2020 UCLA Bruins

UCLA BRUINS
Seniors
Anna Glenn
UB
BB
  • Competed 6 UBs (hit 5 of 6) & 1 BB (9.850) in 2019
  • Peak of 9.875 on UB
  • Made final VT lineup in 2018 with RQS of 9.825
Grace Glenn
UB
BB
  • Competed BB in 11 of 16 meets in 2019
  • #2 returning score on BB (9.900)
  • Competed 1 VT (9.750) and 2 UB (avg 9.275) in 2019
Felicia Hano
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed nearly weekly VT, FX in 2019
  • #2 returning score on VT (9.930)
  • #3 returning score on FX (9.925)
  • Competed UB in 11 of 16 meets, NQS of 9.840
Madison Kocian
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed only UB, BB in 2019 season
  • #2 returning score on UB (9.945)
  • Competed BB in 14 of 16 meets, NQS of 9.840
Gracie Kramer
VT
FX
  • Competed FX each week, VT in 9 of 16 meets in 2019
  • #2 returning score on FX (9.930)
  • Avg of 9.778 on VT, peak of 9.850
Kyla Ross VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 13 of 16 meets in 2019
  • Recorded fourteen 10.0s (6 UB, 4 VT, 2 BB, 2 FX)
  • Finished regular season ranked #1 AA
  • #1 returning score on all four events (9.995 UB, 9.970 VT, 9.960 FX, 9.950 BB)
Mercedez Sanchez  
  • Did not compete in first three seasons
Nicki Shapiro
UB
BB
  • Returns to the roster for 2020 season
  • Last competed in 2016 with 9 BBs (peak of 9.925, avg 9.638) and 1 UB (9.725)
Macy Toronjo UB
FX
  • Returns for fifth year in 2020
  • Competed 2 UBs (both 9.800) and 1 FX (9.850) in 2019
  • Made final FX lineup in 2017 (peak of 9.950)
Juniors
Nia Dennis
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT every week in 2019
  • #3 returning score on VT (9.890)
  • Competed 11 FXs, 8 UBs, 7 BBs in 2019
  • NQS of 9.870 FX, 9.670 BB
  • Avg of 9.814 UB
Savannah Kooyman
UB
  • Competed 3 UBs in 2019 (9.775 peak)
  • Competed 3 UBs, 1 FX in 2018
Kendal Poston
VT
BB
  • Competed 3 VTs in 2019 (9.800 peak)
  • Competed 1 BB for 9.850
Pauline Tratz
VT
FX
  • Competed VT every meet, FX in 14 of 16 in 2019
  • RQS of 9.900 FX, 9.850 VT
Sophomores
Norah Flatley
VT
UB

BB
FX
  • Competed UB, BB every meet in 2019
  • #3 returning score on UB (9.920), BB (9.885)
  • Competed 2 VTs, 1 FX (all 9.750)
Margzetta Frazier
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed UB every meet in 2019, 9.915 NQS
  • Competed FX in 12 of 16 meets for 9.905 NQS
  • Showed 3 VTs for 9.800 avg
Samantha Sakti
BB
FX
  • Transfer from William & Mary
  • Competed VT, BB, FX for W&M
  • Peak of 9.925 FX, 9.875 BB, 9.800 VT
Sara Taubman
UB
  • Did not compete in first season
Sekai Wright
VT
FX
  • Competed VT in 13 of 16 meets in 2019
  • NQS of 9.855, peak of 9.875
Freshmen
Emma Andres
VT
BB
  • Byers
  • 25th AA, 2019 JO Nationals
Paige Hogan
FX
  • Waller’s
  • 9th VT & FX, 2019 Region 1s
Chloe Lashbrooke
VT
FX
  • Gold Medal
  • 1st FX, 2019 Region 1s
Kalyany Steele VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Colorado Aerials
  • 13th AA, 2017 US Nationals
  • 3rd AA, 2017 US Classic

FINAL SEASON RANKING
2019 – 3rd
2018 – 1st
2017 – 4th
2016 – 5th
2015 – 11th
2014 – 8th
2013 – 4th
2012 – 3rd
2011 – 2nd
2010 – 1st

THE 2019 STORY
UCLA did quite well throughout 2019, recording some remarkable scores and showing a performance consistency from the very first week of the season we don’t always see from this team.

Coming off a national title the previous season, however, a 3rd-place finish is always going to feel like a letdown. Heading into 2019, another title looked like a very real possibility for UCLA, and it didn’t happen. UCLA spent the year as the #2 team and most likely challenger to Oklahoma but just didn’t bring it in the final and ended up at #3.

DEPARTED 2019 ROUTINES
Katelyn Ohashi – BB, FX
Brielle Nguyen – BB

The issue with UCLA’s departed routines is not the number but the importance. The team has plenty of routines to go into those Ohashi spots, but they’re not necessarily going to get…you know…10s.

INCOMING GYMNASTS
Not much is expected from UCLA’s freshman class of four. The featured gymnast there is Kalyany Steele, someone who should make appearances but has also been out of competition for a long time and showed only a bars routine at Meet the Bruins.

Basically, we saw more new coaches than new routines, which makes UCLA’s lineups among the most predictable in NCAA this year. There’s just not a lot of need or opportunity for turnover there.

2020 PROJECTION
UCLA will enter the 2020 season among the top crop of title contenders, and expectations for scores and ranking should be largely in keeping with what we saw during the regular season in 2019. There’s little reason to adjust because the gymnasts are almost all the same, and concerns about whether the team would still be all…UCLA and whatnot without Val were lessened somewhat by a very on-brand exhibition performance yesterday, both gymnastically and culturally. This looks like the same team.

VAULT

2019 Event Ranking: 3

Lineup locks: Kyla Ross, Felicia Hano, Nia Dennis, Pauline Tratz
Lineup options: Sekai Wright, Kendal Poston, Gracie Kramer, Marz Frazier, Kalyany Steele

Because there’s little turnover this year, these lineups are fairly easy to project. We’ll see Ross and Hano come back with 1.5s that will need to provide the highest scores in the lineup, and while Dennis can do a 1.5, the full has tended to be the score-smart decision for her because it can get 9.900. Tratz’s full is also too solid to be left out.

Sekai Wright proved inconsistent at times with her 1.5 landing last year, but she’s good enough to come back into the lineup with it this year. The sixth position was certainly a conundrum for UCLA in 2019 with the hit-and-miss 1.5 from Kramer ultimately getting the final spot. Of note, the team developed Kendal Poston’s handspring pike 1/2 last year, getting it close to lineup level, and it’s reasonable to think Poston could continue that path and break into the group to take that sixth spot from Kramer in 2020.

Ideally, Marz Frazier would be vaulting because she’s more than good enough, but we didn’t see her vault much last year, and when she did it was with a full that didn’t quite meet final-lineup expectations. So, we can’t expect anything there yet. Kalyany Steele was also a strong vaulter in her elite days, which is something UCLA would hope to have as a lineup option, but she didn’t vault yesterday.

This lineup didn’t lose any routines from last season, so scoring expectations should stay exactly the same. This isn’t the most 10.0 starts we’ll see across the country, and UCLA won’t be expected to rank among the top 1-2 vaulting teams, but if those 1.5s get the landing control down as we go once again, we’ll see some big numbers flying.

BARS

2019 Event Ranking: 1

Lineup locks: Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Norah Flatley, Marz Frazier
Lineup options: Nia Dennis, Kalyany Steele, Felicia Hano, Anna Glenn, Macy Toronjo, Sara Taubman, Nicki Shapiro, Savannah Kooyman

UCLA also doesn’t lose any bars routines from last year’s lineup, so basically the goal will be to use last year’s lineup of Frazier, Dennis, Hano, Flatley, Kocian, Ross—with hopefully Steele coming in for Hano to raise the scoring potential a little. Steele is showing the makings of a smooth set, and while Hano has continued to improve on bars and clean up her routine, it’s a mid-9.8s set. You can count it, and it’s fine, but it’s not the top routine. We didn’t see Kocian on bars at MTB, but of course she would need to be back there for the team to be at its best. UCLA was the #1 bars team last season, so expectations will be highly high this time around as well.

And now that we’ve dispensed with that lineup slop, I can talk about the routine composition that Kyla showed on bars and how…stop. Don’t do it. She did Maloney to Pak to Maloney to bail, and while the Pak is gorgeous, having a second Maloney in the routine adds nothing to the overall experience. If you’re not going to put in a same-bar release or a new wow-element for her, then just go back to last year’s composition, which is still a 10.0 start, and collect all the 10s that she will inevitably get for that perfect routine.

In terms of backups to the seven gymnasts named, Anna Glenn would be the ideal, but we didn’t see her at MTB and there are also people like Macy Toronjo who can come in.

BEAM

2019 Event Ranking: 2

Lineup locks: Kyla Ross, Norah Flatley, Grace Glenn
Lineup options: Madison Kocian, Samantha Sakti, Nia Dennis, Felicia Hano, Kendal Poston, Marz Frazier, Nicki Shapiro,

Beam presents the most replacement work for UCLA because the lineup has lost both Ohashi and Nguyen, who provided essential scores last season alongside Ross, Flatley, Kocian, and Grace Glenn.

In terms of Nguyen, UCLA has reacted to her departure by bringing in a different transfer beamer in Samantha Sakti and being like, “You’re Brielle right,” and she’s like, “No I’m an entirely different person named Samantha” and they’re like, “Hi Brielle.” Sakti has the potential to get into this lineup, though there’s some real competition for spots.

Replicating Ohashi’s beam score will be a challenge of course because Ohashi. There’s not a casual new beamer who’s going to step up and get 9.950 every week. Instead, the strategy for keeping up the same level should be to, you know, move Grace Glenn from the leadoff to the 5th position, and suddenly that exact same routine is getting 9.950s. Big rotation scores are also probably incumbent on Kocian being a little more secure this season. Kocian has been a bit too likely to get blown off course by the flap of a hummingbird wing for 9.825 in her career, and UCLA is going to need sure, 9.9able routines from her this year.

If Ross, Flatley, Glenn, and Kocian are delivering the top scores, then someone like Sakti can come in, or Nia Dennis has the potential for a nice routine if she’s confident, and Hano and Frazier have been showing sets, and Poston was close to making the lineup last season, and Anna Glenn has shown a pretty routine before. Options. Those last few spots are still pretty unsettled, and it’s reasonable to expect a little score drop without Ohashi, but this still should be a strong event for UCLA.

FLOOR

2019 Event Ranking: 1

Lineup locks: Felicia Hano, Kyla Ross, Gracie Kramer
Lineup options: Pauline Tratz, Marz Frazier, Nia Dennis, Madison Kocian, Norah Flatley, Macy Toronjo, Sekai Wright, Chloe Lashbrooke, Kalyany Steele

Debuting bespoke leotards for each of the lineup routines at Meet The Bruins allowed UCLA to have its DON’T WORRY WE’RE STILL A LOT moment even though Val wasn’t there. So everyone’s OK again. (Even if a few too many of the routines feel like imitations of their own previous routines.) But on to the lineup, UCLA had seven pretty much equally strong options for the lineup last season, and with only Ohashi’s routine leaving, that leaves an obvious default six for UCLA’s final floor group: Frazier, Kramer, Dennis, Tratz, Ross, Hano. At least until we see otherwise.

The most important routine in that regard belongs to Marz Frazier, who was dropped from the lineup at the last minute in 2019 but is so talented on floor and important to the team (and, let’s be honest, most likely to have the viral moment this year) that her consistent presence would be the best thing UCLA could do to make up for not having Ohashi’s auto-10 anymore. You can’t assume someone else is going to come in and get auto-10s, but if Frazier is controlling her landings this season, she’s going to get close. And then the rest of the lineup is the same one we saw in the national final last year.

It will be tough for anyone else to break into that group because all presumed lineup gymnasts had 9.9+ routines last year, though Kocian may make a push. She has scored well before and is Kocian, but preserving her for bars and beam will be the top priority.

46 thoughts on “2020 UCLA Bruins”

  1. I was really disappointed with the new floor routines. But all of the big seven on floor (final NCAA lineup plus Marz) had such amazing iconic routines that even Miss Val would’ve had a hard time topping that or even keeping at that level. In particular I wish Kramer would’ve kept her old routine, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she goes back to it considering her new routine is similar to last year but not nearly as great.

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    1. It’s BJ Daas. Her routines look great with a group dance but they don’t translate to the gym floor. Utah’s were awful last year too. MMG went back to her previous routine.

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    2. Slightly unrelated but I feel Kramer could’ve channeled a tethered from Us more successfully than the Joker. Would kind of force her to use an even wider range of emotion and also would’ve been more in line with the creepy, puppet like vibes that she loves doing in her choreography. I don’t exactly trust BJ to be able to pull that off, but it would’ve been a cool concept.

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  2. I would love to see someone take Kocian’s beam spot for at least a handful of meets. Your butterfly in the wind description is perfect, and there are so many strong alternatives!

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      1. Ya they keep putting Kocian in for her star/Olympic power/prestige, but there are so many better options on beam. Even her bars can be messy at times with the toes and bent legs, but she gets a lot based on reputation.

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  3. There was not much new in the FX choreography this year. Disappointing. Must be sad to get to be on UCLA’s team only to have MIss Val leave and now you have to be choreographed by someone lesser.

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  4. I adore Marz’s floor, but she twists early in her full in and muscles her second pass. I would love for her to be the it girl this year!

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  5. Honestly the impression that I got from Floor was that they knew people were discussing about how Miss Val leaving might affect their performance level so they tried way too hard to maintain that “extraness” that we associate with UCLA. UCLA loves to go all out on floor but it’s really overdone this season.

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      1. Yeah I’ll admit that as soon as I saw that bit about the bespoke leos my first thought was “bet this is fun for the ex-UIC gymnasts to read about.”

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      2. UIC’s program was cut entirely (budget issues), leaving those gymnasts to either seek out a new program and transfer, or give up their college career early. At the same time, UCLA’s program is apparently so well-funded that they have multiple “bespoke” leotards. Might be hard to be happy for their good fortune, under those circumstances.

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      3. So they can be boring like the majority of NCAA routines? Or just flap their hands around like OU? At least they have personality

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      4. For the people talking about the “lighting 100 dollar bills on fire” have you seen the gyms at Utah, LSU, UF and UGA? How about the private planes that teams like alabama use? But nahhh just blame UCLA for an athletic department not funding a team

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      5. No one is “blaming” UCLA for UIC’s budget woes. 🙄It is a shame that programs have such wildly different funding situations. It’s not the fault of individual schools, but it’s still unfair.

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  6. I thought that Norah Flatley looked great in the “meet the bruins” competition especially on floor I wouldn’t be surprised
    To see her break into the floor line up this season

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  7. While some of these floor routines leave a bit to be desired, I’d definitely take this over whatever crap the teams are putting out.p

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    1. It’s all crap – gymnastics choreography is crap. The girls are bad at dancing, period.

      UCLA looks ridiculous when they’re filmed dancing. It’s just a bunch of socially awkward girls dancing like they would in a bar/club.

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      1. Let’s see you do better? I mean Norah was exquisite and Kyla has some sass. Not to mention marz and Gracie giving 1000 percent more effort into their dance than 99% of the NCAA

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      2. I just want to say that Hailey Poland of Kentucky has my favorite floor routine of the year so far with her “Careless Whisper” routine. She commits to the theme throughout her routine, has great musicality, and the song’s catchiness is hard to deny 😉

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  8. Sakti was capable of a 9.925 on FX wearing a W&M leotard and you’re not thinking she’s at least a testable/injury backup option for the FX lineup? Even if that *was* an uncharacteristically good routine and her regular score was more of a 9.80 we know that would come out to 9.95+ after the Bruin Bonus™ gets tagged on…

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  9. I agree UCLA can be extra and over-the-top but…so what? I’d much rather UCLA be all UCLA than like every other cookie cutter/gymnastics can only be done one way/boring/normal team. I’ll take extra over normal any day. That is who UCLA is and clearly it hasn’t hurt their ability to attract top recruits or grow their fanbase. I would argue it’s helped.

    Now about BJ, maybe we wait until February before eviscerating her choreography. Let’s give it some time to bake and for the ladies to really own the routines. Someone already mentioned this, and I agree, compared to some of the other previews I’ve seen the Bruins music and choreography was actually good. And let’s not pretend other teams don’t recycle routines, music, themes, and choreography. Most SEC floor rotations end up being one long, horrible, shredding steel club mix.

    And I would not compare what BJ did at Utah…I’m just gonna say it…it wasn’t BJ, it was Utah (nothing against the Utes as a team). With the exception of MMG, Utah’s floor choreography was always just meh to OK. They’re a really good team who probably likes the “this is how gymnastics should only be done” box therefore BJ was never going to be a great fit.

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    1. Lol! Gymnastics choreography is bad, even at UCLA.

      These girls are not dancers, get over yourselves. They should be doing gymnastics because that’s what they’re good at! All of these routines, including Miss Val’s, are basic and low quality.
      Stop perpetuating this idea that UCLA is skilled in dance, it’s a lie! Also, BJ is a bad choreographer……at Utah, UCLA and anywhere else she goes.

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      1. UCLA really is better at dance than the other NCAA teams. Sorry if that makes you mad because they get too much credit for it (they do), but UCLA compared to Oklahoma/Utah/etc. is like night and day. UCLA is – for an NCAA gymnastics team – good at dancing and performing on FX.

        On the other hand, I totally agree that NCAA dance and choreo are all pretty terrible. Val’s choreography is not impressive. Compared to actual dancers, UCLA is not skilled in dance. And I also find their “extra”-ness annoying – in large part because it doesn’t seem all that authentic or organic. It looks fake. It looks like Val has threatened everyone with extra conditioning if they don’t look “positive attitude” enough while on camera. It looks like they’re trying desperately to perpetuate some myth of being SO FUN and SASSY.

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    2. UCLA choreo *was* reasonably good (for gymnastics choreo) with Miss Val doing it. BJ is garbage–and was garbage at Utah as well. How about we deal with reality: this is her second major flop at a big gym school with highly talented athletes. (Not that even professional dancers would make her derivative, recycled dreck look acceptable.) Miss Val’s choreo was unimpressive as pure dance, obviously; real choreographers don’t do NCAA floor routines. I agree about the girls’ over-animation on camera (which comes off COMPLETELY phony) and about the ‘extra’ business.

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  10. Is there a code (or other) reason that Kyla is doing Maloney-pak-Maloney-bail, instead of just starting on the high bar and doing pak-Maloney-bail? It just seems so unnecessary and I’m wondering if I’m missing something about why she’s doing it.

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  11. Has Kocian always been so… I dont know… basic? I dont look at her and think, former elite Olympian. She is like average Ncaa mid line up girl.

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      1. Not everyone’s going to be an NCAA star just because they were good in elite (especially if their strength in elite was a high D-score on uneven bars).

        I assume people are grumpy because she gets overscored on bars in particular and gets lineup placements because of her name. Otherwise not sure why hating Kocian is the new thing. She’s not a standout but she contributes to her team and is obviously taking advantage of the academic opportunities of college.

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      2. Totally agree — I like Kocian a lot but I was never expecting her to dominate NCAA Simone-style just because she has the title of Olympian.

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      3. LOL No she wasn’t, she was injured. In 2013 if not for the freak ankle incident she would’ve easily been third AA at championships and top 5 in the world. Her floor Dscore was higher than Kyla’s (that made EF that year) and she beat Kyla and was only a tenth back of Simone on beam. Later on she became an amazing bars specialist with the high Dscore. Its a shame we never got to see her compete everything she had to offer.

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  12. She wasn’t basic, as you put it, in her first year. 10 on bars, 9.950 on beam and floor, and 39.625 AA isn’t exactly basic, especially competing on an injured shoulder. UCLA really needed her that year, and she was consistent, week in week out. She had surgery the next year and hasn’t really ever been completely healthy so she isn’t getting the reps of her teammates.

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    1. Her NCAA career has been basic. I know everyone wants to give participation medals. Basic! Basic! Basic! Your paragraphs dont change that! Looking at her NCAA individual championship medal count compared to other elites, yeah BASIC. She is just a team member doing her job like a normal worker bee which is admirable. I just figured an olympic medalist on bars would have at least 1 NCAA championship on BARS… Hasnt happened. Basic.. Not standing out at all equals = basic to me. Periodt! Nothing your nerds say, will change that!

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  13. I’m sorry, but so much about UCLA seems fake and forced. I’m all for the gymnasts having fun, but I feel like there’s more hype around their sideline demeanor than their actual gymnastics which is a shame considering how much talent is on their roster.

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