The Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships are split into two sessions with four teams in each session. The top four teams compete in the second session and that’s when the defending Pac-12 champion UCLA Bruins went to work.
The Bruins opened the session on the vault, which has been UCLA’s weakest events over the course of the season. But, to call UCLA’s performance on the vault weak is relative to the rest of the events, not compared to the other teams. Margzetta Frazier kicked things off for the Bruins by scoring a 9.800. Frazier’s score ended up being the Bruins’ lowest and, as such, it was dropped. Pauline Tratz followed Frazier and the German wunderkind earned a 9.850. Felicia Hano was up next and she didn’t disappoint. She scored a 9.950, which would earn her the Pac-12 Vault co-championship with Utah’s MyKayla Skinner. Kyla Ross, looking to put last week’s fall on the event behind her, did exactly that by adding a 9.900 to the Bruins’ total. Nia Dennis and Gracie Kramer wrapped up the event for UCLA with scores of 9.875 and 9.850, respectively. After the first rotation, UCLA’s total score was 49.425.
Meanwhile, Utah started on the bars. The Utes posted a solid 49.575 on this event as Utah took an early lead of 0.15 points over the Bruins. Oregon State’s first rotation was on the beam where they totaled 48.600 points while UC Berkeley started on the floor and earned 49.175.
As the top seed, UCLA followed the Olympic order on their rotations and, so, they moved to the bars next. Margzhetta Frazier led off on this event as well as she instantly gave the Bruins a boost with a 9.950. Nia Dennis was next and she scored a solid 9.900 while Felicia Hano earned a 9.875. Freshman Nora Flatley, who has performed well all season, was next for UCLA. Her routine earned her a 9.850 and it turned out to be the Bruins’ lowest score for the bars and it was dropped. That set up the Olympic duo of Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross. Kocian posted a 9.925 while Ross followed with her first perfect 10 of the day, which, of course, earned her the Pac-12 Bars Championship. UCLA’s total for the bars was 49.650 and, after two rotations, the Bruins had a 99.075.
Utah moved to the beam for their second rotation where they posted a 49.300. That would end up being the Utes’ lowest score of the competition and it dropped them into second behind UCLA with a team score of 98.875. In the meantime, Oregon State competed on the floor where the Beavers earned a 49.425, which proved to be their best rotation, and gave them 98.025 at this point. The Golden Bears were up on the vault where they scored a 49.025 for the event and 98.200 at the midway point.
UCLA started the second half of the meet over on the beam. Miss Val tinkered with the Bruins’ lineup on the beam a little compared to last week. This week, Grace Glenn started off and the move paid off with a 9.950 while Brielle Nguyen who had been in the first slot scored a solid 9.900. Madison Kocian and Norah Flatley were the next two Bruins up and they both posted scores of 9.850, one of which was dropped as UCLA’s low score on the event. Katelyn Ohashi was next and she added another 9.950 to the Bruins’ total, which tied her with Glenn and earned each gymnast the Pac-12 Beam Co-Championship. Ross concluded the rotation with a 9.900. UCLA’s finished the beam with a team score of 49.550 for the event and a team total of 148.625 after three rotations.
Utah moved to the floor for their third rotation where a perfect 10 from MyKayla Skinner helped the Red Rocks score a 49.700 on the event, giving them a total of 148.575 and cutting the Bruins’ lead to just 0.050 points. Meanwhile, UC Berkeley moved to the bars where they scored a 49.375, bringing their total after three rotations to 147.575. The Beavers headed to the vault for this rotation and scored 49.225 on the event, giving them a total of 147.250. Heading into the final rotation, Oregon State was in fifth place because Arizona State’s total after three rotations in the first session was 147.275.
The final rotation started with Utah on the vault. Kari Lee was first up for the Utes and she earned a 9.900. Meanwhile, Frazier started off for UCLA with a 9.825 which temporarily gave Utah a slim lead. Macey Roberts was next for Utah and she earned a 9.850 while Kramer’s 9.950 got UCLA the lead back. Alexia Burch earned a 9.875 for the Utes with her vault and Tratz increased the Bruins’ lead by picking up a 9.950 for the Bruins with her floor routine. The 9.875 vault by MaKenna Merrell-Giles wasn’t able to cut into UCLA’s lead because Ross earned her second consecutive perfect 10 on the floor and her second of the evening. That pretty much sealed the deal for the Bruins. Mykayla Skinner was next on the vault for Utah and, while she cut UCLA’s lead with a 9.95 and Hano only scored a 9.875 for the Bruins, there wasn’t anything the Utes could do to overcome the Bruin floor routines. Kim Tessen finished the Utes’ performances with a vault that earned a 9.800.
The exclamation point on another Bruin Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship was, of course, supplied by Katelyn Ohashi, who had re-worked her floor routine and removed the Michael Jackson music from it because she thought it might not bring some people the joy she wanted. Despite changing her routine this late in the season, Ohashi did it again! She scored another perfect 10 on the floor. Because Ross, Ohashi and Skinner all finished with perfect 10s on the floor, the trio shared the Pac-12 Floor Championship. UCLA’s final score for the floor was 49.775 and for the meet it was 198.400, the highest of the season. The Utes finished with 49.450 on the vault and 198.025 for the meet.
Meanwhile, Oregon State earned a 48.600 on the beam to finish with 196.600 and the Golden Bears scored a 49.375 on the bars and a team total of 196.575. Arizona State finished fifth overall with their 196.400 from the first session.
It’s the 19th conference championship for the UCLA women’s gymnastics team and the 15th conference title for Miss Val.
In addition to her individual titles on the bars and the floor, Kyla Ross won the Pac-12 All-Around Championship with an all-around score of 39.800, edging Utah’s Skinner who scored a 39.750.
UCLA will next head to the NCAA Regionals April 4 through April 6. The NCAA will announce regional pairing on Monday.