Down goes No. 18 Beaver gymnastics at home to No. 8 UCLA

On the third rotation of the night, Jade Carey scores a 9.9 on Beam in Gill Coliseum on Feb. 9, 2024
On the third rotation of the night, Jade Carey scores a 9.9 on Beam in Gill Coliseum on Feb. 9, 2024
Maya Kirschenbaum

The GymBeavs showcased talent and spirit while the persistent UCLA Bruins team took over. 

In a heavily anticipated matchup and tie leftover from last year in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, the Beavers and Bruins battled it out, but OSU came up short at home Friday night, 196.700 – 197.425.

“I think we’re proving a lot to ourselves because we have had a number of people out this season…I am really proud of their fight that they’ve shown especially through tonight. They could have crumpled after beam, but they didn’t, they thrived,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin. 

Coming off a loss in Utah, the women’s gymnastics team hosted a near-perfect UCLA team coming off a red-hot season-high scoring meet against Arizona. 

Gill Coliseum was filled top to bottom in orange as Beaver Nation showed up for the Beavers in the second home meet of the season. 

Starting on vault, the Beavers were solid. Steady performances by Natalie Briones, Sage Thompson, Kaitlin Garcia and Jade Carey kept the Beavs landing a good start. A stumble by Olivia Buckner lowered the standing, but a stuck landing by Sophia Esposito was given a 9.900 and was just what the Beavers needed. 

“I haven’t competed in bars in the lineup this season yet so it was definitely fun. I worked hard all these weeks for bars and I’m still working on my confidence for them, but today I proved to myself that I can do it,” said Esposito. 

Going to bars from there, Thompson and Carey provided the Beavers with a 9.950 and 9.925 on the board. This was Thompson’s best career routine in Gill on bars and the crowd cheered loudly in her support. 

From bars to beams, there were some slips and spills from Buckner and Thompson, but Carey, Young, and Esposito nailed high-scoring routines and maintained the flow the Beavers needed to stay in the meet. 

“There was a lot of ups and downs…once Sydney came out of lineups, she’s been in our beam lineup for years, I think every competition she’s been here so that changes some things, especially on that event,” said Chaplin. “We train as a group and they kind of work off of each other…With the night that happened, those emotions got a few of them, but we focused on getting after it and they did a great on floor.” 

To finish up on the floor, Carey and Esposito showed up and brought the fire. With a 9.925 from Carey and a career-high of 9.950 from Esposito, there was a last sliver of hope for the Beavers to come back on the Bruins, but the Bruins were on top at the end. 

“On floor, I knew I could do it. I stepped out onto the floor with confidence and it showed,” said Esposito.

Even with the loss, the squad was able to walk away with some positives after going head-to-head with a top-10 team. 

“Today felt like the old meet, getting to do all around, but it was a lot of fun. I was a little bit nervous because I learned the floor routine again like three days ago, but it went good and I was excited to do it and everything I do here is for my team,” said Carey.  

Up next, the GymBeavs stay at home to face Stanford University on Feb. 17th at 11:00 a.m. 

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