UCLA Returns To Competition With Home Quad Meet Feb. 15

Feb. 10, 2009

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UCLA Returns To Action In Pauley Pavilion Sunday -- The second-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (4-1) returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 15 with a home quad meet against Washington, 21st-ranked Boise State and Cal State Fullerton. The meet will take place in Pauley Pavilion at 2 pm.

Tickets -- Tickets for the meet can be purchased in advance at the UCLA Central Ticket Office (310/UCLA-WIN or tickets.ucla.edu). 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. UCLA students are free with ID. UCLA Alumni Association members can receive up to four complimentary admissions by showing their UCLA Alumni Association card upon entry at Gate 1.

Live Coverage -- A free video webcast will be available at UCLABruins.com. In addition, an audio 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 also be provided for Sunday's meet. Please check the calendar tab at UCLABruins.com for the live scoring and broadcast links.

Meet Promotions -- UCLA will be celebrating the 80's on Sunday. All fans sporting an 80's look will receive half price admission to the meet. Offer available at the box office on game day only. The meet will feature 80's music and fads of the 80's and other fun contests. Meet program posters, featuring the Bruin sophomores, will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 1,000 fans in attendance.

Honoring The 1984 Champions -- The 1984 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championship team from UCLA will be honored in post-meet festivities as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of UCLA's first-ever gymnastics team title. Team members included 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalists Mitch Gaylord and Tim Daggett, two-time Mexican Olympian Tony Pineda and UCLA Hall of Fame members head coach Art Shurlock and student assistant Peter Vidmar.

The 1984 Bruins won the NCAA title on their own home floor, scoring 287.30 points to run away with the team championship by over a six-point margin. The Bruins also dominated in the all-around, going 1-2-3 in the standings, with Gaylord winning UCLA's third-straight title (Vidmar won the 1982 and 1983 all-around titles), Daggett placing second and Mark Caso placing third. Daggett also won individual titles on parallel bars with a perfect 10 and on rings and pommel horse.

Shortly after winning the 1984 NCAA Championships for UCLA, Gaylord, Daggett and Vidmar continued to win more championships in Pauley Pavilion, leading the U.S. to its first-ever Olympic team gold medal. Vidmar also won a gold medal on the pommel horse and silver in the all-around. Gaylord won four total medals, with team gold, silver on vault and bronze medals on the parallel bars and rings. Daggett added a bronze medal on the pommel horse.

In The Rankings -- UCLA remains at No. 2 for the second consecutive week with a season average of 196.480. The Bruins rank second on vault (49.240) and balance beam (49.060) and fifth on uneven bars (49.115) and floor exercise (49.065).

Individually, senior Ariana Berlin ranks 10th in the all-around with a 39.3, while freshman Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is 22nd with an average of 39.217. Hopfner-Hibbs also ranks tied for fifth on beam with a 9.880 average. Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa returned to the No. 1 spot on vault, averaging 9.915. She is also tied for 16th on bars with Berlin with an average of 9.845. Aisha Gerber ranks third on beam with a 9.890 and 18th on vault with a 9.862. Redshirt sophomore Brittani McCullough ranks tied for 18th on bars (9.842), and sophomore Niki Tom ranks 18th on beam with a 9.842 average.

About The Opponents -- Boise State is the highest-ranked of the three Bruin opponents, checking in at No. 21 with a 194.181 average. Washington ranks 26th (193.960), and Cal State Fullerton is 41st (192.735). The Broncos are led by Taylor Jacob, who ranks eighth in the nation on uneven bars with a 9.869 average. Washington's Ashley Houghting, the 2007 Pac-10 vault co-champion, ranks tied for fifth in the nation on the event.

Bruins Cleared After Virus Forces Cancellation Of Stanford Meet -- The UCLA gymnastics team has been cleared to resume full training and competition after a virus outbreak forced the cancellation of the team's dual meet at Stanford on Feb. 8. The Bruin team was exposed to the norovirus during the weekend of Jan. 30-Feb. 1, with several team members contracting the virus. After test results were obtained, the Los Angeles Center for Public Health confirmed the norovirus diagnosis. Due to the health concerns of the team and the contagious nature of the virus, the Pac-10 Conference cancelled the Bruins' participation in the Stanford meet, upon advisement of UCLA team physicians and public health officials. UCLA's practices were also cancelled for the beginning part of last week, and light training for symptomatic individuals resumed on Feb. 6. All team members are now symptom-free and resumed full training on Feb. 9.

Last Competition -- Behind a winning all-around performance by senior Ariana Berlin, UCLA posted 196.225-193.075 victory over 16th-ranked Arizona State on Jan. 30. Berlin, who was competing in the all-around for the first time this season, won the all-around with a 39.3 and tied her career-high on vault with a 9.9 to tie for first on that event. Sophomore Niki Tom also posted a career-high 9.9 to tie for first on balance beam. UCLA's other event winner was freshman Aisha Gerber, who tied for first on uneven bars with a 9.875.

Berlin's Big Success -- Not only did senior Ariana Berlin win the all-around at ASU in her first all-around attempt this season, but she also accomplished a feat she has been working on for three years - competing an Arabian double front on floor exercise. Berlin performed the E-level skill for the first time in competition and hit it, scoring 9.8 to lead all Bruins on the event. In addition, she earned her first 9.9 of the season, tying her career-best on vault. Berlin has hit all 11 of her routines this season, with nine of those 11 scores going for 9.8 or better. She currently ranks 10th in the nation in the all-around and tied for 16th on bars.

Zamarripa Achieves Perfection -- Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa became the first gymnast in the nation this year to score a perfect 10 on vault with her flawless Yurchenko full vault at Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 23. Zamarripa's 10 was the first by a UCLA gymnast since Kristina Comforte did the same, also at Fullerton, in 2006. Zamarripa is currently tied for first in the nation on vault with a 9.915 average.

Youth Is Served -- With seven freshmen and five sophomores on a 16-member squad, the 2009 Bruins are undoubtedly a young team, and they were 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. Five freshmen saw action on vault - Gerber, Zamarripa, Baer, Tauny Frattone and Pritchett.

The sophomores have come up big as well, hitting 23-of-26 routines in competition for 9.7 or better, including three 9.9s from Mizuki Sato on vault and floor, a 9.9 on beam and 9.875 on floor from Niki Tom, and a pair of 9.8s on beam for Marci Bernholtz. Allison Taylor scored 9.75 on her last exhibition bars performance and had a 9.725 on a floor exhibition at Utah.

Upperclassmen On Their Way Back -- After starting the season limited to no more than one event, the Bruin upperclassmen are on their way back to all-around action. Senior Ariana Berlin went from one event (uneven bars) in the first two meets to all-around action on Jan. 30. Junior Anna Li also did just uneven bars in the first two meets but added balance beam at Cal State Fullerton, scoring 9.85. Redshirt sophomore Brittani McCullough, who performed exhibition routines on vault and bars against Arizona, competed on those two events the last three meets and earned a career-high 9.95 on vault at Fullerton and a career-high 9.925 on bars against Cal.

Berlin's Streak Remains Intact -- Senior Ariana Berlin's streak of consecutive meets has increased to 49 after competing all-around at Arizona State. 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 and has hit over 96% of her routines over her career.

Looking Ahead -- The Bruins will travel to Lincoln, NE on Feb. 22 to face Nebraska, North Carolina State and Minnesota in the Masters Classic. Nebraska is the site of this year's NCAA Championships.

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. The meet will begin promptly at 2 pm, so all pre-meet festivities and entertainment will take place earlier than usual.

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