Saturday, Jan. 11 - 7:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Amanda Borden)
Live Stats - uclabruins.com
Season Opener Saturday
The fourth-ranked UCLA gymnastics team will host top-ranked Florida in the 2014 season opener for both teams. The meet will take place on Saturday, Jan. 11 in Pauley Pavilion at 7 pm.
Tickets for the UCLA-Florida meet are on sale now at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. For the best value, season tickets are on sale for $40 and include reserved seating to all five home meets. Single-meet general admission tickets are also 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.
Don’t Be Late!
Due to the live television broadcast, pre-meet introductions will take place at approximately 6:50pm, with the first routine slated to start at 7:06pm.
Watch Live on Pac-12 Networks
Saturday’s meet will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks at 7pm, with Jim Watson and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden 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
Bruins Open Season Ranked No. 4
UCLA opens the 2014 gymnastics season ranked No. 4 in the preseason coaches poll. The Bruins have been ranked in the preseason Top 5 every year since the poll began in 1998. UCLA received one of 31 first-place votes and 648 total points to finish behind No. 1 Florida (755 points, 21 first-place votes), No. 2 Alabama (739 points) and No. 3 Oklahoma (728 points, 7 first-place votes).
UCLA will face nine of the Top 25 teams this season and open with No. 1 Florida at home on Jan. 11. The Bruins also face No. 6 Utah three times, No. 7 Michigan and No. 9 Stanford twice.
UCLA No. 1 in Pac-12 Coaches Poll
For the third-straight year, the UCLA gymnastics team was picked as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 in a polling of the Conference’s eight coaches. The Bruins received 46 points and five first-place votes to edge out Utah, which had 45 points and three first-place votes.
UCLA in Season Openers
UCLA has never lost a season opener at home, posting wins 12 times, including last season against Southern Utah.
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.
Familiar Scene as Gators Return to Championship Site
When the 2013 season ended, it was UCLA battling Florida in the NCAA finals in Pauley Pavilion, with the Gators capturing their first-ever NCAA title and the Bruins finishing fourth. The two teams meet again in the same arena for a dual meet to start of the 2014 campaign. The Gators enter the competition ranked No. 1, while the Bruins are ranked No. 4.
About the Gators
Florida is led by 2008 Olympic silver medalist Bridget Sloan, who won the NCAA all-around and balance beam titles in 2013. Also on the talented Gator squad is 2012 NCAA all-around and vault champion Kytra Hunter, 2013 NCAA uneven bars champion Alaina Johnson and 2010 World silver medalist Mackenzie Caquatto. The Gators are coached by Rhonda Faehn, who was an All-American gymnast at UCLA under Bruin head coach Valorie Kondos Field.
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 is back at home next week, hosting Oregon State on Sunday, Jan. 19. It will be the second-straight week UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field will go head-to-head against one of her former gymnasts, as Beaver head coach Tanya (Service) Chaplin was an All-American at UCLA while Kondos Field was an assistant coach.