I think everyone will agree that this is a VERY nice photo of this honor to the UCLA community. Photo courtesy of issuu.com
HOW THINGS ARE GOING WITH WESTWOOD’S GYMNASTS AND THE ATMOSPHERE AT THEIR HOME MEETS
The Short Answer:
UCLA’s gymnastics team is having an outstanding season!
And I’ve been having an absolute blast watch these young ladies from my alma mater!
Now To Elaborate:
As I was watching the Bruins’ last two home meets while performing double duty playing tenor saxophone with the UCLA Alumni Band, who has played at their meets since 2003,
I knew there was a reason why I considered this gymnastics team an absolute honor to Bruin Nation.
And I knew there was a reason why I considered this team my favorite in all of sports as they have done nothing but thrill the large crowds that have come to Pauley Pavilion, averaging 6,513 fans in their three meets so far with a high of 7,009 for their meet against Stanford on February 11th.
Presenting Kyla Ross’ perfect ten on the balance beam, achieved on February 20th. Courtesy of YouTube
Which once again is the highest attendance for all of UCLA’s sports save for football and men’s basketball.
Though it has played a huge part, the excitement and the just plain fun atmosphere that these Bruin gymnasts provide in Pauley has not only come from the three perfect tens (out of five overall this season) that Madison Kocian and Christine Peng Peng Lee scored on the uneven parallel bars – in the same meet, no less – against Stanford and that Kyla Ross achieved on the balance beam in yesterday’s tri-meet against Bridgeport and Utah State.
Madison Kocian scoring a perfect ten on the uneven bars against Stanford on February 11th. Courtesy of YouTube.
Which incidentally was her third perfect ten of the season as she has reached perfection on the uneven bars twice,
The exciting atmosphere at these meets has stemmed from the enthusiasm that coach Valorie Kondos Field’s band of Bruins have provided.
A big example of this enthusiasm was at the Stanford meet, where I (and what I’m sure were the 7,000 other fans) couldn’t help but notice how whenever someone did a great job at an apparatus, she was attacked and mobbed like she had just scored the goal to win the Stanley Cup and kicked the winning field goal in the Super Bowl – combined.
Stella Savvidou’s teammates showing some enthusiastic love after her bars routine against Stanford. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
Not to mention all the dancing around – to keep things loose, I know – between events as it was crystal clear that those athletes loved being UCLA gymnasts and really loved each other.
As well as the crowd as they make it a point to high-five their fellow UCLA students sitting on the sidelines after their final event.
That sense of enthusiastic fun can’t help but spread all over Pauley, where along with being the MC at the meets and getting the crowd pumped up, Rick Coy does a great job talking to the kids as they undoubtedly get a thrill out of being asked who their favorite Bruin gymnast was and being told that they won some prize among various other things.
Christine Peng Peng Lee joining the perfect ten party, following Kocian’s perfection with a ten of her own. Courtesy of YouTube.
UCLA’s Alumni Band is likewise an essential part of all the fun with the tunes that they play; being a member of such band, I know that first hand.
Simply put, these are outstanding young student athletes that are the epitome of what college sports should be about; I don’t ever have to worry about them getting suspended or arrested or in any other kind of trouble like seemingly too many college athletes nowadays.
Which I think is a significant reason why this UCLA gymnastics team is my favorite; they are wonderful role models and just plain good people.
Katelyn Ohashi wowing the crowd with the enthusiasm she exuded in this floor exercise in the February 20th meet, which earned her an outstanding 9.90. Courtesy of YouTube.
If what I’m stating is making anyone want to come check out a meet and experience all the fun for themselves, there are three home meets left, starting this Saturday, February 25th.
As for their chances of winning their 7th national championship (and the school’s NCAA-leading 114th), they obviously have an excellent chance of picking up that plaque in St. Louis on the weekend of April 15th if things go their way.
For more info on the remaining meets, here’s the Bruin website: http://www.uclabruins.com
Hallie Mossett doing an excellent floor routine against Stanford. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com