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UCLA Opens Pac-12 Play at Oregon State Sunday

Jan 20, 2022
Jordan Chiles

The Bruins kick off Pac-12 play with a dual meet at Oregon State on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2pm. The meet will be televised live on Pac-12 Network, with Alisa Mowe and Rich Burk on the call.

Sunday's meet will be the first battle between 2020 U.S. Olympians, as UCLA's Jordan Chiles and Oregon State's Jade Carey are slated to compete for their respective collegiate teams. Chiles helped lead Team USA to a silver medal after unexpectedly stepping in for teammates Simone Biles on two events in the team final. Carey won the gold medal on the floor exercise and qualified to the all-around final, where she placed eighth. Both freshman gymnasts deferred enrollment multiple years in order to train for the Olympics. Chiles originally signed a letter-of-intent with UCLA in 2018, and Carey signed with Oregon State in 2017. Chiles competed on just vault and bars in her collegiate debut Monday, with her high mark a 9.825 on uneven bars. Carey in her debut placed first on every event and the all-around and ranks first in the nation in the all-around and on uneven bars.

UCLA opened the season on the road Monday against host Minnesota and visiting Iowa and placed third with a score of 194.850. The Bruins got off to a slow start, counting a fall on uneven bars in the first rotation for a 48.300, and ended with a rough vault rotation, scoring 48.500. Norah Flatley and Chae Campbell recorded UCLA's only 9.9 scores, on bars and vault, respectively. UCLA's best team mark came on floor exercise with a 49.125. Freshman Brooklyn Moors led the charge with a 9.875, and Flatley debuted a triple full en route to a 9.850. Sophomore Sara Ulias led off with a career-high 9.800. The Bruins fell just shy of a 49 on balance beam, scoring 48.925. Campbell and Samantha Sakti each scored 9.850 to led the team. Freshman Ana Padurariu added a leadoff 9.825.

After missing the entire 2021 regular season with an ankle injury, senior Norah Flatley is back at full strength for 2022. Flatley injured her ankle during warmups of the Bruins' season opener and did not return until she competed on uneven bars at the Pac-12 Championships, where she scored 9.875. She returned to balance beam at the NCAA Regionals and scored 9.875 on day one and 9.900 on day two. In the season opener, Flatley competed in the all-around, scoring 39.225 to place third. It was her first all-around competition since the second meet of her freshman campaign. Flatley earned All-America honors on uneven bars as a freshman in 2019 and is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection on beam. She holds career-bests of 9.975 on bars and 9.950 on beam and floor.

UCLA's Canadian freshmen Brooklyn Moors and Ana Padurariu made strong impressions in their UCLA debuts on Monday. For Moors, the 2020 Olympian and three-time World floor finalist, floor exercise routine was a show-stopper, highlighted by a stuck front handpsring/double front and her patented expressive dance. Her 9.875 score led the Bruins on the event. Moors also added a 9.850 on vault, tying for fifth place. Padurariu, the 2019 World silver medalist on balance beam, served as UCLA's leadoff on the event and scored a solid 9.825.

UCLA returns four Pac-12 champions in Chae Campbell (floor), Margzetta Frazier (bars), Pauline Tratz (floor) and Sekai Wright (vault). Campbell went on to earn All-America honors in the all-around, beam and floor, and Frazier picked up her third consecutive All-America honor on uneven bars. The Bruins return 20 of 24 routines from their 2021 postseason squad. The freshman class, ranked No. 2 nationally by College Gym News, is led by Olympic silver medalist Jordan Chiles, Canadian Olympian Brooklyn Moors, Olympic alternate Emma Malabuyo and World beam medalist Ana Padurariu, all of whom deferred enrollment a year ago while training for the delayed Olympics. The Bruins went 14-7 overall in 2021 and finished third at the NCAA Morgantown Regional.

The Bruins regained the services of fifth-year seniors Kendal Poston and Pauline Tratz when the pair opted to return for an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their leadership and experience will be a huge asset for a Bruin team that has six freshmen and just five athletes who have competed at the NCAA Championships. Poston and Tratz are the last remaining Bruins from their last NCAA Championship squad in 2018. Poston, a three-time Scholastic All-American, competed on vault and beam in every meet in 2021 and has career-high marks of 9.9 on those two events. Tratz, the 2021 Pac-12 Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earned All-Pac-12 honors on floor in both 2018 and 2021 and earned a share of the Pac-12 floor title last season. Tratz's top marks are 9.95 on floor, 9.925 on vault and 9.775 on bars.

Before arriving to Westwood for their freshman season, a trio of Bruins spent part of their summer in Tokyo at the 2020 Olympics. Jordan Chiles, who deferred enrollment two seasons to pursue her Olympic dream after originally signing her national letter of intent in November 2018, made her dream a reality by being selected to the U.S. team in June 2021 after third-place finishes and eight-for-eight performances at both the U.S. Championships and the Olympic Trials. Chiles memorably stepped in unexpectedly with hit routines on bars and beam during the team final in place of teammate Simone Biles, who was unable to compete. Emma Malabuyo deferred enrollment for a year after the Olympics were delayed, and her UCLA postponement also paid off, as she was named an alternate for the U.S. squad after a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Championships and a ninth-place finish at the Trials. Brooklyn Moors redshirted in 2021, enrolling remotely while she continued to train in Canada for the Olympics. She qualified for the all-around final at the Olympics, finishing 16th overall. Also joining the three freshmen in Tokyo was UCLA alumna Danusia Francis, who represented Jamaica as an individual competitor.

Although UCLA did not qualify as a team to the 2021 NCAA Championships after finishing third at the NCAA Morgantown Regional, three Bruins qualified as individuals - all-arounder Chae Campbell and individual event competitors Nia Dennis (vault) and Margzetta Frazier (bars). Campbell had an outstanding all-around competition, finishing 14th overall in the all-around and earning second-team All-America honors. She also finished fifth overall on beam with a career-high-tying 9.925 and was seventh overall on floor with a 9.9375. Frazier scored 9.875 on bars and finished in the Top 25, and Dennis successfully completed a double-twisting Yurchenko, the hardest vault in the competition.

Oregon State enters the week ranked No. 19 in the nation, along with No. 7 on floor exercise, No. 12 on balance beam and No. 17 on vault. Freshman and 2020 Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey is tied for first in the all-around and on uneven bars, tied for eighth on vault, tied for ninth on beam with teammate Jenna Domingo, and tied for 19th on floor. The Beavers have two returning All-Americans in Kaitlyn Yanish (floor exercise) and Madi Dagen (vault).

Oregon State is coached by a pair of former UCLA gymnasts in Tanya (Service) Chaplin and Michael Chaplin. Tanya, who is in her 25th season as head coach of the Beavers, is the winningest coach in program history with 439 career wins. She has led Oregon State to two Pac-12 titles during her career. As a Bruin gymnast from 1986-89, she earned five All-America honors, won five Pac-12 individual titles, including the 1987 all-around, bars and beam titles, and was the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year in 1987 and 1989. Michael, who is also in his 25th year as associate head coach, competed on the UCLA men's gymnastics team with current Bruin women's head coach Chris Waller. The duo helped the 1987 Bruins win the NCAA team title. Michael was a two-time All-American and the 1989 Pac-10 still rings champion.

Seven returners, including five members of this year's senior class, earned WCGA Scholastic All-America honors in 2021. Pauline Tratz (Communications) earned her fourth honor, while Kendal Poston (Political Science), Samantha Sakti (Psychology) and Sara Taubman (Human Biology & Society) were selected for the third time and Norah Flatley (Political Science) for the first. Also receiving Scholastic All-America honors were junior Paige Hogan (Environmental Science) and sophomore Sara Ulias (Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology). The WCGA Scholastic All-America team recognizes gymnasts who carry a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average or a 3.5 grade point average for the academic year.

The Bruins' long-awaited home opener will take place on Sunday, Jan. 30 against Arizona at 2pm in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The meet will be televised live on Pac-12 Network.