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UCLA gymnast Nya Reed honors Delta Sigma Theta at Meet the Bruins

Graduate student Nya Reed performs her floor routine at Pauley Pavilion wearing a leotard with Delta Sigma Theta letters on the front. (Brandon Morquecho/Assistant Photo editor)

By Samantha Garcia

Dec. 18, 2023 5:32 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 14 at 6:55 p.m.

For Nya Reed, Friday’s debut provided her an opportunity to honor the sorority that has become a significant part of her identity.

“When I committed, I was like, ‘Man, I get one of those routines, … one of those famous routines,’” the graduate student said.

Coming back from a yearlong hiatus, Reed, the six-time All-American, made her debut on Pauley Pavilion’s floor at the Meet the Bruins intrasquad. Reed chose to represent her Divine Nine sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, by wearing Greek letters across her customized white-and-gold leotard for her routine. She became a member of the sorority at Florida, where she spent the first five years of her academic career.

Reed, who has been vocal on social media about her involvement with Delta Sigma Theta, said the sorority has impacted her on the path to becoming the woman she is today.

“My ‘why’ for my sorority is to be able to be that Black girl that people look up to,” Reed said. “I want to be that starting point for them, and I want them to look at me and see that, ‘Hey, I look like her. I can do the same thing.’”

Greek life emphasizes the importance of sisterhood, and Reed has contributed to building a sisterhood between herself and her newfound teammates.

As soon as Reed stepped foot onto campus during her official visit, her teammates and coaches knew she would be the perfect fit for their team, coach Janelle McDonald said. The coach was impressed by the maturity Reed exemplified through the conversations they had before her commitment and said Reed has helped the culture and mindset of the team.

“She’s somebody that shows up every single day to give energy to the people around her,” McDonald said. “She’s so supportive of the younger athletes on the team, and she really wants everyone to feel part of the family.”

Reed spent four years competing at Florida, where she earned several athletic and academic accolades. She earned All-SEC honors in 2022, was named a Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American in 2020 and is a three-time selection for the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

At Meet the Bruins, Reed participated in two events – vault and floor – historically her highest-scoring and most common events.

Reed said she understands her gymnastic abilities have given her the platform to be someone that other African American girls can look to for inspiration to achieve their goals.

And despite being a new face to the team, Reed’s presence hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Senior Frida Esparza said Reed brings energy, expertise and encouragement as UCLA attempts to make it to nationals for the second consecutive season.

“She is always dancing,” Esparza said. “She’s running around the gym cheering for every single person on each event, and she gives the best pep talks.”

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Samantha Garcia | Sports contributor
Garcia is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and softball beats.
Garcia is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and softball beats.
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