Dennis, Esparza Win Pac-12 Weekly Awards
UCLA won two of four weekly honors in Pac-12 Gymnastics after its first week of competition, as Nia Dennis earned her second career Pac-12 Specialist of the Week award and Frida Esparza her first Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor.
Dennis, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, won both events in which she competed on Saturday in the Bruins' season opener, scoring 9.9 on vault and 9.95 on floor exercise to lead UCLA to victory over No. 15 Arizona State (196.150-195.950). Dennis' floor score clinched the win for the Bruins, who had needed her to score 9.775 or better to outpace the Sun Devils. Dennis not only did that and more, she also broke the internet the next morning with her second viral routine in as many years.
Esparza, a freshman from Pittsburg, Calif., won uneven bars with a 9.9 in her collegiate debut and also added a 9.8 on balance beam. Esparza, a two-time World Championships competitor for Mexico, was huge on her signature event, providing a big score within a lineup that had four first-time competitors.
Joining the Bruin duo as Pac-12 weekly award-winners were Arizona State's Hannah Scharf, who earned Gymnast of the Week honors, and her teammate Jada Mangahas, who received the Coaches Choice award.
No. 11 UCLA will travel to Arizona for a Sunday, Jan. 31 meet at 12pm PT/1pm MT.
2021 Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week
Jan. 18: Maile O'Keefe, Utah; Jan. 27: Hannah Scharf, Arizona State.
2021 Pac-12 Specialist of the Week
Jan. 18: Sydney Soloski, Utah; Jan. 27: Nia Dennis, UCLA.
2021 Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week
Jan. 18: Sarah Clark, Arizona State; Jan. 27: Frida Esparza, UCLA.
2021 Coaches Choice
Jan. 18: Jaedyn Rucker, Utah; Jan. 27: Jada Mangahas, Arizona State.