Jan. 22, 2012
The seventh-ranked UCLA Gymnastics team put together its most complete performance of the year, scoring a season-best 197.575 to defeat San Jose State by over four points on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins counted no score lower than 9.825 and had season-bests on bars (49.4) and floor (49.4).
Sophomore Samantha Peszek won the all-around for the third consecutive meet, recording a career-high 39.5, and the Bruins swept the event titles, with Tauny Frattone tying her career high to win vault (9.95), Olivia Courtney and Aisha Gerber scoring season-best 9.9s to tie for first on bars, Peszek winning beam (9.9) and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs winning floor with a career-high tying 9.95.
UCLA had yet another outstanding start on vault, racking up five scores of 9.875 or higher to total 49.5, its third 49.5+ team score in as many meets. Kaelie Baer started with a 9.8, followed by a 9.875 by Hopfner-Hibbs and a 9.9 on a stuck vault by Courtney. Frattone also stuck another vault, scoring 9.95 for the second time in three meets this season. Peszek earned 9.875, and Vanessa Zamarripa closed with a 9.9. San Jose State scored 48.125 on uneven bars, led by a 9.85 by Thomasina Wallace.
The Bruins continued their high scoring on bars in rotation two. After a 9.8 leadoff by Monique De La Torre, Gerber delivered a 9.9, and Mattie Larson contributed a 9.875. Peszek earned 9.85, followed by a 9.875 by Zamarripa. Courtney closed the rotation with a 9.9 to tie with Gerber for first-place on the event. San Jose State, meanwhile, scored 48.375 on vault, led by a 9.725 from Cassandra Harrison.
UCLA earned five 9.8+ routines on beam in the third rotation to score 49.275. Gerber kicked things off with a 9.825, followed by a 9.875 by Lichelle Wong. A 9.825 by Zamarripa, a 9.85 by Hopfner-Hibbs and a meet-high 9.9 by Peszek ensured that the Bruins wouldn't have to count a fall. With San Jose State scoring 48.575 on floor, led by Wallace's 9.8, the Bruins opened up a 148.175-145.075 lead heading into the final rotation.
With a 197 team score well in sight, the Bruins attacked floor exercise with panache, producing six routines that each scored 9.775 and higher. Gerber started with a 9.775, and Frattone and Wong produced back-to-back 9.85s. With the momentum building, Courtney and Peszek each recorded marks of 9.875 to push UCLA well over 197, and Hopfner-Hibbs closed with a career-high-tying 9.95 to give UCLA the nation's top mark so far this season and the Bruins' highest score in January since scoring 197.85 at Georgia in 2004. The Spartans finished up on beam with a score of 48.125, with high marks going to Wallace (9.825) and Julia Greer (9.775).
"This is what we've been waiting for," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "This is basically what we do all the time in workout. This is just normal for us. Normal for us should be around 49.5 on every event, and if we can keep doing this, keep getting in the groove and improve little things and stay healthy, I think we're right on track."
Peszek, UCLA's only all-around performer, remains undefeated in the all-around this year, winning for the third-straight meet (career-best 39.5). Wallace was second with a 39.175, and Harrison was third with a 38.675.
UCLA will next face Washington in Seattle on Friday, Jan. 27.