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Gymnastics lands top score of season in victory over Oregon State

Junior Kyla Ross recorded her second perfect 10 of the season on the uneven bars against Oregon State on Saturday. She also posted two 9.900s and a 9.850 on the other three events against the Beavers. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

By Cassidy Hunt

February 3, 2019 1:10 pm

The Bruins recorded their highest score of the season this weekend.

No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 20 Oregon State (1-2, 1-2) 197.900-197.450 on Saturday. The win comes one week after the Bruins posted their lowest score since the start of the 2018 season. The Beavers scored their highest total since 2017, but it was not enough to come out on top.

“I’m honestly really proud of the team,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field. “I’m most impressed that the athletes that made mistakes came back really well. That’s the sign of a great athlete, one that can have a team stick behind them and finish strong.”

Junior Kyla Ross scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars for the second time in three weeks. The all-rounder also posted two 9.900s and a 9.850 to round out her weekend outing.

Ross stuck her first several skills on beam before wobbling and ending her chances of adding a second perfect 10 to her day.

“It started off as one of my best beam routines,” Ross said. “But when it got to my tricky series, I was a little bit upset that I wobbled but I still finished strong. I get excited sometimes when it’s going well, so I need to focus and keep calm throughout the routine in the future.”

The Bruins bested the Beavers in every event besides floor exercise, despite UCLA’s No. 1 national ranking in the event. Senior Katelyn Ohashi − who is ranked No. 1 individually on floor − only competed on balance beam on Saturday. She opted instead to take the week off the floor rather than compete for the fifth week in a row.

Assistant coach Jordyn Wieber said Ohashi has been training to complete a split double layout in her floor routine, which she has not attempted in competition since she scored a perfect 10 at the Collegiate Challenge on Jan. 12.

Wieber added that Ohashi feared that if she attempted to do her routine without a split element on Saturday, she would be confused when it came time to do the the split double layout.

“The split double layout adds an impressive factor and is really fun,” Wieber said. “We took a step back this week to dial in her technique a bit, because she was getting a little confused between the two and she wants to add the skill back into her routine next week. It is definitely a hard skill to do and it requires specific timing.”

Sophomore Nia Dennis posted the highest balance beam mark of her career in Corvallis, Oregon, recording a near-perfect 9.975 and beating her previous top score by .100 points. Dennis also recorded 9.925s on vault and floor.

“(Hitting my routines) gave me the confidence that I needed,” Dennis said. “I trained so hard to get where I am now, so I don’t need to hold anything back, I just need to do what I know I know how to do.”

Junior Felicia Hano fell early in her uneven bars routine, causing her to post a 9.200 for the event. However, Hano salvaged the meet and finished with a 9.950 on vault and a 9.900 on floor.

Kondos Field said she wants the team to work on consistency in the coming week before taking on No. 12 Washington in Seattle on Sunday.

“When quarterbacks throw a Hail Mary, they don’t just close their eyes, throw it and say a prayer – they actually throw the ball in a certain direction,” Kondos Field said. “We need to do that. We want to get consistent with our big, aggressive gymnastics.”

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Cassidy Hunt | Sports staff
Hunt is currently a Sports staff writer on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, women's water polo and swim & dive beats.
Hunt is currently a Sports staff writer on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, women's water polo and swim & dive beats.
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