Nearing the end of the quickly completed season, the Seawolves’ gymnastics team competed in the final meet of the season for most of the gymnasts.
The team competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on March 24, hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
With the MPSF Championships being the first conference meet for several of the gymnasts, senior Kendra Daniels used her experience to offer advice.
“Go out there with confidence and to have fun, because all meets are more exciting and thrilling when everyone on the whole team is focusing on each other and as a whole,” Daniels said.
Over the course of the last two months, the Seawolves have competed against 10 different teams, spread out through six different competition weekends.
Despite the amount of injuries and the lack of a full squad for the majority of the season, head coach Tanya Ho and assistant coach Alina Cartwright produced a season with four wins, one loss, one 2nd of 3 and two 3rd of 3 meets.
The team saw a season-high score of 191.950 and season-low of 186.150. The previous season’s gymnasts produced a 192.700 and 188.950 high and low, respectively.
The season high of 191.950 was last seen on Feb. 23 against Seattle Pacific and Sacramento State.
“[During the previous two weeks,] we were watching out for our beam lineup because we had some confidence showing, the skills everyone have been doing are so elegant and beautiful,” Daniels said.
With their season-high score, the Seawolves currently rank 71st against all Division 1 gymnastics teams in the nation. UAA’s conference competitors are No. 46 UC Davis, No. 50 San Jose, No. 52 Sacramento State, No. 57 Air Force and No. 65 Seattle Pacific.
Coming into the meet, several of the gymnasts recently posted career-highs on floor, including Daniels (9.85), Kennedy Green (9.65) and Kaylin Mancari (9.8).
“Our floor team, well, it’s thrilling. It’s nice that we didn’t have to worry about who’s going to make it and everyone was confident. I knew my teammates had my back… and I had theirs,” Daniels said.
Despite best efforts in the weeks prior, the highest scorer at the championships was Mancari with a 9.725, placing her in 17th.
Following her was Green in 25th (9.65), Isabelle Fox in 31st (9.525), Mackenzie Miller in 32nd (9.325) and Daniels and Nelson in 34th and 35th, respectively.
Green’s score proved to be a career high.
The highest scorer of the meet was freshman Hope Nelson, who placed third in bars with a score of 9.80. Second highest from the Seawolves was Sophia Hyderally, who placed 12th with a score of 9.750.
Fox scored a 9.850 on beam, which placed her in a 8-way tie. Daniels tied for beam at 17th, scoring a 9.800 with two other gymnasts.
Nelson and Mancari also placed in the top-25 for beam, at 21st and 23rd.
The Seawolves had two competitors for the all-around event. Fox and sophomore Miller, who competed in the 11-gymnast event, placed 10th and 11th, respectively.
Fox finished off with a score of 38.475 and Miller with a score of 37.70. The first place finisher, Kaitlin Won from San Jose State, scored a 39.225.
Together, the gymnasts concluded their season with a score of 192.200 which was the highest score for the 2017-18 Seawolf team.
Ho addressed their accomplishments in a press conference after the meet, satisfied with the progress they have made.
“We achieved a big goal of ours by breaking the 192 barrier tonight, and we’ve continued to improve throughout the year,” Ho said. “I’m really encouraged by the progress that each individual gymnast has made, while Isabelle and Hope showed tonight why they will be the rocks of our program for the next three years.”
With the end of the season for most of the gymnasts, they can now return their full focus to their academics for the remainder of the semester, as senior Madeleine Arbuckle noted.
“Even though we travel to the Lower 48 for almost all our meets, we usually don’t miss too much school. Regardless if we miss class or not, the challenge comes with having less time during the week and on the weekends to get school work done,” Arbuckle said.
The gymnasts will continue their off-season training until their next competition in spring of 2019.