UCLA Gymnasts Qualify For NCAA Super Six

April 22, 2010

Gainesville, Fla. - UCLA won the afternoon session at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championship, scoring 196.875 to qualify for tomorrow's NCAA Super Six Championships, the Bruins' first trip to the finals since 2007.

The Bruins came from behind to win the meet. At the halfway mark, UCLA was tied for third but used meet-best scores of 49.375 on floor and 49.4 on vault to power ahead of the field in the final two rotations.

Also qualifying for Super Six are Utah, who placed second with 196.625, and Oklahoma, who placed third with 196.550.

UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa tied for third in the all-around in this session with a 39.425, earning first-team All-America honors for the second-straight year. Anna Li and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs earned second-team All-America honors in the all-around. Li qualified for event finals on vault and uneven bars. Zammaripa qualified on vault and floor exercise. Hopfner-Hibbs qualified on vault, and Brittani McCullough qualified on floor exercise.

The Bruins began the meet on uneven bars in rotation two after starting out on a bye. Aisha Gerber kicked off competition with solid score of 9.775, a mark that was matched by Brittani McCullough. Monique De La Torre followed with a 9.825, and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs earned a 9.8. Vanessa Zamarripa's 9.85 and Anna Li's 9.9 rounded out the scoring for the Bruins, whose total of 49.125 put them in first place after one event. Just behind the Bruins were Utah, who scored 49.1 on floor in its first event and Oklahoma and LSU, who each scored 49.0 on their first events.

UCLA moved to balance beam in rotation three, and although the Bruins did not count a fall, they still had a few bobbles that dropped the team's score to 48.975. Li led off with a 9.75, followed by a 9.8 from Hopfner-Hibbs. Niki Tom broke connection on her one-armed handspring/side aerial and repeated the skill successfully and then stuck her double full dismount for a 9.8. Gerber hit the Bruins' top routine of the day with a 9.85. Zamarripa put up a good fight on her routine and scored 9.775.

At the halfway mark, Utah held the lead with a 98.225, followed closely by Oklahoma (98.15) and UCLA and LSU in a two-way tie for third with 98.1. UCLA went to a bye in the fourth rotation, while Utah and Oklahoma continued to battle it out for first, with each team scoring 49.15 on their respective events to keep the standings pat.

UCLA came out for floor exercise in the fifth rotation guns blazing. Tauny Frattone hit a strong routine to lead off, scoring 9.85. Tom drilled all of her tumbling passes and also scored 9.85. Zamarripa earned 9.9, followed by a from Li, whose stumble on her final pass dropped a sure 9.9+ to a 9.825. McCullough kept things going with a career-high tying 9.925, and Hopfner-Hibbs closed with a 9.85, giving UCLA a team total of 49.375 to move slightly ahead of LSU, which scored 49.3 on bars.

Utah finished up in rotation five with a 196.625, leaving UCLA, LSU and Oklahoma to duke it out with the Utes in the final rotation for the three spots in Super Six. UCLA, which was ahead of LSU by .075 and ahead of Oklahoma by .175, needed 49.175 on vault to surpass Utah. De La Torre earned a leadoff 9.85 to set the tone. Li and Hopfner-Hibbs stuck their Yurchenko layout full vaults for 9.9s. Frattone followed with a 9.85. McCullough nearly stuck her vault but took a small step sideways just before saluting and also scored 9.85. Zamarripa closed with a 9.9, and the Bruins got 49.4, more than enough to overtake the Utes for first place.

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