February 27, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Here’s how to watch UCLA gymnastics meet against Utah

After getting peppered with questions about UCLA’s upcoming gymnastics meet against Utah in Salt Lake City, Bruins coach Chris Waller responded with a question of his own.

“You guys gonna watch?” Waller eagerly asked a group of reporters assembled on a videoconference. “You better all watch.”

The task of watching the Bruins in their biggest regular-season meet of the year is easier than usual. Instead of the Pac-12 Networks or an internet stream, No. 14 UCLA will face Pac-12 rival Utah on ESPNU at 6 p.m. PST on Friday.

No. 3 Utah (6-1, 3-0 Pac-12) and UCLA (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) have split the last six Pac-12 postseason championship and the Utes, who narrowly beat UCLA 198.075-198.025 last year, won the inaugural regular-season Pac-12 championship title before the season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utes are ranked in the top 10 on all four events, led by their No. 3-ranked beam rotation. The Bruins, who are often a lock for a top-five ranking, got off to a slower start because of pandemic restrictions that limited their preseason training opportunities. Utah started practicing on Sept. 25, but the Bruins didn’t get into the gym as a team until Oct. 12.

With many of their normal stars resting, the Bruins are coming off their lowest score since 2016, a 195.625 in a win against Washington on Feb. 14. UCLA strategically tweaked its lineups for the previous meet with the intention of being at full strength for Friday, its third competition in 10 days.

“In all my years here, I’ve never been through a 10-day stretch like this,” Waller said. “There’s no doubt that there is some fatigue. We’ve done the very best we can to strike a balance between improving and recovery. But they are pumped to go to Utah.”