No. 5 UCLA gymnastics can’t catch No. 4 Utah despite strong score
SALT LAKE CITY — Competing short-handed, the fifth-ranked UCLA gymnastics team posted its second-highest team score of the season (197.450), but it was not enough to beat No. 4 Utah, which used a 49.775 on the balance beam to finish with 198.200 total points.
UCLA sophomore Jordan Chiles won the all-around with a season-best 39.775, recording a 9.975 on the vault on a stuck Yurchenko double full, 9.950s on the uneven bars and the floor exercise and a 9.900 on the balance beam. Chiles took first in the vault, the bars and the floor.
The Bruins (4-4-1 overall, 1-2 in the Pac-12) were competing without four-time All-American Chae Campbell, who missed the meet because of a family emergency, but her replacements all stepped up to contribute in their season debuts in those events in front of 14,000-plus at the Huntsman Center. Two freshman walk-ons made their competitive debuts on their respective events, with Maddie Anyimi scoring a 9.750 on the uneven bars and a 9.625 on the floor and Clara Wren hitting a 9.725 on the vault. Ana Padurariu competed on the beam for the first time and scored a 9.750.
Padurariu helped the Bruins take an early .025 lead after the first rotation, hitting a career high-tying 9.900 on uneven bars, one of three Bruin scores in the 9.9 range. Selena Harris scored a 9.925 and Chiles posted a 9.950. Margzetta Frazier added a 9.850 and Kalyany Steele had a 9.775.
UCLA lost its lead during the second rotation when it scored 49.150 on vault while Utah scored a 49.575 on the bars. Chiles’ near-perfect score was the only one to score 9.9+. Harris scored a 9.875, Frazier and Anyimi contributed 9.775s and Emily Lee posted a 9.750.
Utah (6-1, 2-0) pulled away in the third rotation after scoring a program record-tying 49.775 on the beam, led by Maile O’Keefe’s perfect 10 and a pair of 9.975s from Olympians Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker. The Bruins scored 49.325 on floor exercise, led by the back four, who each hit strong routines: Emma Malabuyo scored 9.850, Harris had a 9.900, Frazier received a 9.875 and Chiles scored 9.950.
UCLA finished strong on the beam in the final rotation, scoring a season-best 49.575. Lee led off with a 9.900, and freshman Ciena Alipio followed with her best routine of the season for a 9.875. The Bruins’ final three were a 9.900 by Chiles and back-to-back 9.950s by Harris and Malabuyo.
Harris placed third in the all-around with her second-straight 39.650, earning three scores of 9.9 or higher.
UCLA returns home to face Arizona State next Saturday (Feb. 11) at 2 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.