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UCLA Gymnastics Wins Fayetteville NCAA Regional; Advance to NCAA Championships

UCLA prepares to march out at Regionals.  From <a href="" target="new">UCLA Gymnastics Twitter</a>
UCLA prepares to march out at Regionals. From UCLA Gymnastics Twitter

Congratulations are once again in order to the third ranked UCLA Gymnastics team, as they won their NCAA Regional for the 28th time in program history, with a team score of 197.225. Host school Arkansas placed second with a team score of 196.825. Both schools advance to the NCAA Championships in Duluth, GA on April 20-22nd.

Congratulations are also due to Samantha Peszek and Vanessa Zamarripa, who came in second and third respectively in the all-around with scores of 39.6 (a career high) and 39.55. Peszek missed winning the all-around by only .025.

Overall, the team won three of the four events on the day, and came in second on the bars.

Looking at the individual event scores, UCLA had a tough start on the bars when Monique de la Torre had a 8.975 to start the event. According to UCLA's Gymnastics Twitter, she went over on two of her handstands, causing her to drop on the second. (I haven't seen the routine, but I'm going to assume that as she went up to the handstand position on top of the high bar, she couldn't stop to come to the hand stand, and wound up going over, losing points as she didn't properly complete the element.) The pressure was on for UCLA to hit the remaining five routines, and they delivered, as Olivia Courtney followed up with a 9.825 and Vanessa Zamarripa delivering with a 9.9 to solidify the overall team score. UCLA's score was a 49.075 on the bars, and they were able to drop de la Torre's score (you can drop the lowest score in the team event.)

The team was solid on the remaining apparatuses, as each gymnast scored a 9.7 or above the rest of the night. The Bruins went 6 for 6 on the beam - a house of horrors for the team last year, but has improved greatly this year - as they stuck the landings on their first five routines. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs and Peszek led the team with scores of 9.95 and 9.90.

The Bruins then moved to the floor, where the team gets a chance to show their personality, and once again UCLA went 6 for 6, as Tauny Frattone led off with a 9.825, a solid start and Olivia Courtney and Peszek both scored 9.9's. Hopfner-Hibbs sealed the deal on the floor with a 9.950.

The meet ended for the Bruins on the vault, their strongest event. All of UCLA's scores were 9.825 and above, with Kaelie Bear leading off with a solid 9.825 and Zamarripa finishing the rotation with a 9.9. Courtney scored a 9.925 but Peszek is the one who starred in this rotation, with a score of 9.95 and sticking her landing cold for a career high on vault.

UCLA assistant coach Radny Lane was named the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Congrats!

We now wait for the pairings to be announced for the NCAA Championships. GO BRUINS.