The Bruins will face another top-10 opponent with the support of their home fans.
No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (9-2, 2-1 Pac-12) will take on No. 8 Oregon State (4-2, 3-2) in a dual meet Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. The Beavers have averaged a 196.442 and are led by Sabrina Gill, who is averaging a 39.155 in the all-around.
This is the Bruins’ third top-10 matchup at home this month. Associate head coach Chris Waller said staying in Westwood helps keep the team morale high.
“It’s really fun. The Den is unbelievable,” Waller said. “They love performing in front of the home crowd. It’s great not to be able to get in a plane and travel somewhere else.”
While the Bruins lost both home meets this month, they were only outscored by a combined .225 over the two meets. UCLA also scored a season best 197.950 in the loss against No. 1 Oklahoma (6-1). UCLA also had gymnasts score their best scores over the last three weeks.
Junior Katelyn Ohashi has scored career-high numbers on the vault and floor exercises this season. She said she is looking to carry that momentum to a title by improving a little every week.
“(I’m) just trying to clean up everything and get 1 percent better every day I’m in the gym,” Ohashi said. “I want to get more confident as the season goes on because I think (I) have been wavering a bit mentally. I’m trying to get a (national championship).”
Sophomore Felicia Hano has also set career-highs on vault and floor exercise routines, with both of them coming in the past two home meets. She said focusing on the team has helped her improve.
“(I’m) just trying to do the best for my team. We’ve been keeping it really consistent and it’s been showing in the meets for me personally,” Hano said. “I want to do as much as I can for the team, whether that is competing a lot or not. My goal is to place in the (championship meet).”
The Bruins will have a packed schedule after this week. They will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, to compete in the Masters Classic on March 4. After that, UCLA will have two meets in three days against No. 22 Stanford (5-8, 0-4) and San Jose State (6-8).
UCLA coaches have said they will try to bring in more athletes to give some gymnasts who have competed in many meets a rest. Waller said rotating the team will help the Bruins be ready for anything that is thrown at them in the final meets.
“Those almost back-to-back meets will provide us the opportunity to use our depth,” Waller said. “The more you can compete your depth, the better prepared you are for whatever comes in the postseason.”