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Gymnastics Returns Home for Sunday Meet vs. Washington

Feb 25, 2022
Norah Flatley

#18 UCLA vs. Washington
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 – 2 pm PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)

TV: Pac-12 Network
TV Talent: Jim Watson, JaNay Honest
Live Stats:

No. 18 UCLA (2-6, 1-4 in Pac-12 play) begins a three-meet homestand on Sunday, Feb. 27 with a dual meet against Washington (4-6, 2-4). The meet will be televised live on Pac-Network at 2pm. Doors open at 1 pm.

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UCLA earned a season-high total on vault and had several gymnasts record season-bests marks, but mishaps on uneven bars in the first rotation put the Bruins in a deep hole during a 197.800-195.475 loss at Arizona State.UCLA started the meet with three low marks on uneven bars, scoring just 47.825 on the event. Although the Bruins recovered with a season-high 49.325 on vault and a 49.400 on floor exercise, the difference in the first rotation was insurmountable, as the Sun Devils recorded a season-high total. Freshman Emma Malabuyo continued to be a bright spot for the Bruins, tying her career-high in the all-around with a 39.475. She and senior Kendal Poston tied for first on balance beam with career-high-tying scores of 9.900. Freshman Jordan Chiles recorded a career-high 9.900 on vault and scored 9.975 on floor exercise to win the event.

Senior Norah Flatley is one of 35 nominees for the AAI Award, presented to the nation's top senior gymnast. Flatley has competed in the all-around four times this season and on at least three events in every meet, posting career-best marks this year of 39.525 in the all-around and 9.850 on vault. She is ranked 15th in the nation on uneven bars with a NQS of 9.880. After missing the entire 2021 regular season with an ankle injury, she has made a triumphant and healthy return in 2022, with top marks of 9.950 on uneven bars, 9.925 on floor exercise, 9.900 on balance beam and 9.850 on vault. Prior to this season, Flatley had only competed all-around once, in her second collegiate meet in 2019, and vault twice, in the first two meets of 2019. Flatley was an All-American on uneven bars in 2019, a three-time All-Pac-12 selection (2020 beam, 2019 bars and beam) and a 2021 WCGA Scholastic All-American.

Freshman Jordan Chiles has had three consecutive meets in which she has earned a perfect score from at least one judge. She began her streak on Feb. 4 with her first career perfect 10 on the floor exercise. A week later at Stanford on Feb. 12, she received her second 10 on uneven bars on her first routine of the day. Although she didn't get a perfect 10 at Arizona State on Feb. 20, she earned a 10 from one judge on floor exercise and a final score of 9.975. The back-to-back 10s Chiles recorded on Feb. 4 and 12 marked the first time a Bruin gymnast has scored perfect 10s on consecutive routines since Peng-Peng Lee on uneven bars and balance beam at the 2018 NCAA Championships. After just six competitions, Chiles is already halfway to a Gym Slam with perfect 10s on two of the four events.

Jordan Chiles' perfect 10 on floor exercise Feb. 4 was UCLA's first 10 since Kyla Ross on vault vs. Cal on Mar. 8, 2020 and the program's first on floor exercise since Gracie Kramer vs. Washington on Jan. 31, 2020, a meet that Chiles attended. The perfect 10 on bars was the first by a Bruin on that event since Ross did it at BYU on Jan. 18, 2020. Chiles, a 2020 Olympic medalist, is the first UCLA freshman to score a perfect 10 on any event since Ross on beam in 2017. The last Bruin freshman to score a 10 on floor was Tasha Schwikert in 2005, and the last UCLA rookie to score a 10 on bars was Ross at Utah on Feb. 18, 2017.

UCLA's heralded freshman class is making big contributions so far this season, with 46% of the Bruins' routines (66 of 144) coming from that class alone. Emma Malabuyo has competed 21 routines, second-most on the squad behind only senior Norah Flatley's 22. Malabuyo has been improving her all-around scores each meet, starting with a 39.100 in her all-around debut at Oregon State Jan. 23, improving to a third-place mark of 39.250 against Arizona and then finishing third again at Stanford and at ASU with career-best marks of 39.475. Malabuyo averages 9.75 or higher on every event and has season-high marks of 9.925 on beam, 9.9 on floor and 9.875 on vault and bars. Jordan Chiles is just behind Malabuyo with 20 routines competed and has gone all-around in her last four meets. She has an all-around season average of 39.338 and a high of 39.700 (vs. Utah). Chiles has two perfect 10s to her credit already, on bars and floor, and holds season-highs of 9.9 on vault and beam. Ana Padurariu has been the ultimate leadoff performer on balance beam for the Bruins, scoring 9.900 three times in five meets. Brooklyn Moors has top marks of 9.9 on floor, 9.875 on beam and 9.85 on vault.

UCLA's top event this year has been balance beam, as the Bruins rank No. 11 in the nation with a 49.140 NQS and a 49.171 season average. The Bruins have posted season-highs of 49.325 twice in their last three meets and have not scored lower than 48.925 this season. Leading the way for UCLA on beam, literally, has been freshman Ana Padurariu. The Bruins' usual leadoff performer, Padurariu has posted three scores of 9.900 and a season average of 9.840. The leadoff position has been great for the Bruins, as senior Norah Flatley most recently scored 9.875 at ASU in the one spot. Senior Samantha Sakti has UCLA's highest single score of the season on beam with a 9.95 at Stanford. Her score included a perfect 10 from one judge. Freshman Emma Malabuyo also has a 10 from one judge, finishing with a final score of 9.925 vs. Arizona. Eight different Bruins have scored 9.9 or higher on beam this season - Chae Campbell, Chiles, Flatley, Malabuyo, Moors, Padurariu, Kendal Poston and Sakti.

UCLA's floor squad made a big statement against Utah on Feb. 4, scoring a season-high 49.600 with four scores of 9.925 or higher - 10.00 from Jordan Chiles and 9.925s from Norah Flatley, Pauline Tratz and Chae Campbell. The Bruin floor routines are an impeccable mix of showmanship, artistry and diverse and difficult tumbling. Each Bruin in the lineup against Utah tumbled a different opening pass - Flatley with a triple full, Sekai Wright with a 2.5 twist/punch front, Brooklyn Moors with a front handspring double front, Tratz with a double pike, Chiles with a double layout and Campbell with a full-in. The Bruins have two floor routines that have gone viral already this season - Wright's DMX tribute and Chiles'perfect 10 routine, which was shared by musical artists Lizzo, Normani and Cardi B - and another that is quickly gaining traction in Samantha Sakti's floor routine set to BTS' "Mic Drop".

Sophomore Chae Campbell continues to be UCLA's go-to gymnast meet in and meet out. The three-time All-American and 2021 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year has hit all 18 of her routines this season, with 10 going 9.85 or higher and all 18 scoring 9.7 or higher. On vault, she has scored 9.900 in four out of five meets and in her last three. Campbell has not missed a routine since the first meet of the 2021 season, a fluke fall on uneven bars. Since then, she has hit 62 consecutive routines without a fall.

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. She has scored 9.900 on beam in her last two meets and earned her first career individual beam title, tying for first at Arizona State. 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. She earned a team-best 9.875 on floor to place fourth at Oregon State (Jan. 23) and scored a season-high 9.925 on floor against Utah (Feb. 4), with one of the two judges issuing a perfect 10 on the routine.

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.

Washington is coming off a weekend in which it scored a pair of season-highs, a 196.825 at the Metroplex Challenge on Feb. 19 and a 197.275 on Feb. 21 against Utah, which was the ninth-best score in program history. Six different gymnasts posted new career high scores in the Utah meet, including Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, who posted a 39.550 all-around score. Killough-Wilhelm ranks eighth in the nation in the all-around with a NQS of 39.280 and 24th on balance beam with a NQS of 9.860.

The Bruins will host Pac-12 leader and unbeaten California on Sunday, Mar. 6 at 12pm.