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Gymnastics to face Arizona with improvements in mind for more perfect 10s

Senior Katelyn Ohashi scored her second perfect 10 of the season on floor exercise against Washington on Sunday. Ohashi also notched a near-perfect 9.975 on balance beam against the Huskies. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

By Cassidy Hunt

February 13, 2019 12:18 am

Coach Valorie Kondos Field said the Bruins have room for improvement.

Despite two perfect 10s and a record-breaking all-around performance for No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (5-0, 4-0 Pac-12), the Bruins posted a 197.600 − their third-lowest score of the season − against No. 18 Washington (2-3, 2-2) Sunday.

“We need to get (the gymnasts) to know that they can be great,” the coach said. “They don’t need to take extra steps or doubt themselves. There was no crazy out-of-controlness, but (they) have to learn to do the skills first and then worry about the landings after the skills.”

No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida and UCLA are the only teams to score higher than 197.475 this season. In the Bruins’ six dual meets they have only produced two scores below 197.600.

Kondos Field said while she has noticed improvement, she has yet to see UCLA pull together four standout events in one meet.

“We need to go bigger on vault, for one thing,” Kondos Field said. “We need to go big and find our landings. We need to do bigger routines than we are doing and keep control.”

Junior Kyla Ross, who scored her first career perfect 10 on vault and third perfect 10 of the year, as well as the highest score by any all-rounder so far this season Sunday, said that she wanted to work on mental preparedness before the Bruins return to the gym for competition.

“I’ve been learning how to stay in the moment,” Ross said. “I want to deliver my best routine at the right moment, and I want to have all great routines in one day. That is mostly going to be about deepening (my) routine and making it to the best of (my) ability.”

Senior Katelyn Ohashi − who scored her second perfect 10 on floor exercise Sunday − agreed gymnastics is a mental battle. Despite her perfect floor routine and near-perfect bars performance, Ohashi said the Bruins have work to do before they compete again.

“Every meet we’ve gotten better, but there are a lot of things that we can clean up for next time,” Ohashi said. “We still have mistakes here and there. I was a little crooked on my back handsprings, so I split my legs a little more than I wanted to on my layout to correct for everything. We need to build up confidence. We practice so great in the gym, we just need to hone in a little on the details.”

The Bruins took the top three spots in every event against the Huskies and won each event with a score of 49.300 or higher, extending their streak of consecutive events with scores above 49.000 to 40.

UCLA has six perfect 10s on the season and is one of only two teams to record a perfect score in 2019.

“We are still playing with the lineup a little bit and really trying to figure out where the judges are deducting so we know if we can go home and fix them or if they are inherent reductions,” Kondos Field said. “The team understands that there is not an athlete that has ever lived that has had a perfect game or a perfect meet. You make small mistakes, but you just have to adjust.”

The Bruins will return home for the first time since Jan. 21 on Saturday when they take on No. 25 Arizona (1-5, 1-4).

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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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