Saturday, August 24

Gymnastics team eager to redeem loss against Washington


Junior Lichelle Wong and the gymnastics team will host Stanford this Sunday.

Junior Lichelle Wong and the gymnastics team will host Stanford this Sunday.

Tim Bradbury


Stanford
Sunday, 12:30 pm
John Wooden Center
No TV info
Info: UCLA will host Stanford this Sunday.

After earning one of the team’s lowest scores this season in its last competition, the UCLA gymnastics team went back to the drawing board in preparation for its next meet.

The No. 7 UCLA Bruins (3-1, 2-1 Pac-12) will host No. 12 Stanford Cardinal (4-1, 1-1) at the John Wooden Center just a week after scoring a season-low of 194.6, which does not live up to the standard the team sets for itself.

Despite the uncharacteristic score, coach Valorie Kondos Field believes that the team will bounce back and recover.

“The girls are embarrassed,” Kondos Field said. “The girls, for the most part, put it behind them because they know they’re better than that. They’re just ready to come out and do gymnastics the way they know they can do it.”

The former No. 1 team in the country has worked hard in the gym following its loss in Washington.

“I just did what we normally do in practice,” said junior Lichelle Wong, who competed in her first ever all-around in the team’s loss to Washington.

“Last week is definitely not what we usually do. It’s something weird that happened and we don’t want it to happen again, especially against Stanford,” Wong said.

Stanford is averaging about one point less than UCLA this season, and both teams have just one loss in the season. UCLA’s veterans understand the importance of the matchup for both teams, and senior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is prepared to lead her team to victory.

“We’re all leaders in our own way, whether you’re a freshman or a senior,” Hopfner-Hibbs said. “Just being able to go out there and either lead by example or with your words, whatever you’re best at, is helping the team.”

The former Olympian is not used to lackluster performances like the one last week.

“We just have to take it for what it is and learn from every mistake that you made, individually and as a team,” Hopfner-Hibbs said.

In order to prevent anymore unexpected scores, Kondos Field has taken the team back to the basics at the gym.

“I really don’t think there’s anything to fix,” Kondos Field said.

“I know what I need to do in the warm-ups (for the meets) to make sure there isn’t any anxiety that permeates through the team. There won’t be any surprises if we ever find ourselves in that situation again.”

The Bruins hope to never be in that situation again, and even though they had a subpar performance, they learned something.

“It’s OK to make mistakes,” Wong said. “It’s not OK to let the mistakes build up and basically bomb the meet.”

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