Coach Valorie Kondos Field brought out a lineup that highlighted the Bruins’ depth, and it led to another conference victory.
No. 4 UCLA gymnastics (9-1, 2-0 Pac-12) beat California (5-4, 1-3) by a score of 197.750 to 197.225 in a dual meet Saturday in Berkeley.
This was the Bruins’ fifth-straight meet scoring 197 or above. UCLA did this while having 15 different gymnasts compete, as opposed to just 13 against No.1 Oklahoma (4-1).
In between two top-5 matchups against Oklahoma and No. 2 Utah (7-1, 4-0), Kondos Field said she wanted to give some of the athletes a rest while giving others the chance they deserved.
“We’ve got a very large team. Most of them have trained really hard,” Kondos Field said. “Even though they’re not at the top of our roster, they deserve to compete. We felt this was a really good opportunity for us to compete our depth.”
Senior Napualani Hall tied and set new career highs on vault and floor, scoring a 9.950 and 9.900, respectively.
“I had been practicing really hard to make the floor lineup,” Hall said. “I just tried to stay calm and be confident. I tried my best to perform it well.”
Freshman Nia Dennis returned to the all-around competition after resting on beam for the past three meets. After setting new career highs on the beam and uneven bars, she said she did not know they were career highs but was elated.
“I was really excited,” Dennis said. “I was just happy I could contribute for my team as best as I could.”
Although they had no 10 scores this meet, the Bruins did not have a single score under 9.825 count toward their final mark. Kondos Field said this consistency was due to the work put in all year and the team’s confidence.
“They believe in themselves. It’s hard to develop a team swagger,” Kondos Field said. “We started last June, just getting them more physically fit. That bled into their gymnastics being easier. It’s the pride in a job well done that’s given this team its swagger.”
The Bruins had a streak of setting a new season high in each meet. While that streak is now broken, Kondos Field said she was very proud of her team and saw this as a positive result.
“We put in a lineup today not worrying about a score,” Kondos Field said. “I’m very pleased with how we competed and the fact that we’re moving up in the rankings.”
Bruins continue to show support for survivors
Both the Bruins and the Bears wore pink in their leotards this week. Kondos Field said this was to honor breast cancer survivors. In 2016, at the Bruins’ Pink-Out Meet, Kondos Field came out and said she was a breast cancer survivor.
The Bruins also continued to show their support for sexual abuse survivors. Some Bruins wore their “Together We Rise” shirts from Sunday’s meet.