UCLA Freshman Samantha Peszek Wins NCAA Beam Title
April 17, 2011
UCLA freshman Samantha Peszek won the balance beam title, scoring 9.9 to become the Bruins' sixth NCAA beam champion and first since Kristen Maloney in 2005. UCLA now has 31 NCAA individual championships, second-most amongst all schools.
Peszek was the seventh of 10 competitors on beam. She upgraded her routine and added a standing full and is believed to be the first student-athlete ever to compete that skill in NCAA competition.
"I'm kind of new to the college scene so this is completely different, and I loved every moment of it," said Peszek. "I had so much fun out there competing, and I'm kind of sad the weekend is ending. To speak for all the Bruins, we are so proud to accomplish everything we have this season to start out where we did and to end up as great and as put together as a team as we were, I'm so proud. And to end with the beam title is amazing. I feel great. I worked really hard on beam. It's my favorite event, and it's exciting for me to finish like this."
Bruin junior Aisha Gerber tied for second on the event with Alabama's Kayla Hoffman, scoring 9.8875 with a graceful and artistic routine.
Defending NCAA floor champion Brittani McCullough came up just shy of first place, tying for second with Florida's Maranda Smith and Michigan's Kylee Botterman. McCullough's sole deduction came with a step forward on her middle pass, but her full-in opening pass and double tuck last pass had huge amplitude and power, and she was rewarded with a 9.9. Alabama's Geralen Stack-Eaton won floor with a score of 9.9375.
McCullough also competed on vault and stuck her first vault, a Yurchenko layout full for a 9.9125. She sat down on her second vault, a Yurchenko 1.5, however, dropping her average to 9.6125, good for 16th place. McCullough was one just four gymnasts who did two 10.0 start-valued vaults in the competition. Florida's Marissa King won the title with a 9.875 average.
UCLA had two competitors on uneven bars. Sophomore Monique De La Torre performed a beautiful bar routine, highlighted by a hop full, Geinger and a stuck double layout dismount. She scored 9.8625, which ended up being good for a tie for third place Her scores ranged from 9.8 to 9.95 on the six-judge panel. Junior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs also had a great routine, highlighted by a well-executed Markelov, but stepped forward on the dismount, scoring 9.75 and finishing in 14th place.
The Bruins end their season with a second-place national team finish, a beam national championship, four Top 3 individual finishes and 14 All-America honors.
CLick for Bruin Video