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Gymnastics looks to beat the balance beam and gain a perfect 10

Senior Katelyn Ohashi is ranked No. 2 in the nation on balance beam, posting a high score of 9.975 this season. Beam is the only event that UCLA gymnastics has yet to score a perfect 10 on this season. (Joe Akira/Daily Bruin staff)

By Cassidy Hunt

February 20, 2019 12:30 am

The Bruins are setting their sights on the balance beam.

Despite notching its season-high score in its 198.025-194.975 win over No. 25 Arizona (1-5, 1-4 Pac-12), No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (6-0, 5-0) posted its lowest beam score of the season Saturday. Balance beam is the only event on which no Bruin has received a perfect score this season.

“We made very uncharacteristic mistakes on beam,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field. “We should be scoring in the mid-198 every single time. We aren’t there yet but we are ramping up to that.”

UCLA scored a 49.225 on beam Saturday – its lowest score for the event since the Bruins recorded a 49.025 on Jan. 14, 2018, at Elevate the Stage in Reno, Nevada.

UCLA averaged 9.845 on its top five beam routines, 9.885 on its top vault routines, 9.925 on its top uneven bars routines and 9.950 on its top floor exercises.

Kondos Field said she gave each Bruin a pep talk Saturday while she hit the chalk on the beam with her hand.

“I have always hit the beam before routines,” Kondos Field said. “When I started coaching, the athletes would call the beam by a pronoun: it, she, he, like it had this power over them. I would purposefully touch the beam, hit the beam, so they realize that we are in charge of the beam – (the) beam is not in charge of them.”

UCLA ranks third in the country on balance beam with senior Katelyn Ohashi and junior Kyla Ross individually ranked second and sixth, respectively. They have both recorded high scores of 9.975 this season.

Kondos Field said she wants the Bruins who have had the most consistency on beam in competition to share their mindsets with their teammates.

“I think (I would tell the Bruins) that having strong cues and not really changing them when you go in is important,” Ohashi said. “I also try to approach it with having as much fun as possible.”

Ross – who scored a perfect 10 on vault Saturday – said that she hopes her performances help to carry her team through dual meets.

“I never really know what to expect going into an event,” Ross said. “But, I feel like we should have the same mindset going into every competition. I hope starting off with a 10 on vault helped to give momentum to the team throughout the meet.”

Despite eight perfect 10s on three different events, UCLA has yet to record a perfect score on beam. Balance beam is the only event on which no team in the country has scored a 10 this season.

“They have to remember what I always tell (Ross) and (Ohashi),” Kondos Field said. “Beam is your playground, go have fun.”

UCLA rose to No. 2 in the national rankings following the weekend, passing No. 3 Florida. The Bruins spent three weeks ranked third after they posted their lowest score of the season Jan. 27.

UCLA will return to the road to face No. 4 Utah (7-0, 5-0) on Saturday.

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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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