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UCLA gymnasts Norah Flatley, Jordan Chiles earn All-America honors at NCAA Championships – Daily News

UCLA had both a veteran and rookie presence at the NCAA gymnastics championships on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas. But although one gymnast is outgoing and another is incoming, their bond is strong.

Norah Flatley, a senior, competed in her final collegiate meet in the all-around, while Jordan Chiles, a freshman, made her first appearance at the national championship meet. Their roots go deeper than being fellow Bruins – they competed together as kids.

“Norah, you have been a role model and mentor,” Chiles said to her teammate during the post-meet press conference. “Somebody that I can look up to and I can’t thank you enough for the inspiration you have given me to become a better version of myself.”

Although the duo rotated with different teams, their support for each other was still valuable as they earned All-America honors. Flatley placed fifth out of 13 competitors with a score of 39,600 in the all-around during her session at Dickies Arena. It was her second-highest all-around score of the season, and she finished seventh overall for second-team All-America honors.

Gymnasts at the NCAA championships are assessed by six judges, as compared to the two judges who score them during the regular season. Nonetheless, Flatley scored a 9.9375 on the balance beam, which tied her for fourth place in the event and earned her first-team All-America honors.

She hit identical 9.8875 scores in vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, typing her for ninth in both vault and uneven bars.

“This year I’ve taken my training and a lot of things into my own hands,” Flatley said of her consistency. “I feel like I’m taking ownership of the way I take care of myself. I’ve really figured out what works for me and vocalize that to my team.”

Chiles, who has competed on international stages including the Tokyo Olympics, earned a score of 9.925 in floor exercise that was good for seventh place in the session and 14th overall (second-team All-American). Prior to Thursday, Chiles scored two perfect 10’s in floor exercise and another 10 in uneven bars during her freshman campaign.

She scored a 9.3375 on even bars, her second-lowest bars score of the season, after a fall in her routine that she attributed to excess adrenaline. She recovered afterward to perform her floor routine with confidence.

“I just wanted to go out there on the floor and finish it off strong knowing that I was only there for two events,” Chiles said. “And I wanted to show that I was there for those two events for a reason.”

The NCAA gymnastics championships will take a one-day break on Friday, then resume on Saturday with the team championships.

UCLA fell .025 short of qualifying as a team at the NCAA Raleigh Regional Final earlier this month in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a result, Chiles rotated as an individual with Missouri and Flatley rotated with Michigan.

Although UCKA coach Chris Waller gushed with pride over Flatley and Chiles individually, he still feels motivated to get the entire team to the national championships next season.

“Being here and watching the teams compete, it’s tough, even on warmup day,” he said. “It’s just a twist of the knife that we didn’t qualify here, and it brings so much more motivation to make sure we’re back here next year.”

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