LIVE BLOG: No. 15 Arizona State at UCLA

This meet will be UCLA’s season debut, as well as its first competition since the graduation of its stellar senior class last summer. Whether or not you are a Bruin fan, this will be an interesting meet to watch for a number of reasons. First, we are all curious to see how post-Kyla Ross UCLA will perform. Vault and bars are the biggest question marks, with floor close behind. All eyes will be on the freshmen, who are an impressive group of athletes in their own right. Watch out for Frida Esparza and Chae Campbell, as well as Sara Ulias’ gorgeous lines on bars. Second, UCLA is known for its floor choreography, and we look forward to finding out what BJ Das has in store for us this season. Das received a lot of criticism for her work at the beginning of last season, but that negativity was silenced when Nia Dennis’ Beyonce-inspired routine went viral. She was the fifth Bruin in a row to go viral, so we’ll see whether or not the streak will continue this year. Finally, you should be excited about this meet because, well, it’s UCLA–you never know what can happen when it’s involved. Just sit back and enjoy!

Arizona State will compete for the third time this season after losing to Oklahoma in week one and narrowly winning against BYU in week two. This, however, will be its first Pac-12 meet of the year. ASU’s performance last week was much better than the season debuts; in particular, the Sun Devils recovered from a beam disaster against the Sooners to post their first 196-plus of the season. At the same time, this team can still do much better than that. The primary goal this week will be to start sticking landings, especially on vault and bars, and to keep their nerves at bay on beam. Sophomore Hannah Scharf had a fantastic meet last week. Hopefully she will replicate her performance in Pauley. 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cairo Leonard-Baker suffered from an injury last year and still does not seem to be fully recovered. She competed only on vault and bars last week, but we hope she will be well enough to perform in the all around this weekend.

Hello, everyone, it’s almost meet time! 

Latest news: According to the Daily Bruin, the UCLA freshmen will have an immediate impact on the lineups. Campbell is scheduled to compete in the all around and Esparza on every event but floor. Unfortunately, sophomore Chloe Lashbrooke tore her Achilles in training and will be out for the season. Additionally, junior Norah Flatley was seen on crutches just before the meet’s start.

Both UCLA and Arizona State are debuting new leotards today:

Deanna Hong’s UCLA Gymnastics introductory video is out:

https://twitter.com/uclagymnastics/status/1353096418806779905

Here are UCLA’s tentative lineups:

Rotation 1: UCLA vault, Arizona State bars

Tratz (UCLA): Yurchenko full, straight body, just a little hop on landing, great start! 9.850

Thompson (ASU): Jaeger, bail to handstand, little leg separation, double layout, nearly stuck, a bit of a leg separation again. Slightly messy overall, but strong start. 9.725

Poston (UCLA): front handspring front pike half out, stuck, just chest a little down, she’s excited and she should be, one of her better vaults. 9.875

White (ASU): Van Leuween to open, half turn to bail to handstand, beautiful last handstand, double layout, stuck, legs together, beautiful routine! 9.850

Frazier (UCLA): Yurchenko full, slightly piked in the air and a hop forward, not her best, but welcome back, Margzetta! 9.725

Scharf (ASU): Maloney with slight leg separation to Pak salto, half turn, full-in dismount, stuck! Great routine, just a few built-in deductions. 9.875

Dennis (UCLA): Yurchenko full, huge, flaired, stuck, WOW! Impressive first routine for Dennis after her shoulder surgery. 9.900

Clark (ASU): blind half to Jaeger, Pak with leg separation, good final handstand, double layout, slightly underrotated with a step forward. 9.750

Campbell (UCLA): HUGE AND STUCK YURCHENKO FULL, WHAT A DEBUT!!! 9.850

Boyer (ASU): Beautiful Maloney to Pak salto, ever so slightly leg separation, huge full-in but her knees buckle and she has to take a step forward. 9.825

Esparza (UCLA): Esparza gets scratched

Leonard-Baker (ASU): Maloney with some foot issues to Pak salto, stuck landing on her full-in. Apparently this will be her only event of the day, she’s still struggling with her injury. 9.850

AFTER 1: UCLA 49.200; ASU 49.150

A very good start for both teams, they will be pleased. Arizona State started to stick their landings, exactly as they would have hoped. UCLA had an impressive first rotation on vault, relying on good landings over difficulty. It’s close after one rotation!

Rotation 2: Arizona State vault, UCLA bars

Boyer (ASU): Yurchenko full, a bit piked in the air and a step back on landing. 9.725

Campbell (UCLA): Maloney to bail, ooof her hands slipped and she’s off. It looked scary but she’s ok. Good last handstand, double front dismount, a bit jumpy and with a big step forward. Difficult start for the Bruins on bars. 8.950

White (ASU): Yurchenko full, beautiful form in the air, just a substantial step back. 9.800

Taubman (UCLA): Ok, I didn’t recognize Taubman at first, she has longer hair and a ponytail now. Loooong wait for her, but she’s off now. Jaeger, bail to handstand, a little bit of loss of body tension, good handstands, double layout, leg separation but stuck landing, good routine, she’s overcome with emotion, bless! 9.825

Barbanente (ASU): Yurchenko full, slightly piked, chest a bit forward on landing, hop back. 9.625

Kooyman (UCLA): Maloney to Pak salto, usual execution issues, handstands a tad low, double layout, hop in place. 9.800

Mangahas (ASU): Beautiful Yurchenko full, hop back and a very slight pike on landing. 9.800

Esparza (UCLA): Maloney to Pak salto, beautiful form, Van Leuween, little short in the last handstand, double layout, slight leg separation, stuck. Great debut! 9.900

Smith (ASU): Yurchenko 1.5, a bit underrotated, quite a significant step back. 9.775

Frazier (UCLA): Maloney to Pak salto, beautiful form, big arch on the handstand, Van Leuween, double layout, stuck. Flawless, except for that arch. 9.800

Scharf (ASU): Huge Yurchenko full, stuck landing, chest a little forward as she fights for it. 9.875

Tratz (UCLA): This is Tratz’s bar debut! Maloney to bail to handstand, leg separation, full pirouette with significant leg separation to double tuck. She’s happy! 9.650

AFTER 2: UCLA 98.175; ASU 98.125

It’s still very close between UCLA and Arizona State, after the Bruins struggled a bit on bars and the Sun Devils had a good vault rotation. They both failed to break into the 49s in this second rotation.

We have an update on Flatley’s injury: She tweaked her foot in training, hopefully it’s not too serious.

Rotation 3: UCLA beam, Arizona State floor

Frazier (UCLA): Flatley was supposed to lead off the Bruins on beam. Switch leap to straddle jump, front aerial to back tuck series, full turn, everything looks solid so far, cat leap to side aerial, slight wobble, front full twist dismount, slight shuffle of her feet, super solid routine for Frazier, impressive! 9.800

Thompson (ASU): double tuck, short and uncontrolled  landing, double pike, much better landing, though chest still forward, good leaps, 1.5 twist to front layout, legs a bit loose on the second tumbling. 9.675

Poston (UCLA): beat jump to straddle jump 3/4, solid, BHS + BHS + LOSO (new series, I think), solid again, little adjustment, full turn a bit overcooked, dances out of it, 1.5 twist dismount, stuck, she’s happy! 9.775

White (ASU): double pike, good in the air but she steps out of bounds with one foot, Rudi, a bit overcooked, switch ring to switch ring half, nice leap series, front full to front pike, the best landing of the three. 9.750

Esparza (UCLA): full turn, BHS + LOSO, super solid, switch leap to straddle quarter, front aerial to beat jump, she was a little off on the acro skill but she gained her control back quickly, side aerial to back full dismount, WOW! What an impressive debut, exactly as expected but still wonderful to see! 9.800

Clark (ASU): Good double pike, slight slide back with her front foot, double tuck, big step back, a bit uncontrolled, switch leap to switch ring half, 1.5 twist to front layout, good landing. Beautiful contemporary music. 9.675

Campbell (UCLA): double wolf turn, solid, BHS + LOSO, great amplitude and solid landing, cat leap to switch half, a little stumble, round off to Gainer full on the side of the beam, overall good routine!

Boyer (ASU): front layout to Rudi, solid landing, double pike, big jump back and out of bounds, she loses her hair ribbon in the middle of her routine, hopefully it’s not a deduction, 1.5 twist to front layout, solid landing. 9.625

Sakti (UCLA): LOSO + LOSO, what amplitude!, switch leap to leap jump, solid, full turn, well controlled, side somi, solid, side aerial to full twist dismount, stuck. 9.900

Mangahas (ASU): full-in, a bit underrotated but nice to see an E-pass, punch front to double tuck, very close to the OOB line, good leap series, only two tumbling passes, good routine. 9.850

Kooyman (UCLA): This is her beam debut. Press handstand mount, we don’t see enough of them! Cat leap to side aerial, solid, BHS + LOSO, a bit of flexed feet in the air but solid, big wobble on her full turn, switch leap to back tuck, much better, BHS + Gainer full of the side of the beam, hop back. 9.600

Scharf (ASU): punch front to double tuck, a bit of an unnecessary shuffle back with the front foot on landing, front full twist to front tuck, a little stumble and a step back on landing, double pike, chest slightly forward but good landing. Fun choreography. 9.875

AFTER 3: UCLA 147.175; ASU 146.850

UCLA has extended its lead over ASU after this third rotation. The Bruins had a solid beam rotation, while the Sun Devils struggled on floor, having to count two scores in the 9.6s. After losing both its lead-off and its anchor performers on beam, there was a lot of speculation about how UCLA would do on beam this year. The Bruins exceeded expectations, though. The nerves that seemed to haunt them at the beginning of last season seem to be gone.

Rotation 4: Arizona State beam, UCLA floor

Thompson (ASU): BHS + BHS + LOSO, solid, switch leap to straddle quarter, short second leap, full turn, a bit of a wobble, side aerial to back full, chest forward and hop forward. Solid start, though. 9.725

Andres (UCLA): 2.5 twist to punch front, uncontrolled, very low landing, Rudi, big hop back, back double twist, some landing problems here unfortunately. 9.575

White (ASU): BHS + LOSO, solid, full turn, front aerial to beat jump, she’s on!, leap jump to ring jump, side aerial to back full with a little hop back. She has a ballerina look on beam that is delightful! 9.850

Hogan (UCLA): This is an all time debut for the sophomore. Front double twist, uncontrolled on landing, back half twist to front layout, Rudi, way underrotated. Landing problems again for UCLA on floor. 9.450

Mangahas (ASU): cat leap to front toss, solid, BHS + LOSO, a bit loose in the knees, switch leap to leap jump, front aerial, tiny wobble, side aerial to back full dismount with a little step on landing. Solid routines for the Sun Devils so far! 9.775

Tratz (UCLA): huge full-in to start, out of bounds, leap series with flexed feet, not pretty, 1.5 twist to front layout, much better landing, double tuck, out of bounds again. Fun choreography, the style we’re used to seeing from UCLA. 9.650

Clark (ASU): full turn, BHS + LOSO + LOSO, she looked a bit off but solid on landing, switch leap to leap jump, a bit short perhaps, front aerial, BHS + 1.5 twist with messy legs, stuck. That 9.900 last week was not a fluke! 9.825

Frazier (UCLA): roundoff whip to BHS to double tuck, double pike, good landings finally. Most original choreography so far, really engaging and well performed. 9.900

Reeves (ASU): BHS + BHS + LOSO, a bit of a knee situation but solid, switch leap to leap jump, full turn, front aerial to BHS to her back, this is her eponymous skill, 1.5 twist dismount, stuck. Good job! 9.800

Campbell (UCLA): front double twist, slightly overcooked, huge double tuck, almost stuck, front layout to front full, solid. Another beautiful choreography. 9.900

Scharf (ASU): double wolf turn, BHS + LOSO, slight wobble, side somi, switch leap to leap jump, a little short, 1.5 twist, stuck. Wow, what a solid gymnast she’s becoming! 9.850

Dennis (UCLA): HUGE double tuck, great landing, front full twist to front layout, clean, Rudi to split jump, another hit landing. Incredible choreography, the stamina it must take! 9.950

FINAL: UCLA 196.150; ASU 195.950

The meet came down to the very last rotation, after UCLA and ASU switched roles, with the former struggling on floor and the latter delivering an impressive performance on beam. In the end, it was UCLA that prevailed, scoring just over 196 for a solid start of season. The Bruins will want to clean their landings on floor, but they delivered a solid and nerve-free overall performance today, especially impressive considering that they started training only in October and that Flately’s injury upset their lineups at the very last moment. Arizona State will be slightly disappointed about failing to break into the 196s, but they should be happy about three solid and much improved rotations. For both teams, improvements in floor will be key next week.


Live blog by Talitha Ilacqua

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