Sunday, Jan. 19 - 6:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Tim Daggett)
Live Stats - uclabruins.com
UCLA vs. Oregon State
The sixth-ranked UCLA gymnastics team (0-1) will host 14th-ranked Oregon State (2-0) in both teams’ Pac-12 Conference opener on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 6pm.
Tickets for the UCLA-Oregon State meet are on sale now at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. General admission tickets are on sale at the UCLA Central Ticket Office and at Ticketmaster for $8 for adults and $5 for youth (16 and under). UCLA students are free with ID and are eligible to win an iPad mini via raffle.
Don’t Be Late!
Due to the live television broadcast, pre-meet introductions will take place at approximately 5:50pm, with the first routine slated to start at 6:06pm.
Watch Live on Pac-12 Networks
Sunday’s meet will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks at 6pm, with Jim Watson and 1984 Olympic gold medalist and UCLA alumnus Tim Daggett on the call.
Live stats will be available at uclabruins.com. Live updates can be found on Twitter: @UCLAGymnastics. Special guests will be tweeting during the meet, so be sure to follow @UCLAGymnastics and use the hashtag #2014UCLAGym
In the Rankings
UCLA is tied for No. 6 in the nation after scoring 196.625 in the season opener. The Bruins are ranked No. 4 on vault (49.35) and floor (49.375), No. 5 on bars (49.25) and No. 17 on beam (48.65). Two Bruins hold the No. 1 ranking on an event, as Olivia Courtney ranks No. 1 on vault (9.975) and Samantha Peszek is tied for No. 1 on beam (9.925). Courtney is also tied for No. 9 on floor (9.9) and No. 10 on bars (9.9). Peszek ranks 17th on bars (9.875). Sydney Sawa ranks tied for seventh on vault (9.9) and ninth on floor (9.9). Danusia Francis is eighth on beam (9.9) and 22nd on floor (9.875).
About the Beavers
Oregon State is coached by UCLA alumna Tanya Chaplin, who was a six-time All-American for the Bruins and a two-time Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year. Associate head coach Michael Chaplin won an NCAA title with the UCLA men’s gymnastics team in 1987 and was teammates with current UCLA associate head coach Chris Waller. Fifth-year senior Kelsi Blalock leads the Beavers as their sole returning All-American. Also back are 2013 NCAA all-around qualifiers Brittany Harris and Chelsea Tang.
The Beavers won their season opener at Ohio State last weekend, coming from behind in the final rotation to emerge victorious with a score of 195.200 to Ohio State’s 194.750 and Bowling Green’s 191.950.
The Series with Oregon State
UCLA leads the all-time series with Oregon State, 45-20-1, but lost both matchups in Corvallis, 196.725-196.075 in the regular season and at the Pac-12 Championships, 197.850-197.375.
UCLA Edged Out by Florida in Season Opener
UCLA went toe-to-toe with top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Florida in the season opener in front of 5,265 fans on Jan. 11 but came up just short by the smallest possible margin, 196.650-196.625. The Bruins took the lead at the halfway mark after strong performances on vault (49.35) and bars (49.25) but had three sub-9.6 scores on beam that allowed Florida to regain the lead by three-tenths of a point. UCLA narrowed the gap in the final rotation with a killer floor exercise set that saw all six routines go 9.8 or higher, but Florida’s 49.1 on beam was just enough to secure the win.
Courtney, Cipra Earn Pac-12 Weekly Honors
UCLA senior Olivia Courtney earned Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week honors, and freshman Angi Cipra was selected the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week.Courtney averaged 9.925 on her three events in the season opener vs. Florida, capturing first place on vault (career-high-tying 9.975) and bars (career-high-tying 9.9) and second place on floor (9.9). In her collegiate debut, Cipra recorded a pair of 9.85s, tying for fifth on both vault and floor.
Francis Makes History with Beam Dismount
Sophomore Danusia Francis achieved a gymnastics first last Saturday, becoming the first gymnast to do a sideways aerial into a full-twisting dismount off the side of the beam. The difficult and innovative combo paved the way for a 9.9 score and also earned her the No. 5 play in the Pac-12 Sports Report Top 12 Plays of the Week. Last season at the NCAA Event Finals, Francis became the first collegiate gymnast to do a sideways aerial on beam.
Francis, who tuned up for the season by competing at the World University Games, had a strong showing on her other two events as well, scoring 9.85 on bars and recording a new career-high with a 9.875 on floor.
Peszek Strong in Return
Redshirt junior Samantha Peszek showed little rust in returning from an Achilles injury that forced her out of competition in 2013. Peszek took first place on balance beam against Florida with a 9.925 and was third on bars (9.875) and fifth on vault (9.85).
UCLA seniors Olivia Courtney and Sydney Sawa showcased their competitive experience and edge by posting five 9.9+ scores between them in the season opener. Courtney went 9.975 on vault and 9.9 on bars and floor, while Sawa scored 9.9 on vault and floor.
Courtney is an eight-time All-American who has won four Pac-12 individual titles, the most of any active gymnast in the conference. She has career-best marks of 9.9 or better on all four events, including 9.975 on vault and 9.95 on floor. Sawa earned All-America honors on floor exercise in 2011 and holds career-high marks of 9.9 or better on vault, bars and floor.
About the Bruins
UCLA returns five All-Americans from last year’s injury-riddled squad that gave an inspiring performance at the NCAA Championships to finish fourth. Leading the Bruins in 2014 are seniors Olivia Courtney and Sydney Sawa, redshirt junior Samantha Peszek and sophomores Danusia Francis and Sophina DeJesus. Courtney is an eight-time All-American and four-time Pac-12 individual champion (2011 vault and bars, 2012 vault, 2013 floor). Sawa earned second-team All-America honors on floor in 2011. Peszek, who is returning from a redshirt season after tearing her Achilles a year ago, won the NCAA balance beam title in 2011 and is a four-time All-American and 2008 Olympic silver medalist. Francis earned first-team All-America honors on beam as a freshman, and DeJesus was a second-team All-American on bars a year ago.
The Bruins lose a senior class of five All-Americans, including 2013 AAI Award-winner and 2010 NCAA vault champion Vanessa Zamarripa, who set a school record by earning 19 career All-America honors. Another loss is Canadian standout Christine Peng-Peng Lee, who will sit out another season to recover from knee surgery.
Lee to Sit Out Another Season
Christine Peng-Peng Lee’s long-anticipated collegiate debut will have to wait another season. Lee will have to sit out 2014 after undergoing an ACL revision surgery in November. She initially injured her knee in 2012 before the Canadian National Championships and had to miss the Olympics and the 2013 collegiate season after undergoing ACL surgery. Lee’s most recent surgery was a success, and she is expected to come back in 2015.
Larson Retires from Competition
Junior Mattie Larson announced her retirement from competition due to injuries. The 2010 World Championships silver medalist recorded collegiate-best marks of 9.925 on beam, 9.9 on vault and bars and 9.875 on floor during her freshman season in 2012. Last year, she had high marks of 9.9 on beam in her last two meets before sustaining a season-ending knee injury on March 10. Larson will continue to be involved with the program in a non-competitive role.
UCLA is having a mini-British invasion with two of Great Britain’s 2011 World Championship team members joining the Bruin squad. Danusia Francis, who trained at Heathrow Gymnastics, was the first to arrive in 2013, followed this season by Jennifer Pinches, who trained at City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club. Francis and Pinches led Great Britain to a fifth-place finish at the World Championships in 2011, its best-ever showing.
Francis returned to England this summer to compete at the British Team Championships, where she helped Heathrow win the silver medal. There, she qualified for the World University Games and was selected to compete for Great Britain, leading the team to a sixth-place showing and qualifying for the event finals on floor, where she placed sixth, just three-tenths out of a medal.
Pac-12 to Televise Seven UCLA Meets
UCLA’s first six meets of the 2014 season will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks. Also televised live will be the Pac-12 Championships on Mar. 22 in Berkeley. The seven televised meets are among 16 Pac-12 gymnastics meets confirmed for broadcast on the Networks. To see if your television provider has Pac-12 Networks, visit pac-12.com/channel-finder.
UCLA travels to Utah on Saturday, Jan. 25 for a live TV matchup against the Utes at 7:30pm MT.