Last week the Aggies struggled on beam, finishing third. This time around, they dominated.
“We finished the meet on balance beam,” said coach John Lavallee, “which the week before we had trouble with. We stepped it up and hit five of six routines. That’s a real great sign, to perform that well under pressure like that on the end of the day.“
Though falling to No. 23 San Jose State, the Aggies tied BYU with their score of 190.650. This makes it two meets in a row that the Aggies have broken the 190-point barrier, a feat that they didn’t achieve in either of their first two meets last year.
“I am really proud of my team’s performance,” said junior Tanya Ho. “Hitting 190 these first two meets of the season is a great start for us.“
Ho had a very strong meet for the Aggies, leading in both the vault (9.725) and beam (9.675). Additionally, she competed in the all around for the first time this season.
“I was really nervous for floor because it is my weakest event and I have two new tumbling passes,” she said. “During warm ups, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I cannot do all around!’ It’s amazing how adding just one more event can make me so much more tired, physically and mentally.“
Despite a tough schedule, senior co-captain Adee Schoffman put forth a solid performance on the night, scoring on vault (9.625), bars (9.250) and floor (9.550).
“My strong point is fighting,” said Schoffman. “I was actually first up in the whole meet on floor. This is a difficult position because it sets the mood for the rest of the lineup. I still haven’t quite figured out how to relax on bars, which is the one event I need to fight through a little less.“
As is, Schoffman has done a lot of fighting on bars, having just recovered from her most recent shoulder surgery in May. Before this season, her last time on bars was in Israel in 2005, where she represented the United States at the Maccabiah Games. Schoffman earned silver on all around while helping Team USA to gold.
The bars were led by another impressive performance from junior Lida Gehlen, whose score of 9.675 placed her in a tie for third. She was followed by freshman Chantel Hibbard (9.600), who also scored on vault.
The floor was led by senior co-captain Andi Dolinsky (9.725), who was immediately followed by freshman Jennifer Mueller (9.700) and Erika Van Dyke (9.675).
“I think it’s still very early in the season,” said Lavallee, “but I think we’re really setting ourselves up at this point to really have a good, strong finish. It was pretty intense Friday night; we went in and had a very good performance for us. We hit 20 of 24 routines; that’s a very good performance this early in the year.“
Next up for the Aggies is their first of four home meets as they face fellow Mountain Pacific Sports Federation member Air Force. It will take place at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion.
“We are really excited to be home this week,” said Schoffman. “I’m hoping the recent Olympic success will bring a bigger crowd to our events. It will be nice to be in our own territory.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.