Seawolf gymnasts fend off Centenary

On Feb. 9 and 11, the UAA gymnastics team earned two victories in dual meets against Division III Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. After struggling with injuries, the Seawolves are now on the road to recovery, beating the Centenary Ladies with 188.500 to 187.700 on Feb. 9 and 189.050 to 188.750 on Feb. 11.

The Friday meet was highlighted by the all-around performance of sophomore Mackenzie Miller. The Michigan native scored a career-high score of 38.200 to take home the all-around victory and boost the team to its fourth meet win of the 2018 season.

Despite the injuries and illnesses the team overcame in the last weeks, she believes that the UAA team is still competitive.

“I think the team has continued to do a great job throughout the season, even with all of the injuries. A lot of girls have really stepped up and I’m very proud of how far we have come. This has added a lot of depth to the team,” Miller said.

Freshman Isabelle Fox placed second in all-around with a result of 38.075.

Vault was the strongest event for the UAA gymnasts, making up for a rocky start on the uneven bars. Isabelle Fox and sophomore Kennedy Green placed first with scores of 9.675, respectively. This score meant a career best for Green. With the help of junior Kierra Abraham’s 9.625, the Seawolves swept the top three ranks and posted a season-high team score for vault with 48.075.

Senior Kendra Daniels secured the highest score for UAA in floor exercise. Her 9.625 ranked her second, just 0.050 points shy of Centenary’s Navia Jordan result.

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With 9.725, Daniels also performed well on the balance beam, followed by freshmen Fox (9.625) and Hope Nelson (9.600). Again, UAA went 1-2-3 on this apparatus.

Hope Nelson transitions between uneven bars. Nelson scored a 9.7, winning the apparatus, during her rotation at the Feb. 11 meet versus Centenary in Shreveport, Louisiana. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

Team captain Madeleine Arbuckle made her debut back after suffering an injury in the Green and Gold intrasquad meet in December. At the Seawolf Invitational tri-meet, the senior had already performed exhibition routines in three events. This was her first time back in official line-up, helping her team with solid efforts in vault (9.450) and floor exercise (9.200).

Before the rematch on Sunday, the gymnastics team used their day off to attend the local Mardi Gras parade in Shreveport.

“Some of the girls had never seen a Mardi Gras parade before. We had a lot of fun with the team,” Sophia Hyderally said.

On Sunday, the team returned to Centenary’s Golden Dome.

This time, Fox earned the all-around win with a 38.400 after her runner-up performance on Friday. Her teammate Nelson contributed the highest uneven bars score with a score of 9.700, highlighting the troubled first rotation.

The Centenary Ladies were leading for the first half, but the Seawolves had a strong comeback during the last two rotations. They posted their best scores in floor exercise (47.875) and on balance beam (48.175) to earn a narrow victory over Centenary.

Daniels once again helped the Seawolves with her balance beam performance, scoring a winning 9.82. Fox earned a career high 9.775 in the last rotation, placing her second behind her teammate.

Boosted by the strong performances in the last rotation, UAA overcame Centenary and secured the overall win.

Head coach Tanya Ho was optimistic about the remaining part of the season after the two meets in Louisiana.

“We had a strong first half of the meet Friday night and a strong second half of the meet Sunday night. Once we figure out how to put those two together, we can become competitive within our conference,” Ho said.

In practice, the team will be working hard to achieve that, Miller explained.

“We’re still continuing to push ourselves in the gym every day,” Miller said. “I think our main focus right now is to stay healthy and continue to work hard. We want to be able to compete like we practice, so we’re really trying to focus on being clean and consistent in the gym.”

The gymnastic team returns to action on Feb. 23 in Seattle, Washington, facing conference foes Seattle Pacific and Sacramento State in a tri-meet. The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships are scheduled for March 24.