Brooklyn Moors does choreography on the beam during her routine

LIVE BLOG: UCLA Meet The Bruins

The eyes of the gymternet, or at least the Bruin faithful, will be on this intrasquad tonight. 

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock this offseason, UCLA has an almost completely new staff. Former California assistant Janelle McDonald was named head coach and hired well-known level 10 coaches Kyle and Autumn Grable while retaining BJ Das. The team culture took a hit during the 2022 season but the Bruins still managed to finish No. 12 and qualify to the regional final with Norah Flatley and Jordan Chiles advancing to nationals as individuals. Coming in at No. 10 and No. 9 on the WCGA preseason coaches poll and our preseason poll, respectively, tonight will be a big opportunity to show the world just how far the Bruins have come since McDonald’s arrival.

Along with the new coaches, we also have a lot of other questions that will (hopefully) be answered. UCLA will be looking for a Norah Flatley replacement score-wise, but freshman and former five-star recruit Selena Harris looks to be one that can match the transfer’s potential. Along with Harris, Ciena Alipio, Maddie Anyimi and Clara Wren will be looking to make a case for the Bruins lineups. Margzetta Frazier, Sara Ulias and Emily Lee are looking to return after suffering season-ending injuries in 2022 while sophomore sensation (and recent world champion) Jordan Chiles will look to replicate her success from her freshman season before making a run for another Olympics. You also can’t forget about Chae Campbell, who has proven time and time again she can be counted on in clutch situations, as well as fellow elites Emma Malabuyo, Brooklyn Moors and Ana Padurariu. Needless to say, this intrasquad will be full of star power.

If you’ve never watched Meet The Bruins before, it works differently than other intrasquads. The gymnasts are split into two teams (Blue and Gold) and compete against each other on all four events. In each round, a gymnast from each team competes a routine and a panel of celebrity judges decides the winner and gives that team a point. Tonight’s judges are all UCLA gymnastics greats: Nia Dennis, Felicia Hano, Gracie Kramer and Vanessa Zamarripa. The team with the most points at the end of the night is the winner!

With that, let the McDonald era of UCLA Gymnastics begin!

Hello world, we are 20 minutes out! Currently indulging in a re-airing of UCLA and Oklahoma from 2018 on Pac-12 Insider. We’re just now learning that junior Frida Esparza was not dressed for warm-ups.

Lineup Update! Of note, Alipio, Andres, Esparza, Hogan, Steele, and Ulias are not expected to compete tonight. So of the returning injuries, the only one we won’t see is Ulias.

So, fun fact: it appears there won’t be a Team Blue/Team Gold winner chosen, but they’re giving stars instead? This should definitely be interesting.


Frazier: Yurchenko full, hop back and looked kind of sideways. Good technique though! 4 stars from the judges.

Lee: Yurchenko full, LOTS of height! Hop back, but still looked great! Mix of 3 and 4 stars.

Anyimi: Yurchenko full, great distance, definitely piked it down toward the end. Hop back. Mix of 3 and 4 stars.

Harris: Here comes the No. 1 recruit! Yurchenko 1.5 and WOW! Good height and the smallest of steps. So so good. All five stars. As she should.

Chiles: Yurchenko double twist, good height, definitely could have used a touch more distance.

Lashbrooke: Yurchenko layout. Not quite what I was expecting since she has definitely vaulted a full before. Big hop back though. Mix of three and four stars.

Wren: Wow, that’s a new one! Front handspring front pike vault. I missed the landing, but I believe she took a step forward?

Good opening rotation for the Bruins. Harris was definitely the best landed of the bunch. Hopefully, we will see more 10.0 starts as season progresses, but for the first time, wasn’t too bad.

Can we also talk about how many times our recruit rankings have been mentioned just in the first 15 minutes??? We love to see it!


Campbell: Mount on the low bar, toe on to Shaposh, connected to bail to handstand, blind change to double front dismount. The angle for the handstands was rough, but the toe point was immaculate. All 4 stars.

Lee: Pak salto transition, caught it very close and a sizeable leg separation. Shaposh half back up to high bar, double layout dismount, stuck! Good landing, but that pak salto was not her best. All 3 stars.

Padurariu: mount on the low bar, toe on to shaposh to bail to handstand, the TOE POINT! and no leg separation, but she sat the dismount. Overrotation caused her to go backwards. Unfortunate because everything else was so good. Three fours and a five? I’m guessing the lowest number of stars they’re allowed to give are threes?

Harris: mounting on the high bar, Ray, beautiful in the air, bail to handstand, the SAVE on that pirouette before landing that double layout! She did bend her legs so she would definitely lose points, but the judges still reward her with five stars.

Chiles: Piked tkatchev, so pretty, the transitions were so quick, I honestly missed them, but the in-bars geinger was really pretty and the full twisting double tuck dismount was even better. Zamarripa and Kramer not giving a score is honestly a mood.

Frazier: Redemption time for Marz! Shaposh to pak salto was gorgeous, little bend on the first handstand, second one was much better. Double layout dismount, tiniest hop back. All five stars!

McNamara: Blind change to straddled jaeger, short handstand before the pak salto with a big leg separation, double tuck dismount. The handstands were short, but this could be a good routine if she cleans it up ever so slightly. Mix of 3 and 4 stars.

Anyimi: Straight body handstands, blind change to piked jaeger, beautiful transitions, another full twisting double tuck STUCK. WOW. Beautiful work from the freshman walk-on. Mix of four and five stars.

That bars rotation was great! The freshmen and sophomores are already looking lineup ready, and I’m actually really loving Anyimi’s work tonight. It will be interesting to see how McDonald structures her lineups going forward and especially with Esparza and Ulias looking to make a push eventually as well.


Beam is Emily Lee’s favorite event. Couldn’t be me, I can barely walk on the floor straight without falling let alone a balance beam.

Lee: Nice choreography to start, beautiful full turn. BHS LOSO series, right on the money. Switch leap to straddle jump series, front aerial to split leap, her fluidness on beam is just fabulous. BHS back gainer full dismount, smallest step back. All five stars. Well deserved.

Campbell: BHS LOSO series, already looking good even if she was slightly off. Side aerial with a balance check. Split leap to switch half, although that first leap looked not quite 180. Aerial cartwheel to gainer full dismount. A good routine even with a few wobbles. Mix of three and four stars.

Chiles: WOW the mount, so beautiful and well-controlled. BHS LOSO LOSO series, spot on. Switch leap to straddle jump, you can literally see the toe point through the screen. Side aerial to wolf jump, a really nice combination. Round off double pike dismount. It’s such a unique routine for college gymnastics and I am here for all the Chiles domination. Three fours and a late switch from three to five stars for Zamarripa. Gotta love it.

Frazier: She looks so serious on beam. Leap series was solid. Front aerial to BHS. Side aerial to split leap was beautiful. Her choreography is so good and she looks like she’s having so much fun tonight. All fours.

Harris: BHS LOSO BHS series. Beautiful. Switch leap to regular leap to full turn. Side aerial, her dancing right out of these skills makes this routine flow so well. Round off 1.5 twist, STUCK. Selena Harris has ARRIVED ladies and gentlemen. All fives, with another last minute switch from Zamarripa.

Malabuyo: The sass immediately. Wolf turn is gorgeous, BHS LOSO series. She reminds me so much of Peng Peng Lee. Front aerial to beat jump, then follows that up with a split leap to split ring. BHS to gainer full dismount, she looks ready to anchor this lineup. Two five stars and…two 10s? Sure why not.

Erdoes: BHS LOSO, off center and she falls. Shame because it did look beautiful in the air. Let’s see how she finishes. Made up for it with that toe point on the leap series. Aerial cartwheel to gainer full. Great way to finish it up after a fall. With a little more work, she could be a depth option. Mix of threes and fours.

Lashbrooke: I’m really excited to see her back! Front aerial to BHS series, little wobbly but still good. Another wobble on her leap series, but she saved it. Side aerial, split leap to straddle quarter was better. Gainer pike dismount off the end of the beam with a step back. Another good depth option for the Bruins. All fours.

WOW! I am loving that beam rotation. Lee and Malabuyo basically solidified their spots as leadoff and anchor with how solid they looked and Selena Harris did Selena Harris things. Compared to how beam looked last year with UCLA, there’s already a marked improvement.


Floor party karaoke. Because why not? Ooh, we’re going to see self designed leotards! Well, we were supposed to, but haven’t seen one yet.

McNamara: Front 1.5 to straddle jump first pass. This routine is described as surfer girl, so that’s fun. She looks like she’s having fun though. Took a step out of bounds on the last pass, but other than that, it was a solid routine all the way around. Could be a fun leadoff option. Mix of three and four stars.

Anyimi: A legacy routine? Say less. Round 2.5 twist, very overrotated. Second pass double pike, much cleaner on the landing that time. She’s having herself a time with this routine and I am here for it. Final pass, front layout to front full, very clean. What a debut for Anyimi, expect to see more of her once season starts! All four stars.

I just have to say I LOVE seeing them have fun in all this fluff footage.

Chiles: Lineup switch, but looks like she’ll be doing the same routine from last season since she just came back from Worlds. Double layout first pass, gorgeous as usual. Punch front into a double tuck second pass, I’m not really sure why we’re choosing that angle for the second pass, but alright then. This routine has always been one of my favorites. Got those leaps around, final pass is a double pike. Great routine as usual from Chiles.  All fives across the board.

Looks like now we will see the self-designed leotards. Loving the black with a splash of color on Moors!

Moors: Routine is based on the tv show Euphoria. Looks like this is just a dance through (apparently due to the wrapping on her knee), but the choreography we saw was fantastic. The intensity on her face and the artistry throughout. All five stars!

Lashbrooke: An Indiana Jones style routine. The gold belt is my favorite part of this leotard. First pass, double tuck, short and had to put her hands down. Her performance quality is something I’ve missed. Round off 1.5 second pass stuck, supposed to have a layout afterwards. Third pass, just a regular layout. Still working out some kinks due to her injury, but this routine could be very good for the Bruins. All fours from the judges.

Malabuyo: Paula. Freaking. Abdul. Leo is made with velvet and mesh with lots of embellishments. If this leotard does not make another appearance after tonight, I riot. First pass, double tuck, controlled lunge. Combination pass, sat down on the 1.5. She’s still bringing the energy though, which is always good. Her toe point on the leaps was immaculate. Layout for the last pass, but still very controlled. Overall, a very solid routine even with the fall. Three stars across the board.

Lee: Shang Chi themed routine. I actually like the way this leo looks. Let’s see how Lee ends her all-around night. She’s channeling her inner warrior. Double tuck first pass, barely stayed in but good technique. Second pass was clean, the flexibility in her leaps was great…based on what I could tell from the above head camera angle. Double pike last pass, little leg separation on the round off, hop backwards. A really nice routine!

Harris: Okay, but these leotards are everything. I’m loving the personal stories behind each one. Inspired by Selena Quintanilla Perez herself. Open double tuck first pass and plans to add a twist during season. Second pass is a double tuck. Her leaps were easily over 180. Third pass round off 1.5 to front full, clean landing. A stellar debut for the freshman!

Frazier: Leotard is inspired by David Koma collection. I don’t love this one, but I don’t hate it either. Vogue themed routine. First pass double tuck, nailed it. The straddles were over 180 and had the best toe point of the night so far. Double pike final pass with a death drop to end it. I am thrilled beyond belief to see her back and having so much fun. All fives with a 10 from Kramer.

Campbell: Beyonce themed routine to end the night. I think Campbell’s leotard is my favorite, with Malabuyo’s being a close second. Double tuck first pass, opened up early so she took a step forward. Front layout to front full second pass, this choreography is EVERYTHING. Layout for the last pass. Best routine of the night. Mix of fours and fives to finish off this event.

Okay, wow! So many thoughts. First of all, I think it’s easy to see that McDonald has already made a massive difference based on just the handstands alone on bars. Her energy is also something that you can see has influenced the team just based on how they all interacted tonight. BJ Das has outdone herself with the floor choreography and with a little more work on stamina, this floor rotation could be reminiscent of floor teams of UCLA past. All in all, the Bruins have a lot to be proud and I for one can’t wait to see how they open the season in Vegas in just 23 days! Thanks for spending your evening with me, until next time!

READ THIS NEXT: Embracing Passion for Gymnastics, McDonald Ready to Grow Into Spotlight Leading UCLA

Live Blog by Savanna Whitten

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!


    1. She was spotted with her wrist in a cast last month, unfortunately! You can check the “Injury updates” tab on the site to check the latest information we have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.