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UCLA gymnastics Pac-12 championships predictions

UCLA gymnastics student-athletes celebrate on floor at Pauley Pavilion. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

By Samantha Garcia, Aaron Doyle, Isabelle Friedman, and Genevieve Trimbell

March 21, 2024 11:37 a.m.

Coming off its third-best score in program history, No. 11 UCLA gymnastics is traveling to Utah to compete in the night session of the Pac-12 championships, attempting to bookend the conference championship’s all-time history with Bruin-claimed Pac-12 titles. UCLA will face off against No. 2 California, No. 5 Utah and No. 17 Oregon State in the conference’s final meet beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Aaron Doyle
Daily Bruin contributor

Prediction: Third place in Pac-12 championships

When the Bruins put four events together, they have the potential to win a national championship title.

In its last meet, No. 11 UCLA gymnastics recorded a 198.550, tying the second-highest score put up by a team this season.

Tied with them is No. 2 California, whom I expect to take the title this year.

The Bruins fell to the Golden Bears in their two matchups this year, which, for me, puts UCLA out of the running for first place at the Pac-12 championships.

UCLA is absolutely capable of winning its final conference championship in the Pac-12, but inconsistency has prevented the Bruins from reaching their full potential.

Just two weeks before the postseason, UCLA put up their lowest score of the year.

At this point of the season, having an off-meet can mean a couple of things.

It can mean the Bruins are set for a comeback, or it could mean there are still things to work on.

With Utah and Cal showing no signs of slowing down, UCLA has no other choice but to put those results behind them.

UCLA outscored Utah, beating the Utes for the first time since 2019, but when it came to their dual meet, UCLA once again underperformed and gave the win to Utah.

With UCLA’s recent track record against Utah, I expect the Utes to continue that trend and take second place, leaving the Bruins in third.

Samantha Garcia
Daily Bruin reporter

Prediction: First-place in Pac-12 championships

If you would’ve asked me two weekends ago how I predicted UCLA gymnastics would perform at the Pac-12 championships, I probably wouldn’t have been very optimistic.

Throughout the season, the team has been inconsistent, always falling short on one event.

After making improvements on said event, they would struggle on a different one.

It was always one step forward but two steps back.

But after watching the Bruins Saturday, I have gained faith in the fact they could win the Pac-12 championship.

It would be naive to ignore the fact that two top-5 NCAA gymnastics teams – No. 2 Cal and No. 5 Utah – will be competing for the title as well, especially considering both teams have defeated UCLA this season.

However, the historic performance on Senior Day could be the spark UCLA has been waiting for all season.

UCLA was able to come together on all four events, not only scoring higher on each consecutive event but also earning perfect 10s on three of four events.

It seems like the Bruins are peaking at the right time.

Having veterans such as graduate student Margzetta Frazier and senior Chae Campbell return to the lineup alongside consistency from the younger generation with sophomore Selena Harris and freshman Katelyn Rosen equips the Bruins with the tools they need to win this weekend.

This is the last Pac-12 gymnastics championship ever.

UCLA was the first team to win it in 1987, so it’s only fitting they are also the last to ever win it.

Genevieve Trimbell
Daily Bruin staff

Prediction: Second place in Pac-12 championships

Any predictions for the rest of the Bruins’ season hinge on one question: who is UCLA gymnastics, really?

If you believe the answer is closer to the 196.325 team who recorded a season-low against Arizona State less than two weeks ago, then the Bruins certainly can’t be expected to place above third this weekend.

But if you believe – as I do – that the answer is closer to the 198.550 team that competed just one week after that season low, then the competitive landscape shifts considerably.

UCLA’s 2024 campaign has been fraught with inconsistency. The Bruins have counted a fall in three separate meets. At least one key competitor has been out on almost every event at every meet. It seemed to culminate in that season-low score.

But a week later, with over a third of the routines differing from the ASU meet, UCLA’s regular season culminated in its highest score since 2004.

Even with that new lineup, it seems a stretch for UCLA to beat Cal, whose dominating consistency this year has been remarkable.

But Utah is another story. The Bruins beat the Red Rocks earlier in the year at the Sprouts Collegiate Quad and they showed strength against the fifth-ranked team in their dual meet.

UCLA wants to prove to themselves and other teams that it’s a dominant, top-four team, and that desire will carry them to a second-place finish at Pac-12s.

Isabelle Friedman
Daily Bruin senior staff

Prediction: Third place in Pac-12 championships

The Bruins have the depth and talent to go far.

But inconsistency has plagued the program, making me less than optimistic that UCLA can out-perform both No. 2 Cal and No. 5 Utah.

The Red Rocks, whom the Bruins outscored this season at the Maverik Center in Utah, pulled together a string of 197.500-plus outings and two scores above 198 in the last four weeks of the regular season.

Whereas in Westwood, although UCLA’s Janelle McDonald-era-record performance Saturday represents a shining example of the Bruins’ potential, the last month was, more often than not, lackluster with two low 197s and the Bruins’ lowest team score since 2022.

Granted, UCLA rested key lineup members, and others were returning from injury. With Harris, the three-time Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, and a host of veteran talent, the Bruins’ 198.550 with three perfect 10s demonstrated their high bar.

But I have more confidence in Cal and Utah to pull off average performances than I do for the Bruins to pull all four events successfully together.

McDonald said herself the program is nearly a top-five team.

But without the consistency to back it, the Bruins’ talent will only take them so far.

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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.
Friedman was the 2023-2024 editor in chief. She was previously the Copy chief and a slot editor and also contributed to Sports on the women's golf, women's soccer and gymnastics beats.
Friedman was the 2023-2024 editor in chief. She was previously the Copy chief and a slot editor and also contributed to Sports on the women's golf, women's soccer and gymnastics beats.
Genevieve Trimbell | Sports contributor
Trimbell is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and rowing beats.
Trimbell is currently a contributor on the gymnastics and rowing beats.
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