UCLA's Zamarripa, McCullough win NCAA individual titles
There weren't any to be heard this week.
The Pacific 10 Conference added three more national titles to its haul Saturday as the individual event finals closed out the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
UCLA teammates Vanessa Zamarripa and Brittani McCullough added to Friday's team championship with vault and floor titles, respectively, while Stanford's Carly Janiga won the uneven bars for the second individual title in school history.
LSU's Susan Jackson was the only winner outside the Pac-10 all week, taking home Saturday's balance beam final to go along with Thursday's all-around championship.
The Southeastern Conference had won at least three individual titles every year since 2006, and all six championships last year — the four event titles, the all-around and the team title.
“To be honest with you, we got vault and bars, and then I thought this would be really cool,” Field said. “To the Pac-10 and the other conferences, you can imagine how grating it is when you hear the SEC chant all the time.”
The Pac-10 came close to performing a sweep Saturday, in an SEC city no less. After the Bruins won their first team title since 2004 on Friday, Zamarripa and Janiga won the first two events Saturday.
McCullough added the floor title next, and Janiga was tied for the lead on beam with just one gymnast left.
"I saw Carly go up on the beam, and I was like ‘Yes, we're going to take all four,“’ Field said, “and then I saw Susan go up on the beam and I'm like, ‘OK, maybe not.“’
Jackson put up a 9.9625 on the beam to knock Janiga's 9.8875 to a tie for second with Courtney McCool of Georgia.
“It was probably the most perfect routine I've ever done in my life,” Jackson said, “and I picked a perfect day to do it.”
Either way, it was quite a week for UCLA, which won its 29th and 30th individual NCAA titles Saturday, continuing to sit second all-time behind Georgia (37). UCLA has now won at least two invidiual titles in nine of the last 13 years.
McCullough's 9.9375 on floor set a career high. Hollie Vise of Oklahoma, Sarah Shire of Missouri and Brandi Personett of Penn State tied for second.
Zamarripa, the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year, won the vault with an average of 9.925 after vaults of 9.95 and 9.9. Jackson was second (9.8938) and Mandi Rodriguez of Oregon State (9.8438) was third.
“This is just icing on the cake,” Zamarripa said. “We already won nationals. That's the most important part. Being vault champion is amazing but having a team championship is far much greater.”
In the last meet of her career, Janiga put up a 9.9375 on bars to join Larissa Fontaine (1998, vault) as the only national championships in Cardinal history. Janiga had placed second on bars in last year's event finals. Summer Hubbard of LSU and Oklahoma's Vise tied for second this year (9.925).
“Tonight, Carly was what she's been for Stanford for four years — amazing and an absolute rock for our team and our program,” Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. “She is going to be impossible to replace. I can't think of a better way for her to cap off her career than she did tonight. She is so deserving.”Now it remains to be seen how long the Pac-10's dominance will last.
-- Associated Press
Photo: UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa does a backflip during her balance beam routine at the NCAA championships on Friday. Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press