UCLA may not have come away from its three-week road trip with great stats, but what the team has gained is a new perspective with which to finish its season.
No. 6 UCLA gymnastics fell to No. 4 Alabama last Friday, 197.075-196.375. This marks the end of a three-week road trip in which UCLA lost to as many teams – Oregon State, Oklahoma, and Alabama – in close contests.
UCLA suffered from technical errors in its loss to Alabama, including falls and unstuck landings.
“We made uncharacteristic mistakes. It’s not a lack of focus or intention, it’s just the difficulties of midseason,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field.
These mistakes contributed to UCLA’s less-than-a-point defeat.
Despite the losses, Kondos Field said that the Bruins are finally a “team.”
“As a team, we came together two weeks ago and they have remained really tight. We are working through the highs and lows as a team,” Kondos Field said.
UCLA took these away meets as a chance to bond and grow together, as the Bruins prepare for the rapidly approaching championship season.
“The team did a great job of staying together and being extremely supportive. It’s been a tough three weeks and we had uncharacteristic mistakes, but we’ve stayed together as a team and we are going to move on now and keep getting better,” said senior Kaelie Baer.
Baer fell from the balance beam against Alabama, dropping her score to 9.250. This was her first fall of the season.
“They weren’t going to let that mistake make them tight. There is that love and support for each other throughout the entire team,” Kondos Field said.
UCLA’s newfound “one pulse” team dynamic is something that they are holding onto for the rest of the season.
“We have each other’s backs. It makes competing a lot more fun,” said junior Olivia Courtney.
This mindset carried the Bruins through their tough road meets.
“If there is a point in the meet where someone makes a mistake, they regroup immediately and get that pulse of the team back,” Kondos Field said. “That is something they have improved on in the last three weeks.”