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#5 UCLA Gymnastics Looks to Bounce Back After Narrow Loss to #11 Washington

Last week’s meet found the Bruins losing to the Huskies by less than half a point. Can UCLA come back and defeat the Arizona Wildcats?

Samantha Sakti works the beam. The beam has been UCLA’s Achilles heel so far this season.

Last Friday, the UCLA Bruins took to the mats in a dual meet against the Washington Huskies. There were highs and lows throughout the night, but consistency proved to be the winner in the end.

In the first rotation, UCLA started off strong on vault. Pauline Tratz began the rotation with a 9.750 and Gracie Kramer increased the scores slightly with a 9.775. Kendal Poston kept the momentum going with a 9.850, and Nia Dennis upped the ante with a 9.900. Felicia Hano notched a 9.875 and Kyla Ross finished the rotation with a 9.900. After rotation one, UCLA was up 49.275 to Washington’s 48.975.

Rotation two found the Bruins with another strong rotation on bars. Hano and Savannah Kooyman each began the rotation with a 9.925, then Norah Flatley came in strong with a 9.850. Scores only increased from there with Madison Kocian earning a 9.900, and both Margzetta Frazier and Ross earning a 9.925. After two rotations, UCLA was still up on Washington, 98.700 to 98.100.

The third rotation’s balance beam was the undoing of the Bruins’ lead with half of UCLA’s six athletes falling. Grace Glenn had the rotation going in the right direction, starting the Bruins off with a 9.825, and both Ross and Flatley earned near perfect 9.950s. Unfortunately, the three falls caused the Bruins to count two low scores of 9.050 and 9.100, which left UCLA behind Washington, 147.450 to 146.575.

The fourth and final rotation featured UCLA on the floor exercise and, while things were definitely looking up from the beam, the Bruins still fell short of the win. Kocian and Hano each contributed a 9.875, Ross moved the needle to a 9.900, and Flatley and Dennis each added a 9.950. The event was highlighted by a stellar performance from Kramer, who earned her first perfect 10 on the event. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough and UCLA lost to Washington, 196.700 to 196.250.

Today’s Meet

This afternoon, UCLA takes on #20 Arizona. The GymCats lost to Utah last weekend with a score of 195.975 to Utah’s 197.300. Arizona posted a season-high 49.100 on the uneven bars and Christina Berg earned a near-perfect 9.950 on the event. She is ranked #15 in the nation on the uneven bars with a season average of 9.885. Heather Swanson also posted a season-high score on the vault, earning a 9.825. Haylie Hendrickson, Malia Hargrove, and Kennedi Davis each notched a 9.800 on balance beam, which was the top score of the event for the GymCats and a season-high for Hendrickson.

While Arizona is a ranked team, we should see UCLA bounce back from last week’s loss to Washington, provided the Bruins can solve the problems they’ve been having throughout the young season on the balance beam.

Go Bruins!