Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Fast start not enough as Bruins have ‘hiccup’ at Cal

- By Haley Sawyer

UCLA began its meet against Cal on a high. Uneven bars went smoothly, and vault had the Bruins energized.

But the meet gradually derailed through the final two events, and Cal handed UCLA its second loss of the season, 198.050-196.925, on Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

“When we shine, we shine really brightly,” said Bruins coach Chris Waller. “It’s just when we have a hiccup, we need to figure out how to get back to confidence more quickly.”

One gymnast who shined brightly was freshman Chae Campbell, who placed first in all-around competitio­n, scoring 39.625 to beat Cal’s Nevaeh DeSouza’s 39.600. Campbell finished in the top three in the vault and floor.

The Bruins (5-2) began to trail at the midway point of the meet, 99.00-98.825. They were swept in bars, with Margzetta Frazier the closest gymnast to a topthree performanc­e. She tied for fourth place with a 9.950 mark.

Emi Watterson of Cal (5-1) scored a perfect 10 in the event, while teammates Maya Bordas and Andi Li each picked up 9.975 scores.

“Cal was amazing today,” Waller said. “They had a great meet, it’s the best meet they’ve ever had in the history of the school. They put it together. Everybody knows that UCLA is the team to beat, everybody rises up to go up against us.”

Campbell placed first (9.950) and Nia Dennis tied for second (9.925) with DeSouza in vault for UCLA as the team scored a 49.375. Sekai Wright cracked the lineup for vault after competing exclusivel­y in floor for most of this season.

The Golden Bears remained in the lead after the third event, holding a 148.550-148.275 advantage. In floor, event No. 3 for the Bruins, Pauline Tratz tied for first place with a 9.950 mark alongside Cal’s Kyana George. Campbell and Frazier tied for third at 9.925.

“This routine, it’s like me being a girl, going to New York and being in a busy city kind of overwhelme­d with trying to find my way and getting people’s attention,” Tratz said. “So I think it’s just fun and fitting to where I’m at right now in life.”

Samantha Sakti had a team-high 9.925 score on beam, which earned her second place behind Watterson’s 9.950. Sakti was the Bruins’ only top-three finisher as UCLA’s beam competitor­s struggled and scored a 48.650 in the event.

“It’s definitely a little frustratin­g,” Campbell said. “But I think it’s just a matter of going back in the gym and just figuring out what we can do to gain the confidence that we need to do what we already know we can do.”

UCLA’s final meet before the Pac-12 championsh­ips will be against San Jose State on Saturday 2 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.

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