UCLA gymnastics isn’t sure whether it wants history to repeat itself as the team prepares to host Utah, its Pac-12 rival, Saturday in Pauley Pavilion.
On the one hand, the No. 2 Bruins are 5-24 all-time against the No. 5 Utes.
On the other hand, UCLA emerged victorious the two times the teams faced off last year.
As they aim to continue the recent winning trend this weekend, the Bruins are not planning on making any major changes. They opened their season last weekend with a win over Southern Utah.
“Last meet was good for us,” said senior Monique De La Torre. “There is high expectations for this time, for us to amp it up a little bit more.”
In order to improve their performance as a group, the Bruins are focusing on refining specific aspects of their individual performances.
“We are going to try to improve a little bit on what we did last weekend. We want to go 196 or higher again. The goal is for every person to get half a tenth better, clean up what they did,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field.
Practice this week has required a renewed focus for the team.
“This week, we have just been coming in and focusing on our routines and the things we weren’t happy with,” said junior Olivia Courtney. “We are really focusing on form and little details.”
The Bruins are well aware a win this weekend will require strong performances from all participants. Both teams are considered national powerhouses, with 16 national championships shared between them – 10 by Utah, 6 by UCLA – and a close 1-2 finish at the Pac-12 championships last year.
Courtney, who was an event winner against Southern Utah on vault with a score of 9.875, says the rivalry doesn’t have any impact on the team’s outlook.
“Going in, we don’t change our mindset. It is just another meet,” she said. “We don’t look at our competitors like we have to go more or less. We just want to do our best each meet.”
Email Epps at email@example.com.