April 4, 2012
NCAA Regionals -- Third-ranked UCLA (17-2-1) will travel to the University of Arkansas for the 2012 NCAA Fayetteville Regionals. At stake is one of two berths in the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships. The Regional meet will take place at Barnhill Arena on Saturday, Apr. 7 at 4 pm CT. Also competing in the meet are No. 10 Arkansas, No. 15 Boise State, No. 19 Missouri, No. 29 New Hampshire, and No. 34 Maryland.
Coverage -- Arkansas will host live stats and a free live video broadcast at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Rotation Order -- The Bruins will begin the regional meet on uneven bars then will move to balance beam, then a bye, floor exercise, and vault. UCLA will sit out the last rotation on a bye. Missouri begins on vault, Boise State begins on a bye before bars, New Hampshire begins on beam, Arkansas is on a bye before floor, and Maryland begins on floor.
Regional Championship History -- The Bruins have won 19 regional titles, including the last two. At last year's Regionals, UCLA dominated the competition, winning with a score of 197.425 and scoring 49.4 or better on three events. Host team Georgia also qualified for NCAAs with a second-place score of 196.75. Olivia Courtney won the all-around with a career-high 39.5, and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs was a close second, scoring 39.475.
A Look At The Regional Field -- Arkansas (11-12) is the No. 2 seed in the Regional and is ranked No. 10 in the nation. The Razorbacks had a scintillating start to the season, ranking No. 1 for the first time in program history on Jan. 23 (tied for first with UCLA) but have been decimated with injuries as of late. At the SEC Championships, Arkansas placed sixth with a score of 194.175. Razorback senior Jamie Pisani won the balance beam title and was second on floor and in the all-around at the SECs. Pisani ranks No. 1 in the nation in the all-around and on floor exercise. Arkansas co-head coach Mark Cook was an assistant coach at UCLA when the Bruins won their first NCAA Championship in 1997.
Boise State (10-4) is the No. 3 seed at the regional and ranks 15th nationally. The Broncos average 195.616 on the year with a high of 196.850 achieved Mar. 16 against Southern Utah. Boise State is led by Brittany Potvin-Green,who has five all-around wins this season and set the No. 2 all-around mark in school history with a 39.6 in the Broncos' last meet. Potvin-Green ranks 21st nationally on vault. No. 4 seed Missouri (9-7-1) is coming off a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships. Senior Mary Burke was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, and freshman Freshman Rachel Updike earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors. UCLA defeated both Boise State and Missouri at the IGI/Chicago Style Classic on Feb. 10, scoring 196.850 while Boise State scored 196.025 and Missouri placed third with 195.525. Rounding out the field are No. 5 seed New Hampshire (14-10) and No. 6 seed Maryland (17-12).
In the Rankings -- UCLA moved up one spot to No. 3 in the national rankings after posting 197.425 at the Pac-12 Championships. The Bruins finished the regular season with a RQS of 197.270. The Bruins finished first on vault (49.510), fifth on bars (49.285) third on beam (49.290) and second on floor (49.350).
For the third time in her career, Vanessa Zamarripa ended the regular season ranked first in the nation on vault (9.935). She is joined in the Top 10 on vault by Olivia Courtney and Tauny Frattone, who are tied for seventh with a RQS of 9.920. On uneven bars, two Bruins are in the Top 25 - Aisha Gerber (No. 13, 9.890) and Zamarripa (No. 24, 9.875). Samantha Peszek and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs are ranked in the Top 15 on beam, with Peszek No. 9 (9.890) and Hopfner-Hibbs No. 14 (9.885). On floor exercise, Hopfner-Hibbs ranks fourth (9.920), and Olivia Courtney ranks 22nd (9.885).
Bruins Win Pac-12 Championship -- In a championship-caliber meet befitting the Conference of Champions, UCLA battled back to claim the first-ever Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship. The top-seeded Bruins came from behind on balance beam in the final rotation to total 197.425, outscoring second-place and host team Utah (197.375), third-place Oregon State (197.025) and fourth-place Stanford(196.825).
Stanford held the lead for each of the first three rotations before falling out of contention during the fourth and final rotation. The Bruins kept close throughout the meet and showed tremendous grace under pressure in the final rotation, scoring 49.375 on beam to overtake Stanford and hold off a surging Utah, who scored 49.525 on floor. Senior Aisha Gerber led off with a season-high-tying 9.9 to get the Bruins going on the right course, but a pair of falls from Olivia Courtney put pressure on the rest of the team to hit. And hit they did. After Mattie Larson's 9.7, Vanessa Zamarripa hit for a season-high 9.95. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs earned a pair of perfect 10s and finished with a final score of 9.975. And Samantha Peszek rebounded from a scary fall on bars to score 9.85 and clinch the victory for UCLA.
Three Bruins Win Pac-12 Titles -- Olivia Courtney and Vanessa Zamarripa each won their second career Pac-12 vault titles, tying for first on the event with scores of 9.95. Courtney previously won in 2011, and Zamarripa won in 2010. Senior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs also claimed her second career Pac-12 title, adding a beam title to her 2011 floor crown. Hopfner-Hibbs tied the Pac-12 Championship record with a score of 9.975. Bruin gymnasts now have 80 individual Pac-12/10 titles, twice as many as any other school in the conference.
Kondos Field Honored as Pac-12 Coach of the Year -- UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field was honored by her peers as the 2012 Pac-12 Gymnastics Coach of the Year. This is her fourth career award. She was previously honored in 1995, 2000 and 2003. This season, Kondos Field led UCLA to its 17th conference title and a No. 3 national ranking headed into the NCAA Regionals. The Bruins recorded a national-high 198.050 team score in a win over Arizona State on Feb. 26, the highest score by a UCLA team since 2004 and the first 198 score nation-wide in three years.
Seven Bruins Earn All-Conference Honors -- A conference-best seven members of the Pac-12 Champion UCLA Gymnastics squad were named to the 2012 Pac-12 All-Conference team. UCLA totaled a Pac-12 best eight honors - first-team selections Olivia Courtney (vault, floor), Tauny Frattone (vault), Aisha Gerber (bars), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (beam) and Vanessa Zamarripa (vault) and second-team honorees Samantha Peszek (beam) and Alyssa Pritchett (floor).