The UCLA Gymnastics team traveled to Berkeley on Friday looking for a win to turn their season around. While it might be early in the season, and you don't want to peak early, the Bruins had to show that they were ready to take down, statistically, inferior competition.
I do have to congratulate UC Berkeley, as they have improved their gymnastics - they have upped their start values, and their current team is intensely competing. The Berkeley/Stanford meet will be entertaining. As I noted in the open thread, UCB needs to improve their floor routines. 48.575 as a team is not going to cut it for any team looking to challenge UCLA, Utah and Oregon State at the top of the Pac-12 rankings, and floor is one of the easiest places to up your routines. They desperately need a choreographer, or basically, they proved what I love the most about Coach Val's floor routines - the gymnasts interpret the music, and it's not the same generic cutesy program you see at other schools (*coughSECcough*) but the programs seem to be designed for the gymnasts. Check out Sydney Sawa's program, which has consistently been scoring in the 9.9's and above.
Congratulations to Olivia Courtney, who won the all-around with a score of 39.425, along with the vault. Sydney Sawa won the floor with a 9.925, and Hallie Mossett tied for first on the uneven bars. The Bruins finally got their act together on the uneven bars after last week's disaster, without any major mistakes, scoring a 49.30. The Bruins really got their act together on the balance beam, scoring a 49.050 with only one fall that did not count in the score. The score could have been higher - Danusia Francis was deducted 0.20 from her final score for not connecting her dismount with her side arial, knocking down her start value, so the trouncing of UC Berkeley could have been even more complete.
If UCLA looks to be going in the correct direction on beam, they are not in the correct direction on the floor. UCLA was one of the top teams in the country on the floor, and they're currently in 4th place, with an average of 49.306. We only scored 49.075 this week. There are plenty of areas for improvement - Sadiqua Bynum can't seem to control all of her power on her tumbling and keeps stepping out of bounds, and Sophina DeJesus also had a huge step out of bounds this week. These things can be worked on and improved, so hopefully the Bruins can work on this in the coming weeks.
Once again, I must praise Hallie Mossett, who has been rock solid the past couple of meets for the Bruins, delivering a big performance when needed. For a freshman, she has been fantastic. Angi Cipra has also been great for the Bruins on the floor, but faltered a bit this week on beam, but should bounce back.
The #9 Bruins compete next this Saturday at 12:30pm, hosting Arizona State. It should be on Pac-12 Networks somewhere.