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UCLA gymnastics NCAA California Regional 2024 predictions

Members of UCLA gymnastics celebrate on floor. (Eden Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

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

April 3, 2024 3:52 p.m.

No. 9 UCLA gymnastics will have a shot to qualify for nationals for the second straight year at the NCAA California Regional, where it will face off against No. 3 California and No. 6 Denver, among others, to try and secure a trip to Fort Worth, Texas. The Daily Bruin Sports gymnastics beat writers project where they think the Bruins will finish in Berkeley and if a national championship is still in the cards in 2024.


Aaron Doyle

Daily Bruin contributor
Prediction: Second place in NCAA California regional final

No. 9 UCLA gymnastics can’t let its guard down in the first round.

Its main competitor will be Denver, which holds the sixth spot in the national rankings. Two other Pac-12 teams will join UCLA in the first round, including Arizona State, which upset the Bruins earlier in the regular season.

This round will be the easiest of the two for UCLA, but in order to advance, it will need a solid hit. The second round should be a battle between Cal, UCLA and Denver.

Cal is coming off an off-meet at the Pac-12 championships, but that shouldn’t derail it from the path it has been going along all season. Cal has proved that it can win the national title, and I expect a hit from the Golden Bears in both rounds and for them to advance to the national championship.

UCLA and Denver should be neck-in-neck in the second round, but UCLA has put together two solid meets in a row and looks on track to do the same at regionals. Denver has some big names, like two-time Big-12 gymnast of the year Jessica Hutchinson, but UCLA has shown it can handle the postseason pressure after its second-place finish at conference championships.

I predict the Bruins will ride the wave they created at Pac-12s and cruise to a spot at the national championships later this month.

Sam Garcia
Daily Bruin reporter
Prediction: Second place in NCAA California regional final

The Bruins’ chances of punching their ticket to Fort Worth will be difficult as they face off against two higher-ranked teams – No. 3 California and No. 6 Denver.

No. 9 UCLA was placed in this same situation at the Pac-12 Championships with Cal and Utah standing in its way of first place. Despite falling to the Utes, the Bruins were able to defeat the Golden Bears, finishing in second place.

Considering the home-crowd advantage and fire sparked from being upset by two lower-ranked teams last week, Cal is likely going to show up to Haas Pavilion ready to take the championship.

That leaves the Bruins and the Pioneers to battle to secure their spots in nationals.

Although the team fell to Denver early in the season, it seems UCLA has grown over the season, building its results as the postseason neared.

The momentum that the Bruins have built throughout the last two weeks may be the boost to earn their way back to Fort Worth.

Genevieve Trimbell
Daily Bruin staff
Prediction: Top two in NCAA California regional final

By the rankings, it would be an upset for UCLA to make nationals this year.

Both No. 3 Cal and No. 6 Denver are ahead of UCLA, and have been nearly all season. But while the Golden Bears and Pioneers have arguably had more consistent seasons than the Bruins, I believe UCLA will prevail against at least one of them in Berkeley.

It seems unlikely that Cal, ranked No. 2 for much of the season, will fail to secure a nationals berth, especially while competing at home. But just two weekends ago at the Pac-12 championships, Cal faltered on seemingly every event, indicating potential cracks for UCLA to capitalize upon and serving as a reminder that on meet day, anything can happen.

On paper, Denver and Cal appear to have a better chance at success this weekend. But in the past two weeks of the NCAA season, UCLA has shown a fire to re-cement its legacy as a top-tier NCAA program after failing to qualify for nationals twice over the past three years.

Call it Bruin magic, or sheer blind optimism, but I see the Bruins triumphing in the Bay Area – likely placing second, but possibly securing an outright victory – and punching another ticket to Fort Worth.

Isabelle Friedman
Daily Bruin senior staff
Prediction: Top two in NCAA California regional final

Katelyn Rosen took a deep bow at the waist and threw a fist into the air following her bars dismount at the Pac-12 championships.

The freshman, who finished fourth in the all-around in Utah, has developed a reputation beyond that of a standout freshman on the competition floor. Rosen’s post-routine celebrations draw attention online with a flair for the dramatics outshining that of the most veteran NCAA gymnasts.

From her Spider-Man dismount in warmups or lining up a bowling ball for a clear strike after saluting the judges, audiences can’t help but smile at Rosen’s pure spirit and creativity when the cameras are on her.

But what do Rosen’s celebrations have to do with the Bruins’ postseason prospects?

The NCAA loves a story – a main character.

Now, I’m not saying that the NCAA follows a script, but I am certain that Rosen has a few more celebratory moves up her sleeve that would awe an ESPN national broadcast audience.

Perhaps this blurb is more of a desperate desire for entertainment than an educated prediction, but Rosen’s poses – and the rest of UCLA gymnastics – would shine under a national spotlight, and they’ll only get there with a top-two finish at the NCAA California Regional.

Benjamin Royer
Assistant Sports editor
Prediction: Third place in NCAA California regional final

Pulling it all back and looking simply at the NCAA California regional, UCLA already lost to Cal and Denver away from home in 2024 this year.

Of course, I’d be remiss to count the Bruins out. In recent meets, individual gymnasts haven’t been better. Sophomore Selena Harris and Rosen could lift UCLA above the rest and clinch a spot at nationals, particularly if combined with strong performances from multi-event athletes senior Chae Campbell and junior Emma Malabuyo.

But where they may falter is within the details. Although it’s been tested across the season, depth athletes need to step above their averages – sticking when it counts to make sure the “make or break” doesn’t do the latter.

Cal is the second-best team in the nation and, despite its third-place finish at the Pac-12 championships and No. 3 national ranking, I expect a comeback showing in front of the Golden Bear faithful.

If UCLA wants to defeat Denver and leap ahead into the second spot at the regional final, it’ll need to continue its late-season rise with Malabuyo, Campbell and graduate student Margzetta Frazier as a part of big rotations.

Nationals are not out of the cards. But I don’t see it coming together in 2024.

Next year, however, will be a much different story.

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Benjamin Royer | Alumnus
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
Royer was the 2023-2024 Assistant Sports editor on the baseball, gymnastics and men's water polo beats and a reporter on the football beat. He was also a staff writer on the baseball, football and gymnastics beats in 2022-2023. He studied communication and graduated in 2024.
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.
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.
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.
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