No. 2 UCLA Travels To Cal State Fullerton Friday, Hosts California Sunday

Jan. 21, 2009

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Bruins Compete Twice In Southern California This Week -- The second-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (1-1) competes twice this weekend, traveling to Fullerton for a Friday, Jan. 23 meet at 7 pm against the Cal State Fullerton Titans and hosting California on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion.

Breast Cancer Awareness Meet -- Sunday's meet against California is UCLA's third annual Breast Cancer Awareness meet. The Bruins will wear leotards with pink accents, and fans are also encouraged to wear pink. To aid the cause, official UCLA pink ribbon t-shirts will be on sale outside Gate 2 for $10. Free admission to the meet is included in the purchase of the t-shirt. All proceeds will benefit the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center.

Tickets -- Tickets for the Cal State Fullerton meet can be purchased at the door at Titan Gym or online at for $5. Tickets for Sunday's home meet against California can be purchased in advance at the UCLA Central Ticket Office (310/UCLA-WIN or Adult admission is $12 for lower level seating and $8 for mid-level seating. Youth prices are $10 for the lower-level seats and $6 for mid-level seating For the best value, season tickets in the lower level are available for just $35 for five meets. UCLA students are free with ID.

Meet Promotions -- Pink wristbands will be distributed at the meet to the first 500 fans in attendance. Meet program posters, featuring the freshman class, will also be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Live Coverage -- A free video webcast of Sunday's meet will be available at In addition, an audio-only link will be provided for those unable to view the webcast. Calling the action will be Darren Preston and two-time NCAA all-around champion and 2000 Olympian Tasha Schwikert. Live scoring will be provided for both meets. Please check the calendar tab at for the live scoring and broadcast links.

In The Rankings -- UCLA continued its ascent up the national rankings, climbing up one more spot to No. 2 in the team rankings with an average of 196.225. The Bruins rank third on beam, fourth on vault and floor and 10th on bars. Freshman Aisha Gerber is tied for second in the nation on beam (9.912) and is tied for 14th on vault (9.862) with sophomore Mizuki Sato, who is also ranked 13th on floor (9.862). Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa ranks tied for fifth on vault (9.9), and classmate Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is tied for 13th on beam (9.862). Junior Anna Li (10th, 9.862) and senior Ariana Berlin (23rd, 9.837) are both ranked on bars.

About The Titans -- Cal State Fullerton (1-1) is coming off a season-high mark of 192.275 set Jan. 16 in a dual meet win over Southern Utah. The Titans are led by sophomore Alaina Baker, who ranks sixth in the nation on floor exercise with a season average of 9.875. Baker has won the floor exercise in the last two meets.

The Series With Cal State Fullerton -- UCLA holds a 45-27 regular season record against Cal State Fullerton, with the Bruins winning the last nine meets, including two last season. Fullerton's last win in the series came in 2004.

About The Golden Bears -- California (0-4) holds a season-high of 186.65 and is averaging 185.95 after two meets. The Golden Bears have been competing short-handed due to injuries and have competed the maximum six athletes on an event just twice in eight rotations.

The Series With California -- UCLA holds a 51-1 regular season record against California, with the only loss coming on Mar. 2, 1985 in a quad meet at Arizona State. The Bruins won last year's dual meet in Berkeley, 195.225-189.425.

Last Week -- With career-high marks on 16 of 24 routines, UCLA defeated Arizona in the Bruins' home opener Jan. 18, 196.375-193.675. All six Bruin competitors scored career-best marks on floor exercise. Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa led all competitors with a career-high 39.4 in the all-around, and sophomore Mizuki Sato posted wins on vault and floor with career-best marks of 9.9 on each event. Anna Li won the uneven bars with a season-best 9.875, and Aisha Gerber won beam for the second-straight meet, scoring a career-high 9.925.

Zamarripa Named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week -- Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa earned her first weekly conference honor, being named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for Jan. 12-19. Zamarripa won the first of what is sure to many all-around competitions, scoring a career-high 39.4 in the Bruins' 196.375-193.675 dual meet victory over Arizona. The freshman from O'Fallon, IL tied or set career-highs on all four events. She matched her career-high with a 9.9 on vault to tie for first place and set new top marks on uneven bars (9.85, second place), balance beam (9.825, fourth place) and floor exercise (9.825, tied for fourth place).

Youth Is Served -- With seven freshmen and five sophomores on a 16-member squad, the 2009 Bruins are undoubtedly a young team, and they have been put to the test immediately, with the underclassmen holding 22 of the 24 slots in the competitive lineup in the first two meets of the season.

The freshman class alone competed 16 of the 24 routines in the season opener. Two freshmen competed in the all-around at Utah - Aisha Gerber, who placed third in the all-around and won the balance beam, and Vanessa Zamarripa, who placed fourth in the all-around and third on vault. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs competed on three events and earned a third-place finish on beam. Kaelie Baer hit 3-for-3 on her routines, scoring 9.8 on vault, 9.775 on beam and 9.75 on floor. Alyssa Pritchett had a successful showing as well, scoring 9.8 on vault as a last-minute substitute for Ariana Berlin. Five freshmen saw action on vault - Gerber, Zamarripa, Baer, Tauny Frattone and Pritchett.

The sophomores have come up big so far, hitting 13-of-13 routines for 9.725 or better, including a pair of 9.9s from Mizuki Sato against Arizona, a 9.875 on floor and 9.85 on beam for Niki Tom, and a pair of 9.8s on beam for Marci Bernholtz. Allison Taylor has scored 9.725 on a pair of exhibition performances - on floor at Utah and on bars against Arizona.

Upperclassmen Nursing Injuries -- The Bruin upperclassmen entered the season rehabbing injuries and will be limited in action to start. Senior Ariana Berlin (bone bruise in her knee) was limited to uneven bars only in the first two meets, as was junior Anna Li, who had bone spurs removed in the fall. Redshirt sophomore Brittani McCullough also underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in her ankle and is being eased back into competition. She performed exhibition routines against Arizona on vault (9.65 on a Yurchenko layout) and bars (9.8). Senior Melissa Chan had the same surgery in December and is out indefinitely. Berlin, Li and McCullough are expected to compete on more events this weekend.

Berlin's Streak Remains Intact -- Senior Ariana Berlin's streak of consecutive meets has increased to 46 after her performance on the uneven bars against Arizona. Berlin, who joined the UCLA squad in 2006 as a walk-on who had not competed in five years, has competed in every meet of her collegiate career.

Looking Ahead -- The Bruins travel to Tempe, Ariz. to take on Arizona State in a Pac-10 Conference matchup on Friday, Jan. 30. The meet will take place at Wells Fargo Arena at 7:30 pm MT. UCLA Alumna and four-time NCAA champion Jamie Dantzscher is in her first year as an assistant coach at Arizona State.

UCLA-Georgia Meet On Live TV -- UCLA's Mar. 8 home meet against four-time defending NCAA champion Georgia will be broadcast live on FSN Prime Ticket.

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