Bruin Gymnasts Have Podium Finishes At NCAA Gymnastics Event Finals

April 18, 2009

Lincoln, Neb. - UCLA wrapped up competition at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships with podium finishes at the Individual Event Finals. Senior Ariana Berlin tied for fifth on uneven bars, freshman Vanessa Zamarripa tied for sixth on floor and eighth on vault, and redshirt sophomore Brittani McCullough finished eighth on floor.

Zamarripa was the fourth competitor of the night on vault. The nation's top-ranked vaulter had scored three perfect 10s on vault during the season, but with event finals requiring two different vaults, Zamarripa did not have two 10.0 start value vaults. She performed a Yurchenko layout full, worth a 10.0, for her first vault and had impeccable form, height and distance but took a hop back for a 9.8875. Her second vault was a Yurchenko layout, valued at 9.8. She once again got huge height and distance with a good landing for a 9.675, giving her a final average of 9.7813. She finished tied for eighth behind champion Ashleigh Clare-Kearney of LSU, who averaged 9.9.

On uneven bars, Berlin, competing in her first-ever event finals, was the 16th and last competitor on uneven bars and needed to score 9.95 to match leader Courtney Kupets of Georgia. Berlin hit her elements, including a piked Jaeger, and stuck her full-in dismount to score 9.8875, good for a tie for fifth place.

Zamarripa was UCLA's lone competitor on balance beam, and after a few wobbles, she finished 11th with a 9.7625. Kupets won with a 9.9875.

UCLA had two competitors finish on the podium on floor exercise - Zamarripa, who tied for sixth, and McCullough who finished eighth. Zamarripa was fourth up on floor exercise and scored 9.8625. She nearly stepped out of bounds on her double pike middle pass but covered beautifully to not only save the out of bounds but minimize the deduction with what the judges could have perceived as a choreographed move. McCullough had the biggest crowd response of the entire competition, with the whole arena clapping along to her routine. She hit her double pike mount, front full/front layout, but was a little short on her double tuck dismount, scoring 9.85.

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