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#2 UCLA Gymnastics Heads North to Face #21 Stanford

After three weeks of staying close to home, UCLA makes its first road trip of to Palo Alto today.

Madison Kocian on the bars
Joe Piechowski

UCLA gymnastics travels to Palo Alto today with an unbeaten record and the best start in school history, taking on the Stanford Cardinal in another Pac-12 meet. This comes after beating the Arizona State Sun Devils at home last Monday by 1.65 points.

Last Time Out

UCLA outscored ASU on three of four events with their highest margin of victory coming, of course, on the floor exercise. In rotation one, UCLA had three gymnasts score a 9.75 while Kendal Poston earned a 9.8 and Sekai Wright earned a 9.9. Nia Dennis won the event with a score of 9.95. Meanwhile, Arizona State scored 49.250 on the bars, giving the Sun Devils a narrow 0.075-point lead after the first rotation.

During rotation two, UCLA had an extremely strong outing on bars. Margzetta Frazier started the Bruins off with a 9.925. Frazier’s performance at this meet earned her a second nod as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. Nia Dennis was up next, but she over-rotated a handstand and had to restart her routine after falling and only earned a 9.275. Anna Glen was up next and she scored a 9.85. Freshman Norah Flatley just missed a perfect 10 when one judge gave it to her, but the other didn’t, meaning her score was a 9.975. Then, Madison Kocian stepped up and earned a perfect 10 on the event, which was saw her named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week as a result. Kyla Ross was the last Bruin up and she almost made it back-to-back perfect 10s, but had to settle for a 9.95. While UCLA was just missed having three 10s on the bars, the Sun Devils earned a 48.850 on the vault and midway through the meet, UCLA took a lead of 0.775-point lead.

Here is Kocian’s perfect bars routine, from UCLA Athletics:

Rotation three was not UCLA’s best showing on beam. Madison Kocian started off for the Bruins and earned a 9.875. That would end up being UCLA’s best score on the beam Monday. Brielle Nguyen was next for UCLA and scored a 9.825. Dennis scored a 9.750, which was dropped because it was the Bruins’ low score. Flatley and Ross wrapped up the event with a pair of 9.85s.

Meanwhile, over on the floor, Arizona State’s Katelyn Lentz led off and fell during her first tumbling pass on the floor, due to a torn achilles. She was carried off the floor and was walking on crutches with her ankle wrapped by the end of the meet. This hurt the Sun Devils because it meant they had to count all five of their remaining competitors. To make it worse, Arizona State had two gymnasts each penalized 0.10 after stepping out of bounds during their routines. They finished the event with a total of 48.700, dropping them 1.325 points behind UCLA.

The fourth rotation was the highly anticipated Bruin Dance Party and it didn’t disappoint. Gracie Kramer led off on the rotation with her entertaining Twilight Zone zombie routine and earned a 9.925. Dennis was next and her routine received a score of 9.875. Ross was up next and earned her second 9.95 of the meet. Paulina Tratz followed with a 9.825, UCLA’s lowest score on the floor, and she was followed by Frazier, who also scored a 9.95. That left just Katelyn Ohashi whose routine had earned a 10 the previous weekend. But the judges Monday had been tough all meet and Ohashi’s floor routine only scored a 9.95 in this one. Arizona State’s beam score of 49.325 ended up being the only event where the Sun Devils beat the Bruins head-to-head but, between UCLA’s floor score and the lead the Bruins had already built up, it was too little, too late for ASU and UCLA claimed a 197.775-196.125 victory.

#21 Stanford Cardinal

Today, UCLA looks to keep their perfect record as they compete against #21 Stanford at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto. Stanford expects a record setting crowd, as 3,000 tickets have already been sold. The Cardinal are on an upswing right now, scoring a season-high 196.125 last Monday in their lone loss to #12 UC Berkeley, whom UCLA beat back on January 12 at the Collegiate Challenge.

Stanford’s star is sophomore Kyla Bryant. Bryant, who has taken three straight all-around titles, ranks #12 nationally in the all-around with an average score of 39.475. Stanford is on a roll, with four gymnasts matching career-highs on Monday. Senior Hailee Hoffman scored a 9.85 on floor, junior Aleeza Yu earned a 9.85 on vault, Bryant on beam with a 9.9 and on floor with a 9.925, and freshman Grace Waguespack on bars at 9.800.

Today’s meet begins at 4:00 pm PT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

This is your UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal gymnastics open thread.

Go Bruins!