The #7 UCLA Gymnastics team traveled to Utah for the Pac-12 Championships and came away with the place I expected - second. The Bruins were not as crisp as they have been in previous meets, but did just enough to fend off Stanford and Oregon State. Utah is in a class of it's own, as they scored 198.150 with the crisp routines that show why they are one of the top four countries, but unfortunately suffered a huge loss with senior Tory Wilson going down with a ruptured Achilles.
Utah takes their gymnastics seriously, and the atmosphere was fantastic last night.
Senior Samantha Peszek came in tied for second in the all-around with a score of 39.575, and won the balance beam with a 9.950 and tied for first on floor with a 9.950. Unfortunately Peszek couldn't catch up with Georgia Dabritz, the all-around winner, who scored a crazy 39.775, with a 9.975 on vault, 9.925 on bars, 9.925 on beam and a 9.950 on floor.
The takeaway from the meet is that it wasn't bad - the Bruins scored 197.350, which is their second highest score of the season. So many points were left on the floor. UCLA "missed" on three routines, and while they wound up not counting, it put the pressure on the team to hit on the rest of the routines for that rotation.
The Bruins started on bars, scoring a solid 49.275, led by Danusia Francis, Sophina DeJesus, and Samantha Peszek all scoring a 9.875. Peng Peng Lee fell when she was transitioning back to high bar from the low bar (she was short) and scored only a 9.40 when we could have counted on a typical 9.850 or above. However, the Bruins didn't count a score below 9.80 which is usually good, but it could have been better, especially since Utah was putting up a monstrous 49.675 on vault, led by a 10.00 by Tory Wilson.
In the second rotation, the Bruins moved to beam, where they returned to form, scoring a 49.425 as a team to lead all the teams last night. Peszek scored a 9.950, Lee recovered from her fall to throw in a 9.925, and for some reason the judges only gave Francis a 9.875, even though her dismount was probably the best we've seen it all season. I did see a few wobbles, so they probably dinged those. Jordan Williams was added to beam and unfortunately fell, but UCLA didn't have to count that score. Meanwhile Utah was killing it on the bars, scoring a 49.550, giving UCLA no chance to catch up.
Danusia Francis' PERFECT world-class dismount. Don't try it at home. (GIF) pic.twitter.com/yOX5umOz74— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) March 22, 2015
In the third rotation, UCLA moved to the floor and scored 49.350 as a team. Peszek led the way with a 9.950 and Sadiqua Bynum contributed a 9.925. Mikaela Gerber and Pua Hall both added 9.850, and Francis with a 9.775, as she was short on her final tumbling pass. The usually dependable Angi Cipra on floor fell on a tumbling pass, scoring only a 9.175 but thankfully that score was dropped. After three rotations, UCLA actually found themselves in third place, with a score of 148.050, but only behind by 0.025, which could easily be made up on vault.
On the vault, UCLA scored 49.300 as a team after delaying the meet a bit by switching up their lineup. Lee and LaNiesha-Jopre Irvin were inserted in the lineup, and Bynum and Meraz were taken out. The Bruins gave up tenths as they were bouncing out of their landings, and didn't have a score above 9.875, which was posted by Cipra and Williams. Janay Honest, Irvin and Lee all posted 9.850s, and Peszek's 9.80 was dropped. Ordinarily that's a fine score, but at this time of year you need to be near perfect.
Monday, the Bruins will find out where they will be headed in their regional at noon. The selection show will air live on NCAA.com. Regionals will be held on Saturday, April 4th. The closest regional is Berkeley, but Berkeley will be there, so we'll see where we're placed.