The UCLA Gymnastics team traveled to Arkansas in a bid for their eighth consecutive NCAA Gymnastics Championships (30th overall) and held off host Arkansas to take second place, scoring 196.600. Utah won the regional, scoring 197.300, and Arkansas was third, with a 196.375.
The Bruins opened the meet on fire, putting up a season high 49.525 on floor. Jennifer Pinches started the meet with a 9.850 and the scores went up from there. Olivia Courtney was solid on her tumbling passes, scoring a 9.950, Sam Peszek with a 9.925, and Danusia Francis and Sydney Sawa contributed a 9.90, although I felt like Sawa was underscored.
UCLA moved to the vault next, and put in a very respectable 49.125, with Olivia Courtney leading the way with a 9.90. Peszek contributed a 9.875 and Sadiqua Bynum had a 9.875. The scores were mostly respectable, but Arkansas was making a push over on uneven bars, landing everything and scoring a 49.375.
At the halfway point, UCLA had the lead at 98.650 but headed into two weaker events for them.
As UCLA moved onto the bars, problems crept in. Francis led off, scoring a career high 9.90 to set the tone for the Bruins. But Hallie Mossett missed her landing, landing on her knees. Sawa also fell on her dismount, causing the Bruins to have to count a fall score of 9.225. The remaining Bruins picked up the slack, with Peszek scoring a 9.950 (one judge gave her a 10!) but with the fall only scored 48.750 as a team, which could come back to haunt them in seeding as we look ahead to the Championships.
UCLA finished the meet on the beam, and once again the Bruins were solid. Peszek again led the way with a 9.95, and Francis scored a 9.850, deducted for a step on the landing of her dismount. Sophina DeJesus scored a 9.850, and the Bruins as a team scored 49.200. Meanwhile Utah was doing their Utah thing, and Arkansas tried to make up their deficit on the floor, but just couldn't score high enough.
Peszek won the all-around with a fantastic 39.70, in addition to winning the beam and bars. Olivia Courtney placed third in the all around with a 39.475 and tied for first on the floor.
The Bruins await their seeding and placement in the NCAA Championships. They will next compete the 18th in Birmingham, AL. They will be joined by Pac-12 counterparts Utah and Stanford, who scored 197.275 to take second in their regional.
The quest for #111 has officially begun!