UCLA women advance to gymnastics team final

UCLA’s top-ranked women’s gymnastics team won the afternoon session at the NCAA championships in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday, moving the Bruins into Friday’s Super Six team final.

Utah and Oklahoma placed second and third and also advanced. Alabama, Florida and Stanford qualified by finishing 1-2-3 in the evening session.

UCLA was tied for third place halfway through the events but used meet-best scores in its final two disciplines — floor exercise and vault — to forge ahead. The Bruins’ winning score was 196.875. Utah came in at 196.625 and Oklahoma at 196.550. Alabama finished with a score of 196.85, Florida scored 196.775 and Stanford had 196.3.

Sophomore Vanessa Zamarripa tied for third in the session’s all-around competition and qualified for Saturday’s individual championships in the vault and floor exercise. Other UCLA gymnasts to qualify as individuals were senior Anna Li in the vault and uneven bars, sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs in the vault, and junior Brittani McCullough in the floor exercise.

McCullough had a career-high tying mark of 9.925 in the floor exercise, and Zamarripa had 9.9s in the floor exercise and vault to fuel UCLA’s rally.

UCLA is making its 26th championships appearance — its first since 2007 — and has won five national titles.