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UCLA gymnastics posts season-high score in tri-meet against Utah State, BYU

Senior Madison Kocian made her season debut for No. 5 UCLA gymnastics Saturday, scoring a 9.850 on floor and a 9.950 on uneven bars in the Bruins’ win over No. 15 BYU and Utah State. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

By Cassidy Hunt

January 19, 2020 4:12 pm

This post was updated Jan. 20 at 8:25 p.m.

The Bruins have officially crossed the 197.00 threshold.

No. 5 UCLA gymnastics (2-0) posted its highest score of the season – 197.425 – on Saturday night in a tri-meet against No. 15 BYU (1-0) and Utah State – who scored 195.875 and 194.750, respectively. For the first time this season, the Bruins posted a score above 49 on balance beam en route to the first place win in Provo, Utah.

“It feels like the season just started today,” said coach Chris Waller. “We got on the floor and put together what is a more typical UCLA outing. It wasn’t just the scores, but the way they carried themselves throughout the meet, and I am so proud of them.”

UCLA opened the competition on beam, where it scored a season-high 49.375 to take first place on the event. Both the Cougars and the Aggies suffered falls in the first rotation, and the Bruins entered their second event ahead by .575.

They never lost the lead.

UCLA posted a 49.425 on floor for the second time this season before rotating to vault. The Bruins took first place in both events despite recording a season-low 49.100 on vault.

UCLA’s 49.525 on its final rotation, uneven bars, was the highest score of the night and its season-high on the event. Senior Madison Kocian, who made her 2020 debut Saturday, scored a 9.950 on her first uneven bars routine of the season.

“I’ve been dealing with some shoulder stuff so I haven’t been able to train as much,” Kocian said. “But my teammates trusted in me and had my back, which made me more confident to hop into the bar lineup after two weeks of not competing. It was definitely the whole team’s support that helped me perform the way I did, and I was really pleased with my performance.”

Senior Kyla Ross scored a perfect 10 on uneven bars for the second week in a row and took first place on vault, bars, beam and all-around. She posted a 39.750 all-around score, which is her season-high and is the second-highest score in the country.

Senior Gracie Kramer, who scored a 9.950 and took first place on floor – the only event that Ross did not win – said Ross is a role model for her and the rest of the Bruins.

“(Ross) makes me want to be just like her,” Kramer said. “Everyone wants to be just like her. She gets in the gym everyday and she grinds and I don’t know where it comes from – she’s like a robot. She’s a prime example of hard work paying off, and someone like that couldn’t be more inspiring.”

UCLA’s 197.425 is the third-highest score in the nation this season, after No. 1 Oklahoma’s back-to-back 197.675 and 198.250.

Kramer said the Bruins hope improving their mentality will help them have success as they continue their season.

“It’s going to help us a lot to train (our) mental game rather than (our) bodies,” Kramer said. “We’ve been doing this since we were 6 years old. This is something that our bodies know how to do, so it’s going to be crucial for us to trust our mental game going forward. I think we’re on a really good track and hopefully it starts to pay off.”

UCLA will travel to Palo Alto next Monday at 7 p.m. to compete against No. 25 Stanford for the second time this season.

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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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