Your #6 UCLA Bruins Gymnastics team finish their three meet road portion of the schedule on Friday at #4 Alabama. The meet starts at 5:30pm UCLA time and will be streamed live via rolltide.com. The Bruins dropped one spot in the rankings this week, from #5 last week, and RQS rankings will be used from here on out to determine rankings. (What are RQS rankings? Why I'm glad you asked. The Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) is a formula which takes a team's top three road scores, its next three highest scores home or away, drops the high score and averages the remaining five.)
This is the third straight week UCLA will be going up against a top 15 team, and it will be a fight for the Bruins against Alabama.
Alabama is the two time defending NCAA champion. The Bruins finished second to Alabama in 2011, behind by 0.275 points. It will be a meet between two teams with serious hardware, as each team has six NCAA titles, and these two teams hold the last three titles. The last time the Bruins beat Alabama was in 2001. The last time the Bruins were in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Alabama won 197.225-196.475.
Alabama is currently ranked #4 in the nation, with an average RQS score of 196.810. They are currently ranked third in the nation on the vault, fourth on the floor and sixth on uneven bars and beam. Interestingly, Alabama does not have an individual gymnast ranked in the top 25, but that is because their top all-around gymnast, Kim Jacob, has not competed in enough meets for her scores to qualify, but if she did, she's probably be around 15th in the country. Jacob is currently ranked fifth in the country on the floor, with a RQS score of 9.905. This doesn't mean Alabama isn't a good team - it means they are ridiculously deep with quality gymnasts. The other Alabama gymnasts to watch are Sarah DeMeo, ranked 7th in the country on uneven bars, and Diandra Milliner, ranked 7th on the vault.
Alabama is currently 4-2-1, coming off a tie with Arkansas, each team scoring 197.10.
If the Bruins can score in the 197 range they scored last week in a loss at Oklahoma, this will be a very close meet. 3 losses in a row is not devastating, but not a way to head into the latter part of your season.
Vanessa Zamarripa rocks
Vanessa Zamarripa is still the #1 ranked gymnast in the country with an average score of 39.590, almost a full tenth of a point over Taylor Spears from Oklahoma. She is ranked 6th on the vault, fifth on the uneven bars, and tied for first in the country on the floor.
Video of the week:
Here's this week's Sam Peszek interview with Coach Val. This week's topics: life lessons from Oklahoma (it's about selflessness), the potential of this team (and she acknowledges that our 9.7s and 9.8s need to be 9.9s), what to expect against Alabama, and Coach's Val's rules(such as Kate Richardson chattering all night and the only time she had curfew on her team on road trips.) Her most famous rule: Coach Val does not allow her team to chew gum. She thinks it's disgusting when people chew gum during interviews.
I agree with you, Miss Val.