In UCLA gymnastics’ second-to-last meet of the regular season, the Bruins proved that the issues on beam that plagued the team in its first few meets are long over.
In a meet that featured three probable postseason contenders – No. 6 Utah, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 UCLA – the Bruins used a strong leadoff performance from freshman Hallie Mosset to score a season-high 49.475 on vault and pick up early momentum in the tri-meet.
Though it was Michigan that ultimately managed the home-court win on the last rotation, beating UCLA 197.825-197.475, Mosset said she was pleased that her team fought for the entire meet.
UCLA went into the last rotation just 0.025 down from Michigan and holding less than a two-tenths lead on Utah. While the Bruins couldn’t hunt down the Wolverines, they fought off the Utes attempt to pass them.
“The thing that’s special about our team is that we are a bunch of fighters and knowing that there were a bunch of good teams there, we rose to the occasion,” said redshirt junior Samantha Peszek.
Though Peszek came out of Ann Arbor pleased with the entire UCLA team’s tenacity, it was her individual resilience that became one of the meet’s more striking features.
Though the meet marked her first time competing in both floor and all-around since 2012, Peszek managed a team-high tying 9.925 on floor and won the meet’s all-around competition.
Coach Valorie Kondos Field said Peszek’s tenacity was the highlight of the meet for her and is a positive sign as the team looks ahead to Pac-12 and NCAA championships.
“She’s such a great competitor. The bigger the meet, the better she’ll do,” Kondos Field said.
But Peszek’s return wasn’t the only positive Kondos Field said she saw in the meet. On top of a win over Utah, who beat the Bruins earlier this season, Kondos Field said the team came to Michigan and accomplished two things it had been aiming for all season.
“It was great to fly across the country and knock off two of our goals – one goal was to (compete well) for (all) 24 routines and the other was to score mid-197 and we did both,” Kondos Field said.