In sports, you can’t ever take anything for granted. After the first rotation of today’s NCAA first semifinal meet, UCLA was in third place and the Bruins were second after three rotations.
At multiple times today, it looked like the Bruins might not have the chance to defend their title, especially considering how stingy the judges seemed to be.
How stingy were they? Extremely stingy.
Kyla Ross’ streak of perfect tens came to an end as no competitor earned a score higher than a 9.9500. Of course, leave it to Ross to do that twice — once on the vault and again on the floor.
Not even Katelyn Ohashi was able to breakthrough the judges’ stinginess as she “only” scored a 9.9250 on the floor.
Yeah. They were really, really stingy this morning.
Yet, despite that, the Bruins were able to finish with a total team score of 197.6750, which is 0.1125 points higher than the 197.5625 that they scored last year in the first semifinal.
As the top seed, UCLA competed in the Olympic order and started on the vault, which has consistently been the Bruins’ worst event of the four, and it was again today. Ross was the only Bruin to score higher than 9.8750 on the event. Felicia Hano was second for the Bruins while Pauline Tratz scored a 9.8500. Gracie Kramer added a 9.8125 while Nia Dennis began the rotation with a 9.800. That gave UCLA a 49.2875 for their first rotation while Utah finished the rotation in first with a 49.3125 on the floor and Michigan finished second with a 49.3000 on the bars. LSU was in fourth after this rotation with 49.1875 on the beam.
UCLA bounced back with strong second rotation as they moved to the bars. Margzetta Frazier got the rotation started with a solid 9.9000 and Nia Dennis followed with an identical score. Felicia Hano was third and earned a 9.8500 while Norah Flatley picked up a 9.7375, which was dropped. Hometown favorite Madison Kocian came up big for the Bruins with another 9.9000, which was needed because Ross received a score of just 9.8625. That gave UCLA a total for the rotation of 49.4125 and a two-rotation score of 98.700. That put the Bruins on top with Michigan in second with 98.6375, LSU in third with 98.6250 and Utah in fourth with 98.5375.
UCLA headed over to the beam where Gracie Glenn started things off with a 9.800. Brielle Nguyen improved on Glenn’s score with a 9.8500 and Kocian did the same with a 9.8750. Norah Flatley broke the improvement streak, but still scored a 9.8125, which allowed Glenn’s score to be dropped. Katelyn Ohashi was next with a 9.9250 and Ross finished up the rotation by scoring a 9.9000. That gave the Bruins a rotation total of 49.3625 and a team score of 148.0625 after three rotations. That was good enough to put UCLA in second behind LSU, which had a team total of 148.0750. Michigan was in third with a team total of 148.0125 while Utah’s team total of 147.8625 put them in fourth place.
For the final rotation, the Bruin Dance Party was up on the floor where UCLA scored a session-high for all teams and all rotations of 49.6125. Tratz got the party started with a 9.8125, which would eventually be dropped. Dennis was second and she scored a 9.8875. Kramer was next and earned a 9.9375, which would end up being the Bruins’ second best score on the floor today, even better than Ohashi. Ross followed and she outdid Kramer with a 9.9500 while Hano was next and scored a respectable 9.9125. After keeping everyone on the edge of their seats for nearly two hours, the Bruins finally secured the top with Hano’s floor routine. But there was one more Bruin to go.
Of course, that was Katelyn Ohashi, who only scored a 9.9250. That meant she had the third highest floor score on UCLA and put her in a tie for fourth overall in the session.
So, yeah, the judges were rough this morning.
UCLA’s rotation score pushed the Bruins back into first for the session with a team total of 197.6750 while LSU finished up in second with a team total of 197.5125. Michigan took third with 197.200 and Utah was fourth with 196.7250.
Of course, the bottom line is that the Bruins did what they needed to do to survive the semifinals and advance to tomorrow Final Four meet, or maybe it needs its own unique name like maybe the Fierce Four.
Whatever you choose to call it, the Bruins will be there looking to defend their national championship and seeking UCLA’s 117th NCAA title.
Go Bruins!!! Bring home NC #117!!!