Saturday, August 24

Gymnastics starts first of three away meets at No. 13 Oregon State

The last time UCLA gymnastics faced off against Oregon State, it was for the Pac-12 title.

This time, the Bruins’ undefeated record is on the line.

In the first of three back-to-back away meets against top-15 opponents, the No. 4 Bruins (7-0) travel to Corvallis, Ore. this weekend to square off against the No. 13 Beavers (7-5).

Coach Valorie Kondos Field said she hopes the team achieves its  first-ever undefeated season when the Bruins face these ranked teams on the road.

“During regular season meets, for some reason – even though judges come from all over the country – (the) home team does get an advantage score-wise,” Kondos Field said.

“If you’re going to go into someone else’s house and come out victorious, you’ve got to come out a lot better, not just as good, and not just a little bit (better).”

But at Oregon State, the home advantage means more than just favorable judging; it also means facing the Beavers’ crowd – something Kondos Field and seniors Kaelie Baer and Monique De La Torre all described as “intense.”

“(The crowd) fuels you, motivates you and gets the adrenaline going,” Baer said. “They’re respectful of good gymnastics.”

De La Torre is hoping her passion will also help inspire her teammates heading into the meet.

“We’ve been going through midterms so we’re all a little depleted,” De La Torre said. “I’m trying to take my enthusiasm and make it contagious.”

Adding to the pressure, this will be only the second time UCLA gymnastics has had a meet televised this year. With a top-15 opponent and a strong away crowd, the Bruins affirm they will be ready for the spotlight.

“Our athletes love the pressure; the bigger the meets the better they do,” Kondos Field said. “If there was a camera right in their face, they would do even better.”

Email Lemos at [email protected].

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