Gymnastics hosts multi-team invitational

On Feb. 3, Sacramento State and Air Force joined the Seawolves for their first time hosting a regular season meet in the main gym of the Alaska Airlines Center. The Seawolf Invitational took place over the course of four rotations, each team switching back and forth to perform routines on bars, beam, vault and floor.

“I really like competing at home, it’s really nice to have the home-court advantage and it’s really exciting to be able to compete in the big arena. I haven’t been able to compete there yet,” sophomore Mackenzie Miller said.

Kendra Daniels holds a pose during the floor exercise on Feb. 3. Daniels, a senior specializing in uneven bars, vault and floor, scored a 9.6 on the floor during her last home meet of her collegiate career. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

This meet was unique for the teams in several ways.

“This meet was exciting because it was our senior night and we were able to recognize seniors from Air Force and [Sacramento] State as well,” Head Coach Tanya Ho said.

Since the last meet, where the Seawolves were plagued with illness and injury, Ho said they came into this tri-meet more prepared.

“I am seeing a lot of depth from the team recently and we had three more healthy athletes back in this meet,” Ho said. “We were at 11 athletes, even though full strength would still be 13, 11 [athletes] is still a lot better than seven.”

Both away teams came to the meet with similar season averages: Air Force with 192.625 and Sacramento State averaging 192.356.

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In the past, UAA has had mixed results against each team. Last year, the Air Force visited UAA in early March, only to lose with a score discrepancy of nearly three points (194.125-191.975). However, Air Force has 10 wins over the Seawolves in all-time history (30-20).

As for Sacramento State, the Seawolves have only beat the Hornets nine times in meet history.

“It was our first time going against conference competitors so that was nice, but also it was lot of fun to see [Sacramento] State come up here, because I came from that program,” Ho said. “It was definitely nice to [compete against] Air Force too, they have been doing pretty well this year.”

Sacramento State last competed against UAA when the Seawolves traveled down to California in early February 2017. Sacramento State won their last encounter at 194.400 to 190.900.

Despite the excitement around the home event, the Seawolves ended up with a third place finish with a score of 190.125.

The Seawolves made two first place finishes, by freshman Isabelle Fox and senior Kendra Daniels.

Fox posted a 9.875 in floor, while Daniels posted the same score in beam.

Fox earned third place in vault (9.700), 12th in bars (9.375), and sixth in beam to finish the all-around in third with a final score of 38.700.

Fox’s third place finish in vault helped the team to their season best score in that event (48.025). Kennedy Green and Isabella Scalapino also placed high in vault, with a tie at seventh (9.600).

Freshman Hope Nelson also placed as the top UAA finisher in bars, with a final score of 9.675.

Despite the loss, the high level of competition helped the Seawolves each excel on a individual level.

“It was really exciting that we get to compete with these two really great schools,” Miller said. “We have a lot of experience competing with schools like this, but I was just excited to go out there and gain more experience against better schools.”

The gymnasts have competed in their final home meet of the season, but will be back in action again in Louisiana on Feb. 9 against Centenary.