UCLA Gymnastics Wins Los Angeles Regional To Qualify For NCAA Championships
April 10, 2010
Los Angeles, CA - UCLA had a dominating performance Saturday evening in Pauley Pavilion, scoring 197.825 to win the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Championships and qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held Apr. 22-24 in Florida. Also qualifying for the NCAA Championships was second-place Arkansas, who scored 196.675. Arizona (195.100), Iowa State (194.325), Arizona State (193.900) and BYU (193.400) rounded out the field.
Bruin senior Anna Li provided the night's top highlight, scoring her second consecutive perfect 10 on the uneven bars. She also scored a career-high 39.65 in the all-around to place second to sophomore teammate Vanessa Zamarripa (39.675). UCLA sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs tied for third with Arkansas' Casey Jo Magee with a career-high 39.6.
UCLA led from the get-go, posting a team score of 49.425 on the floor exercise to start the meet. The Bruins had four 9.9+ scores to close the set, with back-to-back 9.9s from Zamarripa and Li, a meet-winning 9.925 from Brittani McCullough and another 9.9 from Hopfner-Hibbs.
The Bruins kept it up on vault with four more 9.9+ marks. After Monique De La Torre led off with a career-high tying 9.85, the Bruins stuck three-straight vaults. Li was the first with a near-perfect 9.95 to set a new career-best. Hopfner-Hibbs also stuck her vault, scoring 9.925. Tauny Frattone stuck her difficult Yurchenko half-on, front pike off vault for a 9.9. And after McCullough hit a 9.825, Zamarripa finished the set with a 9.925, bringing UCLA's team total to a season-high 49.55.
At the halfway mark, UCLA led with a two-event total of 98.975, ahead of second-place Arkansas' 98.225. With UCLA on a bye in the fourth rotation, Arkansas recorded a 49.4 on uneven bars to keep within striking distance of the Bruins. But UCLA answered in rotation five with a season-high tying 49.55 on bars, led by Li's perfect 10, her second consecutive on the event. Zamarripa also earned a career-high with a 9.975, and Hopfner-Hibbs, who was competing on bars for the first time since the first meet of the year, set a new career-high with a 9.925.
Arkansas ended its meet in the fifth rotation with a 49.05 on beam for a final total of 196.675, putting itself in a prime qualifying spot.
UCLA finished its meet in the sixth rotation on beam and nailed routine after routine, all scoring 9.8 or better. After leadoff scores of 9.8 from Li and three straight 9.85s from Hopfner-Hibbs, Niki Tom and Aisha Gerber, Zamarripa clinched the Bruin victory with a 9.875. Mizuki Sato's 9.875 in the anchor spot improved the Bruins' event score to 49.3 and their final team total to 197.825, the best in all six regionals around the country.
"I just think it's a testament to our team that for the second week in a row we've had the highest score in the country," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "You don't have consistency like that unless you prepare well. Our goal every year is to prepare so well that we can go to championship meets, have fun, but be calm and confident and not worry about anything. That's exactly the place that we are at right now. There were a few bumps in the road along the way to get here, but it looks like we we're right on track."
Also qualifying to the NCAA Championships were all-around competitors Michelle Browning of Iowa State (39.15) and Mary Atkinson of Arizona State (39.075), who were the top two all-arounders not from a qualifying team.
Additionally, West Region Division I awards were announced at the meet, and UC Davis' John Lavalee was named head coach of the year. UCLA Assistant Head Coach Chris Waller was selected the assistant coach of the year, and UCLA Senior Associate Athletic Director Petrina Long was named the Administrator of the Year.
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