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UCLA Gymnastics Suffers First Defeat to OSU

The Bruins fall to the Beavers in Corvallis, 196.725-196.075

Lichelle Wong has the performance of the week for the Bruins
Lichelle Wong has the performance of the week for the Bruins

If the Bruins had scored up to their average for the year, they probably would have defeated the Beavers in Corvallis. But Corvallis is a mini house of horrors for UCLA - last year, the team tied. Lichelle Wong tore her achilles there last year. OSU hasn't lost a home meet in over a year. With last minute lineup changes, and showing on the floor that didn't match their number 1 ranking, the Bruins lost in Corvallis by 0.65 points, a pretty hefty margin.

Injuries did the Bruins in this week. Sophina DeJesus was held out again this week, recovering from a concussion suffered in practice. Olivia Courtney, who had a great showing last week, was held out of two events due to an ankle injury. Monique De La Torre had to pull out of the vault at the last minute due to shoulder pain. These injuries led to an opportunity for Wong, who competed in the all-around for the first time this year, and scored 39.30.

For complete results, click here.

The Bruins began on uneven bars, where the Bruins started off well. Vanessa Zamarripa and Wong led the Bruins with 9.9s on the bars, Olivia Courtney contributed a 9.825, and Danusia Francis matched her career high with a 9.775. The Beavers started on vault, led by Kelsi Blalock's 9.9. After the first rotation, UCLA led 49.2-49.1.

The lead wouldn't hold up in the second rotation, as UCLA moved to the vault and OSU to the bars. De La Torre was expected to go second on the vault, but had to pull out due to the shoulder pain (and could be see with ice on the shoulder for the remainder of the meet.) Zamarripa led the way again on the vault with a 9.90, and Wong and Kaelie Bear contributed 9.825. Courtney's ankle had to be bothering her, as she landed short and only scored a 9.650, but the score was dropped. Meanwhile on bars, OSU was the model of consistency, with all scores in the 9.8 range and above. Makayla Stambaugh led the Beavers with a 9.90. After two rotations, OSU took the lead 98.325-98.225.

The third rotation is where it came apart for the Bruins, while OSU seized the opportunity on the beam. The Bruins were ranked #1 in the country on the floor, but these performances didn't live up to that standard. Sadiqua Bynum scored a 9.175, falling on her last tumbling pass. Danusia Francis, in a routine that counted, is still going out of bounds on her final tumbling pass, scoring a 9.525. The floor is where the Bruins miss DeJesus. Wong, pressed into the floor, scored a respectable 9.75, and Zamarripa, after an inquiry into a score that seemed low, was awarded a 9.875 - all scores that are lower than average for the Bruins. Meanwhile, OSU was nails on the beam, with all the scores that counted of 9.8 or higher, led by Melanie Jones's 9.90. By contrast, the Bruins highest score was Zamarripa's 9.875. With OSU heading to the floor in the final rotation, and UCLA on the beam, the meet was over.

On the final rotation, the Bruins tried to climb back but they probably would have needed a few 10's to get close to OSU. The Bruins were led 9.850s by Francis, Zamarripa and Wong. Larson fell, again, and scored a 9.200, which was dropped. (Over the weekend I was watching videos of Mattie at Worlds in 2010, and she was having problems on her floor routine, which had a beautiful and high double layout, but she was having problems with her forward tumbling passes... maybe the rumors that she is a headcase are true and she still isn't over it.) Meanwhile, on the floor, Oregon State put up a team score of 49.225, led by Makayla Stambaugh's 9.950, which secured the all-around for the day for her. Kelsi Blalock had OSU's one problem on the floor, with a fall out of bounds on a tumbling pass, but the score wound up not counting.

Once again, kudos has to be given to Lichelle Wong, who was pressed into competing in all four events, and scored a 39.30.

The Bruins tied for first on two individual events, but did not win the all-around, and did not win any of the events as a team. They will need to get themselves together, and hopefully Courtney and DeJesus will have recovered from their injuries as the Bruins travel to #2 Oklahoma on Friday. Gymnastics is a sport of tenths, and the Bruins gave up too many tenths on Saturday.