Saturday, August 24

Gymnastics suffers first loss of season



UCLA gymnastics saw its undefeated season come to an end Saturday after a series of mistakes dragged it below Oregon State.

When the Bruins travelled to Corvallis, Ore., the Beavers (8-5) outscored the Bruins (7-1) by almost seven-tenths of a point.

“Anytime you compete in someone else’s house, you’ve gotta be twice as good as they are,” coach Valorie Kondos Field said. “You can’t have a bad event and we had a bad event (or) four.”

While the team’s non-stuck landings and out-of-bounds steps dragged its final score down, Oregon State either took first or tied for it in all four events.

“We let the scores drag us down just a little bit because the scoring was a bit tight and we weren’t expecting those scores,” said senior Lichelle Wong.

Kondos Field said the Bruins’ struggles began before competition even started. A poor warm up, she said, set the tone for the whole meet.

“We’re going to need to focus on warming up better,” she said. “If they warm up better, they will be more engaged mentally.”

Senior Vanessa Zamarripa, however, said she doesn’t accept warmups as explanation for a bad meet, adding that they should be used for final refinements, not significant changes.

“It’s one thing to warm up badly; that doesn’t dictate how you’re going to do when you compete,” she said. “Usually when you warm up, you get your body going and get the cobwebs out. Then by the time you compete you can make the adjustments necessary to do well.”

UCLA went into the weekend ranked No. 4, and Oregon State was No. 13. The rankings have since shifted, moving the teams to No. 5 and 11, respectively.

Despite the loss, Wong had a breakout performance, competing in floor and vault for the first time since she injured her Achilles tendon last February. Wong took first on bars and tied for second on beam en route to taking third in the all-around.

“It was a major breakthrough (for her),” Kondos Field said.

There’s no rest on the horizon for the Bruins as they begin week two of their three-week road trip against top-15 opponents. Next week they face undefeated No. 2 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

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