UCLA gymnasts have competed every weekend for nine weekends in a row. Now, they face a new challenge – two competitions in the span of three days.
No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (13-2, 3-1 Pac-12) faces Stanford (7-10, 0-5) in its final Pac-12 dual meet Sunday in Palo Alto, California. This is the second meeting between the teams this season after the Bruins finished first and the Cardinal finished fourth at the Elevate the Stage meet in Reno, Nevada, in January.
Although UCLA won the Masters Classic last week, the Bruins fell in score, dropping to a 197.500 for the meet compared to its score of 198.075 in the previous meet. Coach Valorie Kondos Field said her team has to be consistent throughout the whole meet to achieve its best score.
“Like I keep saying, we have to hit four events. We haven’t done that yet,” Kondos Field said. “We need to, in these next few meets, put it together. If we do that, we’re unstoppable.”
UCLA will have its second meet in three days as it faces San Jose State (9-9, 1-1 MPSF) on Tuesday. Junior Katelyn Ohashi said the team will be focusing on recovering quickly for Tuesday’s meet.
“It’s not a lot of downtime. Meets take out a lot from you,” Ohashi said. “Normally, it takes a week for me to feel energized again. (We’re) definitely trying to get back (to) feeling good again.”
UCLA has a roster of 24 gymnasts. Kondos Field said she will be utilizing her depth to keep her gymnasts fresh for the upcoming championship meets, but her focus is on Sunday.
“We’re going to go with a really strong team Sunday,” Kondos Field said. “Then coming back Monday … and healing up. It’s going to be fun on Tuesday night to see new faces, especially on floor.”
Redshirt senior Peng-Peng Lee is in her sixth year on the team, and said this year’s team is more connected compared to teams in the past.
“This team’s attitude has a drive that I haven’t seen,” Lee said. “Everyone seems like they have a hunger to win. It’s really exciting because that hunger is coming from inside the gym. … This team seems so easy to be with.”
Kondos Field said the Bruins will reach their goal if they continue this drive.
“(We just need) a mindset – willing it to happen, not just hoping it, not waiting to see if it happens,” Kondos Field said. “The goal is for them to understand (that) every moment of what they do is preparing them for a national championship.”
Kondos Field also said she believes the team has the talent and attitude to win a title. She said these two meets will prepare her team for that final stretch.