Wednesday, September 19

Gymnastics faces busy schedule, balances roster to battle fatigue


Madison Kocian made her return to floor exercise and scored 9.900 on Sunday in No. 2 UCLA's win over No. 8 Oregon State. The sophomore had previously only competed on balance beam this season. (Liz Ketcham/Daily Bruin)

Madison Kocian made her return to floor exercise and scored 9.900 on Sunday in No. 2 UCLA's win over No. 8 Oregon State. The sophomore had previously only competed on balance beam this season. (Liz Ketcham/Daily Bruin)


Coach Valorie Kondos Field said she does not fear going after the Bruin gymnasts’ weaknesses.

“We all have weaknesses, so let’s attack (them),” Kondos Field said. “Ruthlessly.”

No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (10-2, 3-1 Pac-12) will take on No. 16 Nebraska (6-1, 5-0 Big Ten), No. 23 Iowa State (15-2, 1-1 Big 12) and Kent State (5-4, 2-3 MAC) in the Masters Classic on Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Bruins will be traveling out of state for the first time in over a month. They have been undefeated on the road so far this season, going 8-0 with two conference victories.

Kondos Field said that the team will be focused, but it has to manage the gymnasts’ fatigue.

“We’re going to leave super early Saturday morning and arrive super late Saturday night,” Kondos Field said. “It really is making sure they’re managing their downtime, (that) they’re not wasting that time. Have integrity with everything that you’re going to be doing on our travel day.”

Redshirt freshman Grace Glenn agreed with her coach, but said her team will be ready to go Sunday.

“We have to connect a flight, so it’ll be interesting,” Glenn said. “It’s a little bit of an adjustment, but we’ll be fine. We’re usually pretty hyped up for the meet.”

UCLA will be trying to build off a season-high score of 198.075 from its last meet against No. 8 Oregon State (4-3, 3-3 Pac-12). Even with a great overall score, the Bruins only earned a 49.125 on the vault, their second-worst score on that event this season. Kondos Field said her team still needs to have a meet in which it has consistent performances throughout.

“We need to put four great events together,” Kondos Field said. “We’ve done really well this season on two events, three events. Every single event is as important as every other event. The first event has to be with the same focus, determination and grit as the third or fourth event.”

UCLA got a boost last week with sophomore Madison Kocian competing in the floor exercise for the first time this season. After having only competed on the balance beam so far this season, she said she was happy to be back in the event.

“I’m definitely looking forward to competing (in the floor exercise) in more meets,” Kocian said. “We have a lot of depth this year in our floor lineup, so I’m always working on the smallest details just to stay in the lineup. I’m really honored and excited to be back.”

This meet is the first of three in 10 days for the Bruins. Kondos Field said the team will use its large roster to try to combat any fatigue, but she feels her team is ready for the challenge.

“We are a really good team. We are very, very, very good,” Kondos Field said. “Our last home meet, we’re going to need to compete our bench, which is exciting and really fun.”

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