‘Gymwolves’ prepare for MPSF Championships

The Seawolf gymnastics team is set to compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Colorado Springs on March 24. It will be the first conference meet under Tanya Ho, the new and just second head coach in the history of the UAA gymnastics program.

The Seawolves posted their two highest scores of 2018 in their latest meets in Sacramento (191.925) and Seattle (191.950) after having trouble with injuries at the beginning of the season.

Junior Kaylin Mancari and the UAA gymnastics team will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Colorado Springs on March 24. The Seawolves are ranked sixth in the league. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

Junior Kaylin Mancari, natural sciences major, said that the challenges the Seawolves are facing this year helped them grow as a team.

“Having multiple girls out of the lineup early in the season was not easy, but it forced girls to step up and they came through in a big way for us,” Mancari said.

When posting their season high in Seattle against MPSF foes Seattle Pacific and Sacramento State, the Seawolves’ performances were highlighted by sophomore Mackenzie Miller and Isabelle Fox.

Miller has become one of the Seawolves’ most consistent scorers this season. After focusing only on bars and floor in her freshman year, the accounting major from Michigan has competed in all four events in six out of nine meets.

In Seattle, she earned a career-high on beam as UAA’s top scorer in this event with a result of 9.75 and posted UAA’s second-best bars score (9.700).

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Physical education major Fox was another reliable all-around performer for the “Gymwolves” in her rookie season. Fox, who earned MPSF freshman of the week honors in January, competed on all four apparatuses throughout the entire regular season.

After posting a 38.575 in Seattle, she earned an all-around score of 38.525 two weeks later, helping UAA to the two highest team scores of the season.

The team’s performance in Sacramento was also boosted by a team season high on floor. The total of 48.850 also ranks fifth in Seawolf history.

“We have been very consistent all year on floor and… at this point in the season, we are focusing on fixing the little details in our routines. I felt this was evident in our performances [two weeks ago],” Mancari said.

Mancari was one of the three Seawolves posting a career high on floor (9.800) in the quad meet hosted by Sacramento State. Senior Kendra Daniels was the top scorer in the event with 9.850 while sophomore Kennedy Green posted a new best of 9.650.

“I couldn’t be more excited to compete on the big stage again,” Mancari said.“The atmosphere at the championship adds to the excitement. I think I vouch for everyone when I say that we can’t wait to compete at the MPSF Championship.”

Sophomore Sophia Hyderally, school-record holder on the balance beam, feels optimistic about the postseason meet.

“I think the whole team is ready for conference. We’re peaking at the perfect time,” Hyderally said.

This year, Hyderally had to sit out the first meets of the season due to a knee injury and is now making a comeback on the uneven bars.

UAA will enter the MPSF meet ranked sixth in the league; rival UC Davis is seeded first in the conference. The Aggies, nationally ranked 34th, have claimed five out of eight MPSF crowns since UAA’s last conference title in 2009.

“I know if we do it at MPSFs, our team score should jump tremendously,” assistant coach Alina Cartwright, said. “I do expect more competitive fire from the team and confidence, because they are all capable of hitting their routines like they do at practice.”

The conference meet starts at 4 p.m. on March 24. Live coverage and more information about the meet can be found at mpsports.org.