The Bruins will have to clear one more hurdle before securing another national title.
No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (9-1) will take on No. 3 Louisiana State (8-3), No. 5 Utah (8-2) and No. 6 Michigan (5-2) in the first semifinal of the NCAA championship Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. The top two teams from each bracket will compete in the finals Saturday.
The other side is made up of No. 1 Oklahoma (9-0), No. 4 Denver (3-1), No. 7 Georgia (7-4) and No. 8 Oregon State (4-3). In the past, the format of the finals has been a Super Six. However, this year the format changed to only four teams battling in a first-ever “Four on the Floor” competition.
The Bruins will head into the semifinal having recorded the second-highest score in the nation, a 198.400, which they earned at the Pac-12 championship. This was previously the top score in the nation until Oklahoma surpassed UCLA with a 198.475, posted at the NCAA regional final in Athens, Georgia, on April 6.
UCLA holds the highest rank in its bracket and has previously beaten Utah at a dual meet and the Pac-12 championship. Additionally, UCLA boasts high individual rankings, with athletes ranking first in all but one event.
Junior Kyla Ross is in the top five in every event, ranking first on vault, uneven bars and the all-around, and third and fourth on balance beam and floor, respectively.
Senior Katelyn Ohashi is first on floor and second on balance beam, while juniors Felicia Hano and Madison Kocian are sixth on vault and uneven bars, respectively.
Should UCLA reach the Four on the Floor on Saturday, it will likely face a similar challenge as last year – No. 1 Oklahoma. Last season the Bruins fell to the Sooners in a regular season meet before coming out on top at the NCAA championship.
This weekend will mark the end of the Bruins’ season, championship or not, as well as the end of coach Valorie Kondos Field’s time as head coach. Kondos Field has coached UCLA to seven national titles and could have the opportunity to win an eighth Saturday.