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UCLA gymnastics receives highest total score of the season, third perfect 10

Junior Madison Kocian notched a perfect 10 on the uneven bars at the Bruins’ meet against Arizona State on Monday. The score marked UCLA gymnastics’ third perfect score of the season. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

By Riley Segal

January 22, 2019 12:15 am

Sophomore Nia Dennis leaped up to hug Madison Kocian before the rest of the Bruins swarmed her.

The junior – coming off an injury from last season – scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars.

“I knew that the right timing would come eventually,” Kocian said. “It’s a long season, so I wasn’t trying to be too perfect at the beginning of the season.”

No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 19 Arizona State (1-1, 0-1) in the Bruins’ second home matchup of the year Monday. UCLA outscored Arizona State 197.775 to 196.125 with over 10,000 Bruin fans in attendance at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins’ score of 49.700 on the uneven bars was their highest score of the season on the event and their best event score of the meet, despite an early fall by Dennis.

“A lot of us are so competitive that it makes us more fired up,” Kocian said. “Personally, I just told myself, ‘Just do it for the team’ and it gets (me) out of (my) head. That’s what motivates us to do even better when you have a teammate that makes a small mistake. We’ve got their back.”

Though Kocian scored the only 10 of the afternoon, several Bruins came close. Dennis posted a 9.950 on vault, while freshman Norah Flatley and junior Kyla Ross garnered a 9.975 and a 9.950 on bars, respectively.

On floor, the top-ranked Bruins recorded a 49.650 overall, after three 9.950s from Ross, freshman Margzetta Frazier and senior Katelyn Ohashi.

Ohashi’s perfect-10 performance last weekend went viral, setting high expectations for her routine. Coach Valorie Kondos Field said Ohashi’s routine had to be simplified after the Collegiate Challenge as its level of difficulty had started at an 11 instead of a 10.

“I feel like there was a bit of added pressure,” Ohashi said. “I tried not to let it get to me because I have the same mindset every time I go into a competition. Something never goes the same twice, so you have to work with whatever you have.”

Vault was the Bruins’ lowest-scoring rotation for the second time this season. After the first five gymnasts did not score above a 9.875, Dennis had to adapt and change her routine, doing a simpler full twist rather than 1 1/2 twists to have a smaller margin for error.

“She wanted to do the 1 1/2,” Kondos Field said. “We put her (at the end of the rotation) knowing that if all five hit she would do the 1 1/2. But since (they) didn’t hit, we asked her to do a full.”

The Bruins will next face Stanford on Sunday.

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Riley Segal | Sports reporter
Segal is currently a reporter on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a contributor on the women's volleyball beat.
Segal is currently a reporter on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a contributor on the women's volleyball beat.
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