samantha Peszek (9.890), and No. 25 Tauny Frattone (9.871). Additionally, Mattie Larson averages 9.856, and Kaelie Baer averages 9.833 as the leadoff vaulter.
The Bruins' vault total of 49.575 at Cal ranks as the sixth-best vault score in school history, while the 49.55 from the season opener against Utah ranks as the seventh-best.
Zamarripa Finds Perfection Again -- Over a year after rupturing her Achilles tendon and sitting out the 2011 season, Vanessa Zamarripa is back to her perfect ways, recording a perfect 10 on vault on Jan. 15 in just her second meet back from her injury. The 10.0 was the fifth of her career. Only one other Bruin gymnast has scored more 10s on vault (Jeanette Antolin - 12), and Zamarripa now ranks fifth on UCLA's all-time list for most perfect 10s, tying with Kristen Maloney.
Zamarripa has scored 9.9+ on vault in 14 consecutive meets and in 27 of 33 meets in her career. She has never scored lower than 9.8 on vault and holds a career average of 9.922. She has also hit 57 consecutive routines in team competition.
McDonald Out for Season -- Freshman Dana McDonald suffered a season-ending injury on Feb. 10 in Chicago, rupturing her left Achilles tendon while performing an exhibition routine on floor exercise. McDonald had performed in exhibition in a total of five meets.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA hosts Arizona State on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 pm on Throwback Sunday. The Bruins will be wearing old-school leotards. Several charities that are near to the hearts the Bruin gymnasts will be highlighted at this meet, including UCLA GlobeMed and Soles 4 Souls. A collection bin will be on site accepting new and gently-used shoes to be donated to Soles 4 Souls.
UCLA to Host 2013 NCAA Championships -- UCLA will host the 2013 NCAA Championships in Pauley Pavilion on Apr. 19-21, 2013. Pauley Pavilion will have a new look by 2013, as it is currently under renovation. It will be reopened for intercollegiate athletic competition in Fall 2012. This will be UCLA's fourth time hosting the NCAA gymnastics championships. The Bruins won the national title the last time they hosted in 2004, scoring an NCAA record 198.125. UCLA also previously hosted in 1998 and 1984.