The now #7 UCLA Gymnastics (7-3) team has their final home meet of the season today and will celebrate the careers of four Bruin seniors as they welcome Utah State and Bowling Green to Pauley. The meet is at 2pm and will be available online. Live stats will be available here.
Last week the Bruins took second in a tri-meet, losing to #8 Michigan (look at that, they lose but drop in the rankings) and defeated #5 Utah, avenging a loss from earlier this season. The Bruins broke the 197 barrier for the second week in a row, and posted a season high on the vault with a team score of 49.475. Samantha Peszek competed in the all-around for the first time this season and put up a monster score of 39.650, with three 9.925s on vault, beam and on floor, which she competed on the first time this season.
Utah State is currently ranked #35 in the country, with an average score of 194.745. Their season high is 195.525 and they average about a 194.2. Being independent, they are not part of a conference for gymnastics, and do their best to find quality competition. They had their best meet of the season last week, defeating Southern Utah, scoring 196. Sarah Landes is their top gymnast.
Bowling Green is ranked #39, with a RQS of 194.690. Their season high is 195.925, and their average is 194.135. They come out of the MAC, they are led by Gina Locigno and and Alyssa Nocella. Both teams are right on the cusp of making the NCAA regionals, so they will be ready for this meet to fight for one of the final 36 spots.
The Bruins can look at this meet as one of two things: a chance to rest their top performers before the Pac-12 Championships next week at Cal and showcase some gymnasts that will be fighting to compete next year, or as a chance to refine their performances for next week. Right now, with the Bruins trending up, I'd take a hybrid of both - put your top performers in on a few select events so they're not rusty, but also give Mikaela Gerber or Jessy MacArthur a chance to have their scores count, or give Jen Pinches a chance to refine her vault scores. I don't think the Bruins can rest 100% but it's best to not risk injury.
Today is also special as the Bruins will be sending off five seniors - Olivia Courtney, Sydney Sawa, Sam Peszek (who has decided to not return for a fifth year), and team managers Kassidy Kozai and Cory "dance party" Tomlinson. Sawa has been an anchor for the Bruins this year, stepping it up on the floor and solidfying the Bruins on every event. Peszek had to miss a month due to injury but has not missed a beat, throwing up 9.9s and above like she never missed a second. Courtney has been spectacularly consistent, and her beautiful routines will be missed. I will definitely miss Tomlinson (the male manager on the team) as he always brought energy and spark to the Bruins.
It is the final home meet and a Blackout.
Let's go Bruins. Let's send Sam, Olivia, Syd, Kassidy and Cory off in style.