Gymnastics finishes Pac-12 run with victory on all four events against California
Senior Kyla Ross collected an all-around score of 39.725 in No. 3 UCLA gymnastics’ win over No. 9 California on Sunday afternoon. It was Ross’s eighth all-around win this season, and included a 10 on vault. (Niveda Tennety/Assistant Photo editor)
|No. 9 California||196.725|
|No. 3 UCLA||197.900|
By Cassidy Hunt
March 8, 2020, 7:13 pm
The Bruins ended their Pac-12 run with a win on every event.
No. 3 UCLA gymnastics (7-2, 5-2 Pac-12) defeated No. 9 California (4-4, 4-4) in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday. The Bruins posted their second-highest team score of the season and took first place on all four events in their final conference matchup of the year.
“Today was another huge step for UCLA gymnastics,” said coach Chris Waller. “I could feel a weight be lifted off of everyone’s shoulders because we saw that we really have four great events.”
UCLA opened the meet with a season-high 49.575 vault score – 0.125 higher than its previous season’s best – and beat California’s vault score by a 0.575 margin.
The first rotation featured season highs for junior Nia Dennis and sophomore Sekai Wright, and career-best marks for junior Kendal Poston, senior Gracie Kramer and senior Kyla Ross – who scored her first perfect 10 on vault this season and her third overall perfect mark this year.
“Based on how this year has been going, even when I land I’m never really sure if it’s a 10,” Ross said. “That definitely felt like the best vault I could have done, and I’ve been working a lot on vault this season, so I was thrilled.”
The 10 was Ross’ 22nd career perfect score and the fifth perfect score recorded by a Bruin this season.
Two UCLA gymnasts – senior Madison Kocian and sophomore Margzetta Frazier – returned to the Bruins’ uneven bars lineup for the first time in several weeks Sunday, and both contributed counting marks to UCLA’s 49.450 event score.
“It’s huge to have (Frazier and Kocian) back,” Waller said. “(Frazier’s) score potential is huge, and (Kocian) is at 100% of her potential given all of the years she has had surgery, and every opportunity they get to be out there is a gift.”
Ross won the event with a 9.975 – her 10th 9.975 this season on any event. One judge awarded her a 10, while the other gave her a 9.950, and Waller said he sided with the former.
“I felt that (Ross’ bars routine) was a 10,” Waller said. “I didn’t quite get a yellow card over it, but (the judge) had it prepared.”
The Bruins, who rank No. 2 on uneven bars nationally, won the event for the first time in three weeks.
UCLA posted an event-winning 49.275 on balance beam – led by a 9.900 from sophomore Norah Flatley – and entered the final rotation ahead by 0.725.
All five of the Bruins’ counting floor exercise routines scored 9.850 or higher, including event-winning 9.950s for Dennis and senior Felicia Hano.
UCLA’s 49.600 on floor was its fourth-highest score on the event this year, though only two other teams in the nation have managed to pass the 49.600 threshold on floor this season.
Ross won the all-around with a 39.725, while Hano posted a 39.450 all-around score – her career-high – for the second week in a row.
Hano said that she was feeling sick before Sunday’s meet but still opted to compete.
“I wasn’t feeling well, but warmups went well anyway,” Hano said. “Whenever my team needs that boost, I want to be there for them. It’s cool that I can keep doing well every week and still have room to improve.”
UCLA will compete in one more home meet next weekend against Bridgeport before beginning postseason competition at the Pac-12 championships March 21.