UCLA gymnastics continues to dazzle on floor during Collegiate Challenge win
Junior Gracie Kramer was one of five athletes to record a 9.925 or above on floor exercise at the Collegiate Challenge on Saturday. With a 9.950 against Nebraska, Kramer has now scored over a 9.900 on floor in the first two meets of the year. (Amy Dixon/Photo editor)
Jan. 15, 2019 12:18 a.m.
Gracie Kramer jumped off the podium after her floor routine and fell into the arms of coach Valorie Kondos Field.
For the second straight meet, the junior scored just shy of a perfect 10.
Kramer’s 9.925 was the first of five scores of 9.925 or above – including a 10 by senior Katelyn Ohashi – for No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (1-0) on floor exercise at the Collegiate Challenge on Saturday. With a combined score on floor of 49.700, the Bruins recorded the nation’s top team score on any event so far this season.
“I saw them take what happened on the other three events and take it up a notch,” Kondos Field said. “It was just like, ‘No, we’re not going to play it safe to hopefully get that big team score. We’re going to do what we did on the other three events and we’re going to add the secret sauce for us – which is the performance.'”
Coming off their NCAA championship win last year, the Bruins did not lose any of the athletes from their core floor lineup, including Kramer, junior Kyla Ross, sophomore Pauline Tratz, sophomore Nia Dennis, junior Felicia Hano and Ohashi.
UCLA has also added freshmen Margzetta Frazier and Norah Flatley into this season’s rotation. They notched a 9.925 and a 9.750, respectively, in their floor debuts Saturday.
“I really feel like we just picked off of where we left off last year,” Ross said. “There are so many girls that have the potential to be in the floor lineup, so it definitely gives us an opportunity to rest when we need to. Just having that much depth is really awesome.”
UCLA finished last season No. 1 in the nation on floor exercise – anchored by the Pac-12 and NCAA floor champion in Ohashi.
After her Michael Jackson-inspired routine from last season garnered millions of views nationwide, Ohashi said she knew she had a lot to live up to this year.
“It was exciting the first time I did (my new routine),” Ohashi said. “We built it up as much as we could, like ‘It’s a secret, top secret.'”
Ohashi has only performed twice this season – and has again gone viral. In the last two days, her new routine has received over 20 million views on social media.
“It was crazy because I could tell that no one else was going,” Ohashi said, following her perfect-scoring performance. “The audience would get really loud and then really quiet and engaged, so it was really fun to just be out there and enjoy it.”
The Bruins will be back on the floor Monday as they host No. 13 Arizona State.