Sunday, January 8, 2017

NCAA Gymnastics (Week 1): Madison Kocian, UCLA Win Over Arkansas

UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on floor. Photograph: YouTube

Arkansas competed at UCLA on Saturday, 7 January.

UCLA’ Pauley Pavilion on Saturday was packed with Olympic champions. 2016 Olympic champion Madison Kocian and 2012 Olympic champion Kyla Ross made their NCAA debut. 2012 Olympic champion Jordyn Wieber was on the sidelines coaching floor. And on the stands was four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles. Biles would have competed for the Bruins this year, had she not turned pro in 2016, giving up her college eligibility.

UCLA clinched a tight victory over Arkansas 195.700 to 195.350. The Bruins had only two scores over 9.9, and even though it is still early in the season, they will need to sharpen up their game if they want to have a chance to stand up to #1 Oklahoma next week.

Madison Kocian won the all around title, with a total score of 39.425, as well as bars, beam and floor (all three tied). Kocian opened the competition on vault with a clean full-twisting Yurchenko (9.825). 

UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on vault.

She went on to compete a good uneven bars routine, with only a form break on her Shaposhnikova with half turn and a step on landing (9.875). 

UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on bars.

Beam and floor were Kocian’s best apparatuses today. On beam she posted a 9.850 for an impressively clean routine.



UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on beam.

And on floor she showed off a very nice exercise for a score of 9.875. Kocian still has to learn how to sell her floor routine in an NCAA form, but her coreaography and overall performance have already improved so much since she was competing elite.

UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on floor.

Vault was won by UCLA’s Madison Preston (9.900) (tied with Arkansas’ Amanda Wellick, see below). Preston impressed with a stuck full-twisting Yurchenko. Her body shape in the air was exceptional, and what a landing!

UCLA's Madison Preston competes on vault.

Bars were won by a UCLA trio formed by Madison Kocian, Kyla Ross and Christine Peng-Peng Lee, who all scored 9.875. Ross performed a very fluid routine, with only a step on landing.

UCLA's Kyla Ross competes on bars.

Lee performed three release skills: a Tkatchev, a Bhardwaj and a Shaposhnikova with half turn. All routines needed to be polished, but what a good start!

UCLA's Christine Peng-Peng Lee competes on bars.

On beam the Bruins impressed with some excellent sets and epic saves. Mikaela Berger and Madison Kocian tied for the highest score, a 9.850. Kyla Ross scored (only) 8.700, which looked a bit underscored, as her routine was as precise as usual. 

UCLA's Kyla Ross competes on beam.

Peng-Peng Lee and 2013 American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi managed two epic saves. Lee impressively saved her back layout, and went straight into an even more impressive double turn. 

UCLA's Christine Peng-Peng Lee competes on beam.

Ohashi brought back her full-twisting layout, but landed it on one foot, and miraculously managed to save it. The saves sent the crowd crazy.

UCLA's Katelyn Ohashi competes on beam.

On floor, UCLA are known for putting up a show as no other, and they did not disappoint. The top two scores were Madison Preston and Madison Kocian’s 9.875. Preston impressed with super high and precise tumbling passes and a very contemporary style-based choreography. 

UCLA's Madison Preston competes on floor.

My favourite routine, however, was Hallie Mosett’s, whose choreography was inspired by Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. Mosett scored ‘only’ a 9.800 due to a deep landing on her double pike dismount, but this routine is set to become a crowd pleaser.

UCLA's Hallie Mosett competes on floor.

Arkansas put up a big fight, winning vault and finishing only 0.350 behind UCLA.

The best of the night for Arkansas was senior gymnast Amanda Wellick, who won vault with a stuck full-twisting Yurchenko for a score of 9.900, tied with UCLA’s Madison Preston.

Arkansas' Amanda Wellick competes on vault.

Wellick posted also the third highest score on floor (9.850) for a very clean routine, which emphasised her lines and her tough personality.

Arkansas' Amanda Wellick competes on floor.


Arkansas also produced some excellent routines on beam, which earned from the third to the seventh highest scores of the night. The highest score on beam for Arkansas was freshman Hailey Garner’s 9.825. Her routine looked slightly tentative, but she impressed with her free cartwheel into layout step-out combination. 

Arkansas' Hailey Garner competes on beam.

Garner also showed some excellent lines on bars (9.825), where she produced a super straight Gienger and an incredibly high full-in dismount.

Arkansas' Hailey Garner competes on bars.

More NCAA recaps are coming soon. Check them out!

By Talitha Ilacqua


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NCAA Gymnastics (Week 1): Madison Kocian, UCLA Win Over Arkansas Reviewed by Talitha Ilacqua on 9:51 AM Rating: 5 UCLA's Madison Kocian competes on floor. Photograph: YouTube Arkansas competed at UCLA on Saturday, 7 January. UCLA’ Pauley P...

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