UCLA gymnastics posts season-high bars score in 1st ever Black Excellence meet
Winning the all-around title in UCLA gymnastics’ first ever Black Excellence Meet, junior Margzetta Frazier tied her career high of 9.950 on bars while adding a 9.900 on beam.
(Ashley Kenney/Assistant Photo editor)
|No. 13 UCLA||197.025|
By Coral Smith
Feb. 27, 2021 3:49 p.m.
Led by multiple season and career highs, the Bruins collected a victory in their return to Pauley Pavilion.
No. 13 UCLA gymnastics (5-1, 4-1 Pac-12) led the entire meet against Oregon State (2-4, 1-3) Saturday en route to a 197.025-196.500 win. The matchup marked the Bruins’ first ever Black Excellence meet celebrating the team’s current and former Black athletes.
“It was so fun, I honestly felt limitless, I felt empowered, and I felt supported and loved, and I know my teammates felt the same way,” said senior Nia Dennis.
Junior Margzetta Frazier took the all-around crown with a career-high score of 39.550, beating out her teammate freshman Chae Campbell and three Oregon State gymnasts. Frazier collected a 9.900 beam score and tied her career-high 9.950 bars score in the win, the latter of which won her a share of the individual bars title.
Despite scoring below her season average on beam, Campbell finished the meet with a 39.000 all-around, including her event win on floor with a score of 9.925.
Dennis won two events of her own on season-high scores, tying Frazier’s bars score and recording a 9.925 on vault to win the event outright.
The Bruins opened the meet by matching their highest vault score of the season, recording a 49.225. UCLA had put out just five gymnasts on the rotation for most of the season, but with six gymnasts competing, all six scored at least a 9.800.
Filling in the sixth spot was sophomore Emma Andres, who made her season debut on the event after only competing on vault once last season. Andres set a career high when she stuck her vault for a score of 9.825 from the anchor position.
“It helps the confidence of the team because you’ve got a little cushion there,” said coach Chris Waller. “Instead of going out with five competitors to have 9.900 or better vaults, now we have six.”
Despite UCLA’s season-high score, Oregon State won vault with a season-high team score of its own with 49.325, led by two 9.900 scores from Madi and Lacy Dagen. The Beavers also took the win on beam, as the Bruins were forced to count Campbell’s 9.425 after sixth-year senior Nicki Shapiro fell off the apparatus earlier in the rotation.
Another Bruin underclassman had a breakout routine on the bars rotation, as freshman Sara Ulias stuck her routine to score a 9.925, second only to Frazier and Dennis’ 9.950s. Having entered the bars lineup halfway through the season after a series of exhibitions, the score marked a career high for Ulias.
“Ulias is one of those very rare bar workers where everything not only feels effortless to her, it looks effortless, and that is something that you cannot teach,” Frazier said. “We all see how hard she’s been working in the gym, and for that to pay off today was why the team got so excited.”
Coming into the meet, UCLA ranked 17th in the nation on bars – its worst individual rotation – and had a previous team high of 49.125. The Bruins blew that out of the water Saturday with a 49.550 team score, their highest score on the apparatus since April 2019 and the third-best bars score for any team in the nation this season. Every UCLA bars score was at least 9.850, while no Oregon State gymnast surpassed 9.825 on the event.
“This week, we dedicated our practices to landings, leaps and handstands,” Dennis said. “We already have the performance piece and we know how to make a routine, and now it’s time to focus on details so we can elevate and take our gymnastics to the next level.”