Jan. 25, 2012
UCLA Travels To Seattle For Friday Meet -- The top-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (3-0, 2-0 in Pac-12) resumes conference action on Friday, Jan. 27 with a dual meet at 22nd-ranked Washington (1-2, 0-1). The meet will take place at Hec Edmundson Pavilion at 7pm.
In the Rankings -- UCLA is back at No. 1 in the national rankings after dropping from No. 1 to No. 7 last week. The Bruins are tied for first with Arkansas with a season average of 196.775 and remain No. 1 on vault with an average of 49.542. Additionally, the Bruins moved up to No. 2 on bars (49.217), No. 3 on beam (49.067) and No. 10 on floor (48.950).
Individually, Samantha Peszek ranks fourth in the all-around (39.467 average), seventh on vault (9.908), sixth on beam (9.883) and 18th on floor (9.858). Vanessa Zamarripa leads four Bruins in the Top 7 on vault, ranking third with a 9.93 average. Peszek, Olivia Courtney and Tauny Frattone are tied for seventh (9.908), and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is tied for 19th (9.875). Three Bruins are ranked in the Top 13 on bars - Zamarripa at No. 7 (9.867) and Aisha Gerber and Olivia Courtney at No. 13 (9.858). Gerber and Zamarripa join Peszek in the Top 25 on beam, ranking 16th (9.842) and 22nd (9.825), respectively.
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.
About the Huskies -- Friday's meet is Washington's first at home this year. The Huskies opened the season with three straight road meets and went 1-2 in those contests, improving on their team score in each meet. Washington's season-high of 195.725 was set last Sunday at Stanford in a narrow loss by two-tenths of a point. The Huskies rank 22nd overall, 11th on beam, 18th on bars and 20th on vault.
UCLA holds a 53-2 overall regular season record against Washington. The Bruins have won 17 straight matchups, with Washington's last victory coming in a dual meet in Seattle on Feb. 27, 2004.
Bruins Score National-Best 197.575 in Win over SJSU -- UCLA 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 Jan. 22. 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.
Peszek Wins Second Pac-12 Gymnast of Week Award -- For the second time in three weeks, sophomore Samantha Peszek was selected the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week. Peszek was honored after scoring a career-high 39.5 to win her third-straight all-around title. Peszek was also first on balance beam with a score of 9.9 and scored 9.875 on her other three events to place second on floor, fourth on and fifth on bars. Through three meets this year, she has averaged 39.476 in the all-around and has scored 9.875 or higher on seven of her 12 routines, with no score under 9.775.
Bruins Collecting Stash of Pac-12 Weekly Awards -- UCLA gymnasts have won four of the first six Pac-12 Gymnastics weekly awards. Samantha Peszek has been named the Gymnast of the Week twice in three weeks, while Bruin vaulters Tauny Frattone and Vanessa Zamarripa won the first two Special Performance of the Week awards. Zamarripa has a total of 11 weekly conference awards (six Special Performance, five Gymnast of the Week) in her career. Frattone has three Special Performance of the Week awards, and Peszek has two Gymnast of the Week and one Special Performance of the Week award in her career.
Vault Powerhouse -- UCLA's vault lineup has proven to be the best in the nation this season. The Bruins are averaging 49.542 on the event and have scored 49.5 or better in each meet. Five Bruin vaulters are ranked in the Top 25 nationally, with four in the Top 7 - No. 3 Vanessa Zamarripa (9.933 average) and No. 7 Samantha Peszek, Olivia Courtney and Tauny Frattone (9.908). Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is tied for 19th with a 9.875 average. All seven Bruins who have vaulted this season are averaging over 9.825. Mattie Larson averages 9.863, and Kaelie Baer averages 9.833.
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. UCLA has not counted a vault score lower than 9.85 so far, with each dropped score being 9.8 or higher.
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 12 consecutive meets and in 23 of 28 meets in her career. She has never scored lower than 9.8 on vault and holds a career average of 9.921. She has also hit 50 consecutive routines in team competition.
Peszek a Model of Consistency -- Sophomore Samantha Peszek won the all-around for the third consecutive meet, scoring a career-best 39.5 vs. San Jose State. Peszek has been the model of consistency thus far in 2012, hitting all 12 routines and scoring 39.45 or better in the all-around each time. 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 - 9.925 on vault and beam and 9.875 on floor.
Senior Strength -- UCLA's senior class of Kaelie Baer, Tauny Frattone, Aisha Gerber and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs have been the Bruins' rocks this season, providing strong performances and leadership. Baer scored a career-high 9.875 on vault to pave the way for a national-best 49.575 at Cal. Frattone's career-high-tying 9.95 led the way against Utah and San Jose State. Gerber's leadoff 9.9 on beam at Cal guided UCLA to a season-high 49.55 on the event, and her meet-high 9.9 on bars vs. San Jose State led UCLA to a season-high mark of 49.4 on the event. Hopfner-Hibbs led the way on beam and floor at Cal with scores of 9.925 and 9.9, respectively, and she tied her career-high on floor vs. San Jose State to lead UCLA to a national season-high 197.575.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA hosts No. 12 Stanford on Feb. 5 in a pre-Super Bowl contest at the Wooden Center at 12:30 pm. The first 50 fans dressed in their super action hero finest will receive a special gift when you stop by the "Enter to Win" table in the lobby.