Mattie Larson - Thanks to 805Bruin
The #5 UCLA Gymnastics team travels to Norman this week to take on the #2 and undefeated Oklahoma Sooners in a dual meet Friday. This is the first trip to Norman for the Bruins, after beating the Sooners last year in Pauley 197.525-196.475. The Bruins are in the middle of three straight road meets and hopefully the Bruins will recover from their loss last week. The meet will be televised live at 5pm on FCS Central.
The Sooners are the #2 ranked team in the nation, with an average score of 197.171. Their high score of the season is 197.625 against Iowa State two weeks ago, and they have scored in the 197s five weeks in a row. As a team, they are ranked 6th on the vault, third on the uneven bars and floor, and first on the balance beam.
Individually, Oklahoma is led by junior Taylor Spears, who is currently ranked third in the country in the all-around. She comes out of the WOGA gym, the home gym of Olympic All-Around Champions Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson. She is a former Junior International Elite gymnast. Oklahoma also features the ninth ranked gymnast Erica Brewer, a sophomore and is a former US national team member and Junior Olympian.
Oklahoma is formidable all around, throwing up 9.8's and above as if they are going out of style. UCLA will have to perfect their routines this week to keep up with Oklahoma.
Sophina DeJesus is back this weekend after missing the last the last two weeks due to a concussion and will compete on bars, beam and floor. Unfortunately we don't have updates on Monique de la Torre's shoulder or Olivia Courtney's ankle, although it looks like Courtney should be ok to compete this week.
Coach Val received a verbal committment this week from Charlotte, NC high school freshmen Anna and Grace Glenn. The twins, who were adopted at the age of 1, train a "reasonable" 24 hours a week and are relieved that they don't have to worry about their college decision. Last year Anna was fourth in the all-around at the state level 10 competition and competed at the Junior Olympics competition, placing first on uneven bars. Grace also qualified for the Junior Olympics competition, where she placed third in the all-around.
The NCAA went "behind the scenes" with Samantha Peszek this week, giving you an inside look at the world of gymnastics... which means most of the guys on this site won't be that interested, because there's a discussion of hair and makeup.
Courtesy of @arianaberlin, a behind the scenes view of the trip to Oregon State. The highlights include Vanessa Zamarripa and Mattie Larson shopping.
Samantha Peszek's weekly interviews - this week Sam interviews Coach Val and Vanessa Zamarripa. Coach Val talks about what happened in the meet last week at Oregon State. Vanessa talks about her goal of scoring a perfect 10 on every event and her secret talents... with a basketball.
Vanessa was also interviewed this week on Telemundo but I can't find video.
Let's Go Bruins!