The Bruins are in search of their first “Big 198.”
Following two perfect 10s and a first-place finish last weekend, No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (1-0) will meet No. 13 Arizona State at home Monday. The Bruins have yet to score a 198 in 2019, but hope to change that when they face off against the Sun Devils.
“(Success over the weekend) fuels us even more to really dial in on the little things so that we can limit those reductions and get that 198 score that we’ve been shooting for so far this season,” said junior Gracie Kramer.
UCLA emerged victorious in its first meet of the year, recording a score of 197.250. The Bruins scored a 197.700 the following weekend, good for a first-place finish at their first podium meet.
When the Bruins last faced the Sun Devils in a dual meet in 2017, they outscored them by almost three points. Junior Madison Kocian said she and the rest of the team have been preparing to face Arizona State with elevated attention to detail.
“This year is about going into every single meet and knowing that we can beat the other team and doing what we know how to do to win that competition,” Kocian said. “We all have little things that we can improve on so that we can get better with each meet.”
Kocian returned to the UCLA beam lineup for the first time since last season over the weekend. The Bruins’ lineup changes often reflect injuries on the team, as was the case with Kocian’s return. The Bruins said they expect more changes to their floor and vault lineups when they face the Sun Devils.
“I think in every event this weekend we are going to try to put somebody new in (who) hasn’t had the opportunity to compete yet so that they can actually shine just like the rest of our team,” said coach Randy Lane.
Arizona State won its only dual meet this season against Texas Women’s University, with a season-high 195.675. UCLA has not scored below 195.700 since its loss to California in 2016.
While UCLA has garnered recent accolades, including viral routines and Pac-12 honors, Kramer said the Bruins remain focused on competing well throughout the season with their sights set on defending their title at the NCAA championship in April.
“We maintain that energy and that chemistry so we can feed off each other and not worry about who we are up against,” Kramer said. “It could be Oklahoma, it could ASU, it could be anyone, and I think that as long as we stay in our Bruin Bubble we are going to be unstoppable no matter what.”