Vying for the program's sixth national title and its first since 2004, the top-seeded UCLA women's gymnastics team begins competition Thursday at the NCAA championships in Gainesville, Fla.
It's the Bruins' 26th appearance in the NCAA championships, which are being held for the 29th time. The Bruins open with an afternoon preliminary session at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, where they will try to advance to Friday's NCAA Super Six Team Finals.
Competing with them for three available spots are No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Utah, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 9 Louisiana State and No. 12 Nebraska. In the evening preliminary session, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Alabama, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 10 Missouri and No. 11 Michigan will compete for the other three spots.
The Bruins (19-3) won their first national title the last time the championships were held in Florida, in 1997.
The individual event finals are scheduled for Saturday. The all-around champion and individual event finalists will be determined during Thursday's preliminary sessions.
— Baxter Holmes