Teams: UC Davis at California, Sacramento State
Where: Haas Pavilion – Berkeley, Calif.
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: After advancing to the NCAA West Regional and being named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year in 2007, senior co-captain Andi Dolinsky had her sights set even higher for the 2008 campaign.
Due to a torn meniscus and a bulging disc, however, that was not to be.
After sitting out practically the entire 2008 season, Dolinsky is back and ready to make her senior campaign her best one yet.
“She’s had a string of little things that added up,” said head coach John Lavallee, “but she’s done a very good job in practice and I think we’ll probably see a similar performance to what we saw two years ago.“
Did you know? In their last meet as a full team in 2008, the Aggies set a school record 194.700 en route to their first MPSF team title in school history.
The team score is determined by adding the score of the four apparatuses – vault, bars, beam and floor – which are in turn determined by the scores of the top five individuals on each apparatus, though six athletes can compete.
Preview: Saturday’s season debut should be quite the test for the reigning MPSF champs, as both Sacramento State and California received votes in the national polls.
“I think competing against nationally ranked teams will only make us stronger,” said senior co-captain Adee Schoffman. “We have no room for slacking off. Hopefully, we will just perform the same way we have been in the gym.“
That optimism extends far past this weekend to the entirety of the season.
“This is the strongest team we have had since I’ve been here,” Schoffman said. “I think we can expect some new records this year. I also would like to see my team make it to regionals this year and sweep the conference championship again.“
Though big scores and accolades are likely on the horizon, Aggie fans shouldn’t expect another 194 this week.
“The reality is that this is our first meet of the year,” Lavallee said, “so we’re not necessarily looking for our best performance of the year. Really, we need to come out and compete well.“
This is especially true for Dolinsky, after sitting out nearly a full season.
“I pretty much spent the whole summer in physical therapy and not training in the gym,” Dolinsky said, “so my personal goal is just to get back into things. I’d love to get a super high score, but the first step is just to stay on my feet.“
Let’s hope she does – it’s a 0.5 point deduction for a fall.
– Alex Wolf-Root