Gymnastics take on BYU at home this weekend

gymnastics.jpg
Photo credit: Inna Mikhailova

The UAA Gymnastics squad hosts their first home meet of the season this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the Alaska Airlines Center when they entertain the Brigham Young University Cougars. The meet will mark the third time the team has competed this season. The Seawolves hosted a Green-and-Gold intra-squad scrimmage in mid-December before flying to Ohio for a January 23 dual-meet with the Bowling Green Falcons. Despite losing the meet 194.075-191.500, several Seawolves performed up to their potential.

Junior Julia York competed in the beam and floor events in Bowling Green, two events in which the Seawolves have deepest reserves. Despite the stiff competition among her teammates, York remains optimistic about her events.

“I started to go downhill and I wasn’t making my routines and I didn’t know why,” York said. “Then I just realized I wasn’t being confident and that changed everything.”

The team is comprised of 17 members this season after welcoming four freshmen to the team, including Kierra Abraham, Morgan Colee, Erica Man, and Kaylin Mancari. The whole roster is expected to compete this weekend.

For the Seawolves to be successful this season, gymnastics coach Paul Stoklos said they will need to improve on one event in particular.

“Bars is our toughest event. We have people who can’t do bars anymore who came in as bar workers and so were really limited in our depth,” Stoklos said. “Whereas on some of the other events we have maybe 8 or 9 people.”

Senior M’rcy Matsunami will be one of the Seawolves competing in the bars, along with the vault, beam, and floor exercise. As the only UAA gymnast to qualify for last season’s NCAA West Regional tournament as an all-arounder, the Nebraska native has plenty of reasons to be eager for one last season with the Seawolves.

“I’m really excited for this season, also really sad because I’ve been doing gymnastics for 21 years, since I’ve been born,” Matsunami said. “After I’m done, its just going to be a shock, I think.”

After this weekend, the Seawolves will only have two more home meets, on March 11 and 13 against conference-rival Air Force.

UAA students taking 6 or more credits get in free to all home UAA athletic events. For more on the gymnastics team, visit goseawolves.com.

Written by Nolin Ainsworth