Monday’s gymnastics tri-meet against Utah State and Bridgeport was disappointing for No. 4 UCLA (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12), especially after putting up its two highest scores of the season in the previous two meets.
With the postseason fast approaching, the Bruins say they cannot afford another poor performance.
“We did just come back from Utah (the day before), so that (was) a factor,” said freshman Kyla Ross. “But this is how postseason is. You have to compete a lot in a short amount of time. I think it’s a good showing that we need to do some more work in order to be successful in postseason.”
UCLA hosts Arizona (3-4, 1-3) on Saturday in its second meet of a four-meet homestand.
The Bruins changed up their training schedule this week after going through two meets in three days to give the gymnasts a chance to recuperate for the coming meet.
“We gave them two days off, and then we’re going to come back Thursday and Friday,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field. “We don’t normally train the day before a meet, but they needed two days off.”
Ross was one of the few bright spots during Monday’s tri-meet. She scored a 9.9 or higher in her first three rotations, including her perfect 10 on the balance beam.
She won the all-around competition but did so without four complete routines. Ross fell during her floor routine and received a 9.4 score from the judges.
That was only her second time competing all-around this season. Both times she had a fall on floor exercise.
“I know that I have to get in better shape to get in my floor routine,” Ross said. “I haven’t been able to train as much because of my shin, but I’m definitely excited to get back in the gym and hopefully have another good floor routine on Saturday.”
Key players are set to return to the lineup against the Wildcats after resting during the tri-meet, likely raising the team’s overall score.
Freshman Madison Kocian is almost certainly a lock in to compete in all four events alongside Ross, and specialists like seniors Hallie Mossett and Angi Cipra look to reclaim their spots on floor exercise.
A major point of emphasis, however, is mental preparation.
“Physically, we’re there. We’re prepared and ready,” said redshirt freshman Macy Toronjo. “I think everyone needs to re-evaluate their mental cues. Working on (the mental aspects) is just like working physically, except without any pounding on your body.”