Tuesday, February 18

UCLA gymnastics recovers from early mistakes to win Pac-12 championships

Sophomore Kyla Ross scored a 39.675 to become the Pac-12 all-around co-champion in the Bruins' Pac-12 championship victory. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins brought home the Pac-12 trophy with a final rotation comeback victory.

No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (22-2, 4-1 Pac-12) finished with a 197.500, coming back to take first place at the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. UCLA competed in the second session against No. 4 Utah (15-4, 5-1), No. 8 Washington (15-9, 4-1) and No. 10 California (17-6, 3-3).

The Bruins were behind after the first two rotations, scoring a season-low 49.150 on uneven bars. After falling behind early in the meet, coach Valorie Kondos Field said she told her team not to worry about the score and to just keep pushing for the title.

“I was really proud and impressed with them as a team and their grit and their character,” Kondos Field said. “I told them, before we went to beam, ‘Who knows what’s going to happen with this?’ But I know one thing. It’s in our hands to leave this arena with our heads held high.”

Redshirt senior Peng-Peng Lee won her last Pac-12 title with a perfect 10 on balance beam, after a mistake on uneven bars earned her a 9.425. She said she competed for her teammates, which led her to the perfect score on the balance beam.

“When I went to beam, I was, ‘I need to get a really high score for my teammates because they deserve everything,’” Lee said. “After I landed my beam dismount, I told them it was for them, and they kept me going through that beam routine.”

Sophomore Kyla Ross finished as the co-champion in the all-around with a score of 39.675, tying Utah’s MyKayla Skinner. She also won uneven bars, scoring a 9.975. She said she did not realize she had won the all-around at first because she was caught up in the team’s victory.

“I actually didn’t even know until after we knew we won (as a) team,” Ross said. “Everyone was just caught up in the moment of being able to get the team championship. I had a really solid all-around meet, which is exciting.”

Junior Katelyn Ohashi claimed the Pac-12 Specialist of the Year award and co-champion for the floor routine. She finished with seven straight floor routines of a 9.950 or higher, including two perfect 10s.

Kondos Field said the adversity her team faced in this meet will help the gymnasts focus on the details before competing in the upcoming regional meets.

“Going into regionals in the next two weeks – this is actually the perfect scenario,” Kondos Field said. “Because they’re mad with how they did. And they will work with more attention.”

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Assistant Sports editor

Perez is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's water polo and track and field beats. He was previously a staff writer on the football, gymnastics, beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's water polo beats.

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