Fort Worth Texas, January 27th- It’s the Metroplex Challenge and it’s LSU, UCLA, Washington, and NC State battling for the Metroplex title. LSU is slated as the favorite to take the win but UCLA is willing to put up a fight. LSU has lost Ashleigh Gnat, Randii Wyrick, and Sydney Ewing to graduation but they’ve gained Sarah Edwards, Reagan Campbell, Christina Desiderio, and the leadership of Sarah Finnegan and Myia Hambrick. UCLA has worked to gain endurance, strength, and consistency. They’ve got Katelyn Ohashi, Nia Dennis, Kyla Ross, and sixth year Peng Peng Lee. It starts on vault for LSU. They throw up a casually stuck yurchenko full from Sarah Finnegan, another nice vault from Julianna Cannamela. Then, short run Sarah Edwards proved her power with a beautiful 9.875 yurchenko one and a half. If we’re being picky, Lexie Priessman’s yurchenko full was less perfect than previous weeks, still enough for a 9.800 though. They finished with Myia Hamrbick and Kennedi Edney’s respectful one and half’s.
UCLA took their start on bars with a packed line up. Their only major flaw here was Katelyn Ohashi botching a pirouette and scoring only a 9.550. Otherwise, they had respectable scores with their highest being of Kyla Ross, a 9.925. Kyla was actually able to win the all around with a total of 39.700. Both teams carried their momentum from the first event to continue strong on the next two events. LSU only having one fall from Ruby Harrold on bars, one that they did not have to count thanks to the other hits from the lineup. UCLA, on the other hand, went next to beam, rocking the rotation with all scores 9.825 or higher including a perfect 10.0 from Miss Peng Peng Lee! In their final of rotations, LSU is to finish on the floor and UCLA on the vault. LSU is of course prestigous on this exercise even with the loss of Mckenna Kelley and Ashleigh Gnat. We got to see Christina Desiderio debut her college floor set for a 9.725. We also saw Sarah Finnegan perform with elegance for a 9.875 and Myia Hamrbick perform what I’d say was the most ten-worthy routine of the year with a stuck double layout, perfect two and a half punch front, and a effortless double pike for a 9.975. UCLA, finishing on vault which could be considered either a weaker or a stronger of events for them, pulled together an outstanding performance sticking all three of their 10.0 start value vaults for a total of 49.4. I was especially impressed by Pua Hall’s one and a half twisting yurchenko which she stuck cold for a 9.9. UCLA was able to pull of the win in the end with a 197.625 to top LSU’s 197.375, Washington’s 196.525, and North Carolina State’s 195.825. This victory would be UCLA Coach Valorie Kondos Field’s 500th win. LSU showed a strong fight even without a win, and all three of there all arounders ended up scoring a 39.5 or higher.
Congrats to Miss Val on her 500th career win and to all teams for putting up a strong fight!! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!! 🙂
For more information:
Valorie Kondos Field’s 500 Wins Video:
Photos via Getty Images.