UCLA women’s gymnastics competed in its first meet of the season Monday night, and landed a winning performance.
The Bruins pulled away after a strong first rotation and rarely faltered, defeating the Oregon State Beavers 196.000 to 195.450.
The team scored a total of 49.075 on uneven bars – just below the team’s average of 49.188 last season. The highest individual score in this apparatus was a 9.900 recorded by redshirt sophomore Christine Peng-Peng Lee, who was competing in her first-ever college meet after overcoming a serious knee injury.
“This was my first event in two and a half years,” said Peng-Peng Lee, who also won the uneven bars and balance beam competitions. “I think the team did well especially for our first meet overall and we are pretty happy about how we did tonight.”
Three of the top six individual scores in the vault, UCLA’s second event, were tallied by gymnasts competing in their first event at UCLA: freshman JaNay Honest, graduate transfer Jordan Williams and Peng-Peng Lee. But it was a UCLA gymnastics veteran, redshirt senior Samantha Peszek, who earned a 9.950 to win the event.
Meanwhile, Oregon State started off with a 48.925 on vault and carried on a similar score of 48.800 on uneven bars, a few decimal points short against UCLA’s total score on the first and second rotations.
Things got shaky on the balance beam for the Bruins when junior Danusia Francis lost her balance and fell off to the side, resulting in major deductions and a 9.325 final score. Oregon State dismounted cleanly as a whole, eventually winning the event 48.950 to 48.925.
In the following rotation, UCLA scored a 48.700 in the floor exercise. Francis opened up the event with her renewed floor routine but could not perform clean landings, as she stepped out of bounds resulting her a 9.400 on the routine overall. Just one UCLA gymnast, Peszek, finished in the top six in the floor exercise, which the Beavers won 48.775 to 48.700.
“I try to do the best I can,” Peszek said. “I think getting our feet wet and into the competition mode was great.”
The Bruins struggled with consistency in the final rotation while the Beavers had successful beam routines, coming out with a 48.950. However, Lee and Peszek again signaled the Bruins’ takeover on the balance beam with a 9.875 and 9.850, respectively.
Peszek was also the all-around winner of the event with a 39.550, and won vault (9.950) as well as floor exercise (9.875). It was a strong start to her fifth and final season at UCLA.
“The meet left us hungry for more,” Peszek said.
Next, the team will host Arizona at Pauley Pavilion on Monday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. The Bruins were short on delivering clean endings in their first meet, but the Bruins said they expect to put these first-meet inconsistencies behind them.
“I am really pleased, and we made few errors which I am not concerned about at all,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field.