Skip to main content

The Bruins managed to emerge from the depths of last weekend's season-opener, but that wasn't enough to match the surging Beavers.

UCLA gymnastics posted a 196.300 en route to a second-place finish Sunday afternoon, getting the better of UC Davis while coming up short of No. 19 Oregon State's 197.000. After putting up their worst team score in nearly seven years last Monday, the Bruins looked more like themselves up in Corvallis, despite the missing bodies and occasional mishaps.

The Beavers were actually the ones with the biggest star of the day, a distinction usually designated for the Bruins, whether it's been Peng-Peng Lee, Katelyn Ohashi, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian or Nia Dennis. Jade Carey, the Olympic gold medalist on floor last summer, won the all-around Sunday and has now broken 9.900 in all eight of her routines so far in 2022.

Carey's immediate dominance at the collegiate level puts her well ahead of any competitors from Westwood two meets into the season, and with senior Margzetta Frazier out with an ankle injury and sophomore Chae Campbell missing the back half of Sunday's meet with an ankle injury of her own, those Bruins couldn't muster up enough points to compete with the Pac-12's newest rising star.

UCLA opened with a 49.175 on the uneven bars, as Campbell's 9.700 was the lowest score counted in the rotation and freshman Jordan Chiles led the way with a 9.925. With what turned out to be three of the top-four finishers on the discipline – Carey came in first – the Bruins were tied with Oregon State atop the leaderboards through one rotation.

Chiles again led her team on vault, this time with a 9.875, but a pair of 9.650s by freshman Brooklyn Moors and senior Kendall Poston held them back and bumped UCLA back into second. Campbell still scored a 9.800 despite sustaining an injury, but it led to her getting replaced on floor by sophomore Frida Esparza.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Esparza wound up stepping out, and her 9.650 counted against the Bruins because of Moors' 8.800. Moors and Campbell both broke 9.800 a week ago, meaning UCLA left a significant number of points on the board on floor alone.

The Bruins thus found themselves down big heading into the final rotation, and they would have to make up a 147.550-147.025 deficit on beam while the Beavers took the floor.

Freshman Ana Padurariu led things off with a team-best 9.900, then freshman Emma Malabuyo and Moors kept the youth movement going with 9.825 and 9.850, respectively. The trio a freshmen passed the torch to the veteran Poston, who fell on beam a week ago and was a late addition to the lineup Sunday, but she came through with a clutch 9.875 this time around that brought her to tears.

After senior Samantha Sakti put up a 9.825, senior Norah Flatley needed a perfect 10 in order to tie things up at the top, but her 9.300 didn't even count and the Bruins came up well short of Oregon State as a result. Even after breaking 9.800 in her three previous routines on the day, Flatley finished with a 38.850 on the all-around, fourth of out of five participants overall and second on UCLA to Malabauyo's 39.100.

Flately's inability to convert in the final moments didn't damper the mood in what was a clear bounce-back effort for the Bruins, though. Facing injuries both new and old, as well as team drama brought into the public eye on social media throughout the week, UCLA still managed to go toe-to-toe with a growing Pac-12 foe and break the 196-point threshold with room to spare after not even hitting 195 six days prior.

UCLA will have a chance to take yet another step forward on Jan. 30 when it hosts No. 20 Arizona at Pauley Pavilion. The meet, which will get underway at 2 p.m., will be the Bruins' home opener, and fans will be allowed to attend after the university's COVID-19 restrictions expired Friday night.

Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA Olympic sports stories: UCLA Olympic Sports on Sports Illustrated