The UCLA gymnastics team stumbles in the NCAA Championship, but it cannot overshadow the incredible final season they had with head coach Valrie Kondos Field.
After it is all said and done, the UCLA gymnastics team came in third place in the 2019 NCAA Championships, falling behind LSU and this year’s champion, Oklahoma.
The Sooners complete an undefeated season, while the Bruins lose only their second competition of the year. UCLA’s only other loss was to Oklahoma in the regular season.
The Bruins had been on top of the world this season, riding the momentum and good vibes that were associated with head coach Valerie Kondos Field’s final go-round as the head of the program. To use the title of Miss Val’s book, “Life is too short, don’t wait to dance,” which is precisely what they did.
All season long, the Bruins have been putting their best foot forward and impressing the world with their hypnotic routines, viral videos, and series of perfect 10s. That led the Bruins to a season-long #2 ranking, a Pac-12 Conference Championship and commanding lead in the NCAA Regionals which booked their ticket to the NCAA Championship.
Unfortunately, it all came to a halt on Saturday. The Bruins went up against Oklahoma, LSU, and Denver for a chance at back-to-back national championships, but fell behind early, sealing their fate.
UCLA started their first rotation with a strong performance on the balance beam as they scored a 49.3875, but it quickly got away from them during the floor routine in the second rotation. The Bruins suffered out-of-the-ordinary deductions (including two out of bounds penalties) which immediately set them back. The Bruins scored a 49.3000 and was in 3rd place after the second rotation. Though UCLA finished with a 49.4250 on the vault and uneven bars, it was not enough to boost their score and get ahead of Oklahoma in the final two rotations.
The final results are as follows: Oklahoma (198.3375), LSU (197.8250), UCLA (197.5375), Denver (197.0000).
The Bruins missed out on another title, but it did not stop Miss Val from celebrating the sport that she has transformed as she celebrated with the Bruin fans and her squad after the meet.
College gymnastics loses a legend, but the mark she made will live on.
Though the final result was disappointing, it cannot take away from the excitement and jubilation Miss Val brought to the program and the university.
Miss Val, you will truly be missed. Go Bruins, forever!