In their last meet, the Bruins had 14 scores of 9.850 or above. Eight of them came from one recruiting class.
No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (9-2, 2-1 Pac-12) is led by a strong class of second-year competitors. Sophomore Kyla Ross said the size and drive of this group, which consists of eight gymnasts, is helping the Bruins reach their goals.
“Having such a big class last year was a little bit of a shock to the rest of the team,” Ross said. “We came in with so many strong competitors and that fueled our team. I think it showed that we were serious about winning a national championship.”
Against the No. 4 Utah (8-1, 5-0), four sophomores and two redshirt freshmen competed for the Bruins. They accounted for 10 of the 24 routines for the night.
Their impact on the team score has been a season-long trend. Ross has scored a 39.500 or above on the all-around four times this season.
Sophomore Felicia Hano scored UCLA’s first 10 on a floor exercise routine since 2014 against No. 1 Oklahoma (6-1). She came back from an injury that kept her out most of last year, and coach Valorie Kondos Field said Hano had the largest change from last season.
“The biggest turnaround is (Hano). Her first meet, last year, she was overwhelmed by Pauley,” Kondos Field said. “Consequently, she was injured and out until the end of the season. This year, she’s just owning it.”
Others have specialized in one event. Sophomore Madison Kocian has come off an injury to post two scores of 9.900 or higher on balance beam. Kondos Field said Kocian could be rotated into other events, now that she is feeling better, since she scored a high of at least 9.875 on every event last season.
Sophomore Gracie Kramer scored a 9.850 or above in six of the seven meets this year on floor exercise, only falling below that with a step out of bounds against the Utes.
After both suffered a torn labrum last season, redshirt freshmen Anna and Grace Glenn have now begun their Bruin careers. Grace Glenn has competed on balance beam in every meet, averaging 9.843 this season.
Anna Glenn returned against No. 21 California (6-4, 2-3), and has scored a 9.800 on vault in two consecutive meets. She also competed in two exhibition routines against the Utes. Kondos Field said having back just adds to their already deep roster.
“Grace and Anna Glenn just have a total 180 from last year,” Kondos Field said. “It’s great to see someone like (Anna Glenn) come in and do three events. That’s super important for the team to know that we have that depth.”
While Kondos Field said the group was tough to control last year, she has noticed a change in attitude this season.
“The sophomore class is a very different class than last year. Last year they were all over the place,” Kondos Field said. “It felt like I was herding cats. This year, they are all dialed-in. (Ross) and Kocian – there’s a reason why they are Olympians.”