UCLA gymnastics is moving on from its loss against Oregon State this past weekend, as the team heads to Oklahoma for its second of three consecutive away meets.
“Sports are a metaphor for life. When life is going well, you don’t get challenged and your weaknesses aren’t exposed. Last week, our weaknesses were exposed,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field.
Kondos Field said the season was going well for the Bruins prior to their loss to Oregon State. Now 7-1, the No. 5 Bruins said that they know what they need to work on.
“It is good to have your weaknesses exposed during the course of the season so that when something happens during championship season, you will have already gone through it and worked through it and strengthened your weaknesses,” Kondos Field said.
The Bruins are determined to look at their loss in a positive way.
“It was a blessing in disguise. We can learn from this. It showed us our weaknesses and areas that we need to improve on for this next half of the season,” said senior Alyssa Pritchett.
Although not proud, UCLA has accepted the loss and is moving on to what’s next.
“Going to Oklahoma will be a great opportunity to implement those improvements and get better as a team. It was a great wake up call,” Pritchett said.
UCLA has been plagued with injuries this season. Junior and former Olympian Samantha Peszek as well as freshman Christine Peng-Peng Lee both had season-ending injuries. Senior Monique De La Torre, who tore her labrum during preseason, has been unable to fully compete. Freshman Sophina DeJesus missed two meets due to a concussion. And junior Olivia Courtney sprained her ankle last week.
Unexpected injuries have forced UCLA to make some lineup changes. The team heads to Oklahoma with about the same lineup as it had for Oregon State.
“I think what we’ve done well this year is preparing every athlete as if they are coming in and competing,” Kondos Field said of having to tap into the depth of their roster.
With these added injuries, Kondos Field inspired her team with a new theme for this meet.
“The theme for our team is to have one heartbeat,” said senior Lichelle Wong.
This new motto really resonated with the team.
“I told them that each one of them is going to take on the role of being the heartbeat of this team. Everyone gives their all and puts the team first. Their energies will beat as one for a common goal and with the same effort and same focus,” Kondos Field said.