UCLA gymnastics overpowers Arizona, tallying season-high score
Freshman Emma Andres made her season debut on vault and floor Sunday in No. 4 UCLA gymnastics’ victory over No. 22 Arizona. Andres scored a 9.875 on floor, despite finding out she’d be competing in the rotation minutes before. (Kanishka Mehra/Assistant Photo editor)
|No. 22 Arizona||195.375|
|No. 4 UCLA||197.675|
By Cassidy Hunt
Feb. 9, 2020 8:49 p.m.
This post was updated Feb. 11 at 1:37 p.m.
The Bruins credited their victory to comfort in Pauley Pavilion.
“Today’s meet was totally fun, but it was really just a normal workout for our team,” said coach Chris Waller. “These are the performances that we do in practice, so we went out and did what felt normal to us.”
No. 4 UCLA gymnastics (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) defeated No. 22 Arizona (2-4, 0-3) at home Sunday. The Bruins claimed victory on all four events and posted a season-high team score just one week after recording a season-low score Jan. 31.
“This is right where we’re at, and we can even go up,” Waller said. “Everyone did great today, they did exactly what they intended to do. They led with intention on every skill, and stayed with it the whole way through. They were mentally fierce.”
The Bruins opened the meet by scoring their highest vault score of the season – 49.325. Four UCLA gymnasts posted season-high scores, including seniors Felicia Hano and Kyla Ross, who tied for first place on the event with 9.900s.
The Bruins combined for a 49.475 team score on uneven bars – their second highest score of the season. For the fifth meet in a row, Ross took first in the event, scoring a 9.975.
For the third time this season, UCLA posted a 49.375 on balance beam – tied for its season high. Ross was the event winner with a 9.975, and she was backed by a 9.950 by senior Grace Glenn and a season-best 9.900 by junior Kendal Poston.
“This week, we’ve been asking, ‘Why can’t we?’” Poston said. “We decided that there is no reason why we can’t do great things. We’re a really great beam team, so as I was getting ready, I was thinking, ‘There’s no reason why I can’t just hit a great routine.'”
Despite the Wildcats’ No. 19 national ranking on beam, the Bruins – who rank No. 31 in the event – took the top spot.
Hano, who suffered back-to-back falls on balance beam in the first two meets of the year, made her return to beam with a 9.800. Hano said that she was excited to return to the beam lineup.
“I knew my team needed me, especially on beam,” Hano said. “I know that I’m capable of hitting a solid beam routine, so I needed to step up. I was a little bit nervous, especially after not doing what I’m capable of in the first two meets. But, we worked really hard as a beam team this week, and we all knew that we could go out there and kill it.”
Hano competed all-around Sunday for the first time in her career and finished with a 39.475, second only to Ross’ 39.700.
With six scores of 9.850 or higher, every Bruin floor routine scored higher than all six of the Wildcat floor routines – all of which were scored 9.825 or less. Senior Gracie Kramer and Hano tied for first on the event with a pair of 9.950s, giving Kramer her second floor exercise win in a row.
Freshman Emma Andres made her career debut on both vault and floor exercise Sunday. Andres’ score of 9.750 was not counted for the Bruins on vault, but she did contribute to UCLA’s 49.500 team score on floor with a 9.875.
Andres said although she found out that she would be competing on vault just hours before the start of the meet – and knew only minutes before the Bruins’ fourth rotation that she would be performing on floor – she was eager to officially make her debut.
“I was so excited to get started,” Andres said. “All I was thinking (before my events) was to calm myself down and do what I’ve been practicing in the gym, and trust myself. I’m really happy that I got to have this experience, especially inside of Pauley.”
UCLA will be back on the road next weekend to face Arizona State.