Gymnastics to meet California in final Pac-12 contest of season
Sophomore Norah Flatley competed on bars and beam in No. 3 UCLA gymnastics’ meet over the weekend versus then-No. 18 Oregon State, scoring a 9.850 and a 9.900, respectively. The Bruins will host No. 9 California on Sunday.(MacKenzie Coffman/Daily Bruin senior staff)
No. 9 California
Sunday, 1 p.m.
By Riley Segal
March 6, 2020 3:02 p.m.
The Bruins have reached their final Pac-12 meet of the season.
No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12) will face No. 9 California (4-3, 4-3) on Sunday in Pauley Pavilion. The Bears will be the Bruins’ final Pac-12 opponent before the Pac-12 championship on March 21.
UCLA is heading into the weekend coming off a win against then-No. 18 Oregon State following a previous loss to then-No. 3 Utah the week before.
“The (Oregon State) meet had a lot of energy and the team was feeling really good,” said sophomore Norah Flatley. “Obviously we don’t dwell on our losses, so we weren’t really thinking about it as a comeback. (It was) just doing what we normally do.”
Junior Kendal Poston said UCLA wants to continue its goal of going bigger in every event in the upcoming meet after scoring a 198.025 in its meet versus Utah.
“The team really set (its) goals for the rest of the season just (to) be about going big, having no regrets, really just soaring out there,” Poston said. “We don’t want to be playing anything safe, we want to show our big gymnastics because we have it and it’s awesome when we go out and perform.”
Similar to UCLA, Cal has suffered losses to Utah and No. 12 Washington this season, but both defeated Oregon State, No. 24 Arizona and Stanford. However, the Bears fell to the Arizona State Sun Devils, whom the Bruins outscored by a margin of 1.725 points.
UCLA outranks Cal in every single event, holding the No. 5 spot or above in all four of them. The Bears’ No. 6 ranking on vault is just behind the Bruins’ No. 5 ranking, and Cal additionally holds a top-10 ranking in uneven bars – on balance beam, it is tied at No. 11, and it is ranked No. 15 on floor.
Individually, the Bears have no athletes in the top-10 ranking. The only event in which the Bruins do not make the top-10 individual rankings is vault. Otherwise, UCLA has two athletes holding a top-10 spot per event.
Coach Chris Waller said the team sets itself apart from this weekend’s opponent and all others with the authenticity of its performances.
“We go out on the floor, and we kind of bare our souls to the world and we share our story,” Waller said. “I think the way that we touch our audience is relatable, and I think that’s why people like to watch us – that joy and effervescence with which we compete, but also just the fact that we are relatable on floor.”
This meet also marks the second-to-last home meet of the season for the Bruins, who will face Bridgeport next weekend to wrap up the regular season.
Waller said that he is proud of UCLA’s achievements throughout the season – his first as head coach.
“I’m extremely proud about where the team has come (and) the growth the team has had. So many people have stepped up in terms of leadership and we’ve hit a lot of milestones, but collectively the team is incredibly connected,” Waller said. “Up to this point, the story we’ve written is we’ve got a dynamic top-three team in the country, we’re contenders for a national championship, but more importantly we’ve built something really special together that I know they’re going to remember for a lifetime.”
The Bruins and the Bears will square off at 1 p.m. on Sunday.