#11 UCLA Gymnastics Looks to Stay Perfect Against Arizona Schools
After beating #15 Arizona State at home last week, the UCLA Bruins travel to Tucson to take on the #15 University of Arizona Wildcats.
Last weekend, the UCLA Bruins women’s gymnastics team started the season with a win at home over the Arizona State Sun Devils, 196.150 to 195.950. UCLA nearly broke the internet once again with another viral floor routine. This time, it was courtesy of senior Nia Dennis. The meet was full of firsts with fresh looks at new team members and others who had never competed before. .
Before the meet began, the team was dealt a tough hand when Norah Flatley injured her ankle in warm-ups and had to be replaced on both beam and bars. Seniors Pauline Tratz and Savannah Kooyman stepped in and each routine was a hit with the judges.
UCLA began the meet on vault and only competed with five gymnasts, meaning they could not spare a low score as none could be dropped. Tratz led off the event with a 9.850 and Kendall Poston followed with a 9.875. Margzetta Frazier delivered a 9.725 and Dennis posted a 9.900, good enough to win the event. Freshman Chae Campbell made her collegiate debut, rounding the event off with a 9.850. After ASU finished on bars, the Bruins were narrowly in front, 49.200 to 49.150.
On bars, Campbell started the rotation with a fall, putting pressure on teammate Sara Taubman, who was also making her competition debut. Taubman earned a solid 9.825, and finished a stellar routine with tears of joy at such a momentous occasion. Kooyman’s first time out was next and kept the momentum going with a 9.800, and freshman Frida Esparza made her collegiate debut with an event-winning routine, earning a 9.900. Frazier’s routine brought in a 9.800 and Tratz finished the event with a 9.625. After ASU finished on vault, UCLA still held a slim lead, 98.175 to 98.125.
The lead off beam worker at this meet was Frazier, who earned her second 9.800 of the day. Poston came in with a 9.775 while Esparza notched a 9.800. Campbell posted another solid score with a 9.725 and Samantha Satki impressed the judges enough to earn a 9.900 and the event title. Kooyman finished the event with a 9.600 keeping the Bruins in front, 147.175 to 146.850.
The much-anticipated Bruin Dance Party was the finale of this meet, showcasing the choreography and energy that UCLA has become known for worldwide. UCLA struggled with the first half of the rotation, earning scores that Bruin fans aren’t used to seeing. That also gave Arizona State a temporary lead. Emma Andres started off the rotation with a 9.575, and newcomer Paige Hogan added a 9.450 that would have to be dropped. Tratz was up next and, after stepping out of bounds twice, was still able to post a 9.650. Frazier and Campbell really got things rolling, however, when they were each able to earn a 9.900. Then came Dennis’ internet-breaking ode to black excellence finished the event which earned a near-perfect 9.950. With the final three scores coming in so high, UCLA was able to bring home the win with a final score of 196.150 to 195.950.
Today, UCLA takes on the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, who lost to Utah last weekend, 197.075 to 195.650. The Wildcats opened their season with five freshman and one sophomore in the rotation with freshman Jessica Castles posting a stellar 9.900 on beam. On vault, Malia Hargrove earned a career-high 9.850 and Laura Leigh Horton tied her career best with a 9.800 on the floor exercise.
While this will be the first road meet for the Bruins, it is clear the depth chart has several options and the talent is abundant on this team. UCLA should earn another win and stay perfect for the season.
#11 UCLA Gymnastics (1-0)
Opponent: #15 Arizona Wildcats (0-1)
When: 12:00 pm PT, Sunday, January 31, 2021
Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Stats: UCLA Stat Broadcast