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UCLA gymnastics heads into Oklahoma matchup with high national rankings

Junior Kyla Ross scored a perfect 10 for the fourth consecutive meet against Utah on Saturday. Ross also won the all-around with a score of 39.775, remaining undefeated in the all-around this season. (Joe Akira/Daily Bruin staff)

By Cassidy Hunt

February 25, 2019 11:53 pm

The Bruins are dialing in.

No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (7-0, 6-0 Pac-12) defeated then-No. 4 Utah (7-1, 5-1) on Saturday with its second straight score above 198. Junior Kyla Ross said she is confident the Bruins can make scores over 198 their new normal.

“I’m really excited about this team,” Ross said. “We’ve found what works and what doesn’t. I think that we have a good chance of being able to get above a 198 again, since we have for the past two weekends. We just have to stay close and keep doing what we’ve been able to do for the last two meets.”

The Regional Qualifying Score has officially been introduced to the ranking system. The RQS accounts for a team’s top six scores, three of which must be from away meets. It excludes the highest score and averages the other five top scores. This average determines which teams will advance to the regional championships.

UCLA’s RQS is 197.800, just .125 below No. 1 Oklahoma.

UCLA ranks first in the country on uneven bars. Ross is ranked No. 1 individually in the event and has recorded three perfect scores on bars alone this season.

Junior Madison Kocian is one of just two gymnasts besides Ross with a 10 on bars this year. The only non-UCLA gymnast with a perfect 10 on uneven bars is Oklahoma’s Nicole Lehrmann, who ranks fifth overall for the event.

Freshman Norah Flatley is tied for 13th on bars and is the only other Bruin to post a 9.975 or higher on the event this season.

“I like to focus on my handstands,” Flatley said. “If we have good handstands, they set up a really great bars routine and we are good about doing that.”

The Bruins also rank No. 1 as a team on balance beam. Two UCLA gymnasts own top-10 spots as individuals, with one of them being No. 1-ranked senior Katelyn Ohashi, who has scored a high of 9.975 on the event.

A total of four other gymnasts have recorded season highs of 9.975, including Ross, who ranks fourth in the nation on beam. Despite a No. 235 ranking, sophomore Nia Dennis has also scored a 9.975 on beam this season. No gymnast in the country has scored a perfect 10 on beam yet this year.

“Our beam lineup is coming together and getting stronger,” Ross said. “(A 10 on balance beam) is definitely possible for this team.”

UCLA also owns the No. 1 spot on floor exercise. The two Bruins who rank in the top 5 for the event are Ohashi – who is ranked first in the nation and has posted three perfect scores with her viral floor routine this season – and Ross, who is ranked fifth and needs a 10 on floor to complete a career “gym slam.”

“I honestly thought I had one of my best floor routines (Saturday),” Ross said. “So I know that if I keep dialing in, I can do it. Overall, floor routine has gotten better for me and better for everybody. I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Junior Gracie Kramer is tied for No. 12 in the country on floor. Ross and Kramer have both posted season highs of 9.950.

UCLA is now ranked fifth on vault in the nation. Two Bruins hold top-15 spots in the individual rankings, with Ross ranking third and junior Felicia Hano tied for 13th. Ross owns two perfect scores on vault this season, while the only other individual in the country to score a 10 on vault is No. 6 Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik.

Ross ranks first in all-around in the country with a high score of 39.850.

UCLA will put their high rankings to the test against Oklahoma (6-0) in Norman, Oklahoma on Sunday morning.

“I hope this meet brings us confidence going forward (to Oklahoma),” said coach Valorie Kondos Field. “Confidence. Loads and loads of confidence.”

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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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