Jan. 28, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

SOMETHING’S BRUIN: A pair of UCLA freshmen gymnasts sparked the Bruins to victories against Cal State Fullerton and California last weekend, and were rewarded with a sweep of the Pac-10 Women’s Gymnastics weekly honors.

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs was named Gymnast of the Week after winning an all-around and five individual events during the two meets.  The native of Toronto, Ontario, and a 2008 Olympian, scored a 39.525 to claim the all-around against the Titans, while capturing the beam (9.925), floor exercise (9.9) and bars (9.85).  She followed it up with first place on the beam and floor exercise with a pair of 9.9 scores, and took third place in the all-around competition against the Bears.  Hopfner-Hibbs currently ranks sixth nationally on the beam with a 9.887 average.

After earning last week’s Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week nod, Vanessa Zamarripa continued her successful rookie season by scoring the first perfect 10 on the vault by a gymnast this season.  The native of O’Fallon, Ill., hit the perfect mark against Cal State Fullerton last Friday, and garnered Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week for her accomplishment.  She has won three vault titles in three straight meets, and ranks first in the nation with a season average score of 9.925.

TWICE AS NICE:  Georgia’s Courtney Kupets not only nailed a perfect 10 in the Gym Dogs’ win over Alabama on Jan. 23, but the All-American achieved the feat twice in the same meet.

The native of Athens, Ga., scored a 10 on the uneven bars and beam to become the ninth gymnast in school history to record perfect scores in the same meet.  She has three 10s in her career, and all have come against the Tide.  Kupets also registered a 9.95 on floor exercise and 9.875 on vault to win those events, and claimed the all-around with a 39.825 for the fourth-best score in school history.  She was named Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week for her performance.

Kupets leads the nation with an all-around with a season average of 39.631, and paces the nation on the bars with a 9.969 season average.

LOOKING SHARP: Arkansas set a school record with a total score of 196.900 as the Razorbacks upended then-No. 1 Florida on Jan. 23 for the first time in school history with the help of career-highs by freshman Jaime Pisani.

The native of Ringwood, N.J., tied for first place with a 9.9 on the vault, and took second place on the floor with a 9.925, finishing with a total of 39.350 for third place in the all-around.  All three scores were career-highs, while Arkansas also set a school record with a 49.375 on the floor.

Pisani was selected SEC Freshman of the Week for her contributions – the first Razorback gymnast to earn the honor since 2007.

NOTABLE:  UC Davis recorded a season-best score of 191.050 to down Air Force in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation competition last week.  Junior Tanya Ho won the uneven bars and balance beam, as well as the all-around, to spark the Aggies to victory.  She was named MPSF Gymnast of the Week for her efforts … Penn State junior Brandi Personett registered a career-best to win the all-around with a score of 39.575, in addition to claiming four individual titles as the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State in Big Ten action on Jan. 24.  The all-around score was the seventh-highest in Penn State history.  Personett, a native of Katy, Texas, notched three season-high marks, while her 9.875 on the bars matched her career-best.  She was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for the fifth time in her career following the meet … Nebraska’s Kylie Stone won her third straight all-around competition with a season-best score of 39.35 as the Huskers topped then-No. 12 Missouri last weekend.  The junior from Calgary, Alberta, also finished first on the uneven bars (9.875) and floor exercise (9.90), earning Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honors for the third time in her career.