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In the delayed start to a new era, the Bruins posted their worst team score in nearly seven years.

UCLA gymnastics finished in third behind both Minnesota and No. 16 Iowa at its season-opening tri-meet on Monday. The Bruins posted a 194.850 – well behind the Golden Gophers' 196.900 and the Hawkeyes' 195.950 – to cap off the long weekend in Minneapolis, only breaking the 49-point threshold in one of the four events.

The Bruins were supposed to begin their campaign closer to home in Anaheim, but they were forced to back out of the Collegiate Challenge on Jan. 8 due to COVID-19 protocols.

As a result, Monday was the first time the blue and gold were on display, and they performed the worst of the three teams by a wide margin.

The sub-195 mark is a far cry from the 198 UCLA had been aiming for over the past few years, but with Olympians and All-Americans Peng-Peng Lee, Katelyn Ohashi, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian and Nia Dennis leaving the program in succeeding offseasons, the expectations were always going to be tempered. Still, with freshmen Olympians Jordan Chiles, Brooklyn Moors and Emma Malabuyo joining the roster and Norah Flatley, Margzetta Frazier and Kendal Poston back for their senior seasons, the Bruins supposedly had the bodies to compete in 2022.

But that's not how it played out Monday afternoon, and it ended in UCLA's worst score since Jan. 23, 2015 versus conference rival Utah.

The Bruins opened up on the uneven bars, where things immediately went off the rails. Chiles and sophomore Frida Esparza led off with 9.825 and 9.800, then sophomore Sara Ulias and freshman Ana Padurariu posted 9.200 and 9.075, respectively, after both falling.

Flatley's team-best 9.900 on the event didn't end up stopping the early downfall, though, considering Frazier hit her feet on the low bar to finish it off. Not only did the three-time All-American score an uncharacteristic 9.525 on the discipline, but she was also ruled out for the rest of the meet due to a foot injury.

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UCLA failed to make up ground on beam, although they didn't need to count the fall by Poston this time. The miscue meant the Bruins would have to take Malabuyo's 9.675, though, and they once again failed to surpass 49.

Moors led the way on floor with a 9.875, carrying UCLA to its first rotation over 49 on the day. Frazier's injury meant senior Pauline Tratz had to sub in on floor, but after taking out her 9.600, Malabuyo wound up with the lowest-counted score at 9.775.

A collection of five solid scores may have helped the Bruins regain their footing for a bit, but the 49.125 mark was still the lowest on the floor among the three teams.

Poston fell again on vault, so while sophomore Chae Campbell impressed with a 9.900 to anchor the event, UCLA had to count Chiles' 9.275.

Amid all the falls, injuries and more, it was a messy first step for coach Chris Waller's unit to start 2022. However, Chiles, Malabuyo, Moors and Padurariu got a chance to get their feet wet at the collegiate level, while Campbell and Flatley had their time to shine as well.

Back in January of 2015, the last time the Bruins stooped as low as they did on the scoreboard Monday, they went on to win every meet for the remainder of the regular season, breaking 197 eight times in a row en route to a spot in the NCAA semifinals. 

UCLA will return to competition Jan. 23 on the road against Oregon State. That dual-meet will get underway at 2 p.m., pitting Chiles and Malabuyo against Olympic teammate and floor gold medalist Jade Carey in Corvallis.

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