UAA gymnast Matsunami headed to NCAA West Regional Championships

Matsunami works her floor routine during a Jan. 25 meet against Seattle Pacific. (Photos courtesy of goseawolves.com)

Matsunami works her floor routine during a Jan. 25 meet against Seattle Pacific. (Photos courtesy of goseawolves.com)

11. That’s the total number of Seawolves who have captured a spot at the NCAA Division I West Regional Championships since 1988. On April 6 in Corvallis, Ore., freshman M’rcy Matsunami will tack on one more gymnast to the tally.

Anyone who’s even slightly aware of the Seawolf gymnastics team probably knows about the rookie from Omaha, Neb.

If you’re not one of those people, here’s a quick synopsis: she’s pretty good.

At the championships, Matsunami will only compete in the vault exercise. But that’s not the sum of her game.

The “Swiss Army knife” label gets thrown around in basketball recruiting circles when describing a player who can hurt you in many different ways on the court. Matsunami is the gymnastics version of that.

Matsunami finished the year with the squad’s highest season averages in vault, all-around, and bars. She also posted the second highest average in floor.

The overall ability is impressive – even more so considering her frosh status. However, all that matters now is what she can do on the vault.

Matsunami’s best vault score of 2013 was 9.85. Had she hit that number at the 2012 championships, it would’ve put her in a tie for fifth place. It’s a high mark, but she’s proven to be capable.

Matsunami clutches the uneven bars during a Jan. 25 meeting against Seattle Pacific.

Matsunami clutches the uneven bars during a Jan. 25 meeting against Seattle Pacific.

After the Seawolves landed in the bottom at MPSF Championships, Matsunami was all about the team.

“We maintained a positive attitude and everyone gave 100 percent of their effort,” said Matsunami. “Overall it was a fun experience for everyone.”

Come April 6, Matsunami will be the only one competing in green and gold, but her approach can’t change. Strive to have fun and give it your all.

Because I’ve seen the movie Stick It, I know that gymnastics can be a particularly stressful sport. Not letting the moment weigh her down could be key to reaching 9.85 or beyond.

For Matsunami, it’s all gravy from here. Making the championships is a win in its own right – putting a big vault score on the board wouldn’t define her year, it’d just add to it.

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