UCLA Gymnastics Signs Top-Level Recruiting Class

Nov. 15, 2007

UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field announced today the signing of three Level 10 standouts to national letters-of-intent. Joining the Bruins in the fall of 2008 will be Vanessa Zamarripa of Shiloh, IL, Kaelie Baer of Columbus, IN and Tauny Frattone of Lake Forest, CA. Also in next year's freshman class is World Championships medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Toronto, Canada, who signed earlier this year and is deferring enrollment until 2008.

Zamarripa, who trains at Midwest Twisters and attends O'Fallon HS, is one of the most decorated gymnasts in Junior Olympic history, having won the 2007 Senior A national all-around and beam titles, as well as three consecutive Junior national all-around titles from 2002-04. In all, from Level 9 to the Elite level, she has captured 13 individual national titles, along with three silver medals, three bronze medals, a share of four national age group team titles and five national overall team titles. In 2004, Zamarripa won the all-around, vault and uneven bars at the Level 10 National Championships and set a JO national record with a score of 9.825 on vault. Also that year, she won the all-around, vault and beam at the American Challenge and was named the Region V JO Athlete of the Year.

Baer, who comes from DeVeau's School of Gymnastics and attends Columbus East HS, tied for the vault title and placed second in the all-around at the 2007 Level 10 National Championships (Senior B division). She also competed at the 2005 Nationals and had a Top 20 finish at the 2004 Nationals, placing fourth on vault, sixth on beam and 10th on floor. Baer was a Junior National Elite gymnast in 2003 and competed at the American Challenge and National Podium meets. She was also a two-time member of the National TOPs team.

Frattone, a three-time Level 10 National Championships competitor, trains at Olympic Gymnastics Academy and attends El Toro HS. At last year's National Championships, she earned a Top 15 all-around finish and placed fifth on floor in the Senior A division. She won the 2007 State all-around and vault titles and earned bronze medals on bars and floor.

Hopfner-Hibbs is one of the top gymnasts in the world, having won a bronze medal on the balance beam at the 2006 World Championships, the first-ever by a Canadian woman. She is a three-time Canadian national champion, winning the 2006 all-around and floor exercise titles and the 2005 balance beam title. She won multiple medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, capturing gold medals on bars and beam, a silver medal in the all-around and a bronze in the team competition. Last week, she won a silver medal on the balance beam at the Glasgow Grand Prix and is one of the leading candidates to receive one of Canada's two Olympic berths in 2008.

'These four outstanding student-athletes bring diverse and unique qualities to our program,' said Kondos Field. 'All of them are brilliant athletes in their own right. As a group, they will help maintain our program's quest for dynamic, unique and beautiful gymnastics and help keep our program at a level of national prominence.'

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