This weekend the #8 UCLA Gymnastics team will travel to Corvallis to take on the other seven teams in the Pac-12 to defend their Pac-12 title. The Bruins are seeded #2, based on the RQS scores. Utah is the top ranked team, ahead of the Bruins by 0.010 (what a tiny margin! That's the tiniest of hops on a landing!) The Bruins will compete in the evening session at 7pm, with Oregon State and Stanford. The early session will feature the teams seeded #5-8, which are Arizona, Washington, Arizona State and Cal.
To win the meet, just post the highest team score of the eight competing schools. Easy. UCLA will compete on bars first, then beam, then floor, and end the meet with the vault.
For the individual competition, the scores from the team competition will be used to determine the all-around and individual event conference champions.
Both sessions will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network.
In the first session, we have Arizona, Washington, Arizona State, and Cal.
Arizona is currently ranked 17th in the country with a RQS of 196.090. In their last meet they defeated Missouri by over 1 point. Their strongest event is the uneven bars, where they are ranked #14 in the country with a RQS of 49.115, and they are well rounded, placing in the top 25 of all four elements. Their top individual gymnast is Aubree Cristello, who is ranked #17 in the country in the all-around and in the top 25 in three of the four elements.
The Huskies is currently unranked in the top 25, with a RQS of 195.765. When the Bruins and Huskies last met, the Bruins won 196.950 to 195.95. The Huskies are improving, but probably still at least a year away. They are ranked in the top 20 on two events, and Lauren Rogers is their top individual gymnast.
The Sun Devils hosted the Bruins earlier this season and we were terrible guests, defeating the Sun Devils by 0.775. The Bruins actually lost the floor to ASU, where lower than usual individual scores, plus the resting of Zamarripa, came into play but the Bruins were stronger in the other elements to soundly defeat the Sun Devils. ASU's best event is the balance beam, where they are currently ranked #25 in the country. They do not consistently have a gymnast compete in the all-around, but the closest would be Stephanie Miceli.
UCLA defeated the Bears earlier this year in a quad meet, 197.075 to 194.925. The Bears are ranked in the top 25 on vault and floor, but the Bears will probably be competing for not last place on Saturday. They did post their highest score of the season last week against Nebraska, and hopefully the higher level of competition on Saturday will help them out in the scoring department this week.
Session 2 we have the top teams in the Pac-12 with Utah, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford.
The Utes may have the top seed, but the Bruins currently own the head to head advantage this season, beating Utah 197.425 to 195.300. Utah is currently ranked #7 in the country, just 0.10 ahead of the Bruins. However, we cannot count on Utah to have the same problems they had in the first meet, where they had to count two falls on uneven bars - they're even ranked ahead of UCLA in the national uneven bars rankings. Georgia Dabritz is Utah's top individual gymnast, ranked #20 in the country with a RQS of 39.365 in the all around.
#10 Oregon State was right around when I started to do previews! Yay! Unfortunately the last time we matched up against Oregon State, the Bruins left Corvallis with a loss, and Corvallis is a bit of a house of horrors for UCLA gymnastics, so hopefully they'll be able to overcome those demons this weekend. OSU still has not lost at home this season, so they will be extremely difficult to match up against this week as they try to defend that win streak. Oregon State is ranked in the top 20 on all four elements, and #5 on uneven bars with a RQS of 49.305. Makayla Stambaugh is ranked #7 in the all-around with a RQS of 39.40.
The #11 Cardinal are always a dark horse. No one ever considers them on the national stage, yet they made it to Super Six last year. When the Bruins traveled to Palo Alto this year, they came away with a victory, winning by 0.725. Stanford had to count a fall on bars, while the Bruins cruised from event to event. They are a good all-around team, but they need to be on in order to challenge the top teams in the conference. They are ranked in the top 20 in all four events, topping out at #8 on the balance beam. Their top gymnast is Ashley Morgan, who is ranked #23, but you always have to watch out for Ivana Hong.
The battle for the team title will be between UCLA, Utah and Oregon State. It will come down to a stuck landing and a landing with a hop by the second place team, just you watch. If UCLA can match their performance from last week, it hopefully won't be so suspenseful, but Utah and Oregon State will be ready to capitalize on a UCLA mistake.
As long as Vanessa Zamarripa doesn't have any major issues, she should win the all-around. McKayla Stambaugh from Oregon State is currently the second highest ranked Pac-12 gymnast, and third will probably be Georgia Dabritz from Utah.