For graduating seniors Kayla Koch, Adee Schoffman and Andi Dolinsky, their last home meet was going to be exciting no matter the outcome.
A season-high score in front of a huge home crowd, many gymnastics alumni in the stands and the Cal Aggie Band-uh! made the afternoon even more memorable.
The Aggies‘ score of 192.950 was good enough to beat two highly ranked teams in New Hampshire and Bowling Green, falling only to Sac State (194.625).
“It was exciting, sad and crazy,” said Schoffman. “Mixed emotions. It was really fun though. It’s really fun to have everyone at home.“
“We had two very good events – vault and bars – and after two events we were in second place,” said coach John Lavallee. “Then we had some stumbles on our third event (beam) and dropped down to last place in the meet. We crawled our way back to second place on our last event (floor).“
Fittingly, floor was led by senior co-captains Schoffman and Dolinsky, who tied for third with a score of 9.775.
“Floor was a lot of fun,” said Dolinsky. “It’s always fun to go out in front of the crowd. I love having fans here. Everyone was out and having a good time. It was emotional, bittersweet, but it was a lot of fun.“
The very last routine of the meet was Koch on floor. Though competing exhibition, and thus not factoring into the team score, Koch impressed with a 9.675.
“I tried to soak in every minute of it,” said Koch, “because it goes by so fast. There was so much to be excited about today. I couldn’t have asked for a better last home meet of my career. To say the least, I’m pretty ecstatic.“
Though floor led the scoring with a score of 48.550, the bar squad was just as solid, posting a 48.525. They were led by junior Lida Gehlen’s 9.850, which was good enough for second individually.
Dolinsky said her bars performance, though exhibition, was especially exciting.
“Bars felt amazing because I hadn’t made a bar routine in a good week,” said Dolinsky. “Right before, I turned to the team and yelled, ‘I’m making it!’ and I made my routine. I actually made my dismount off one arm instead of two, and it was exciting to land on my feet.“
With yet another season-high in the books, the Aggies are looking toward some ever-bigger marks as they head into the end of the season.
“I’m hoping to break another school record, the team score and win the [Mountain Pacific Sports Federation] for sure.“
“I can’t wait to see our team rise to the occasion in the next couple of weeks because we have more than what it takes to do that,” said Koch. “I’m so proud of all of us, because it takes all 19 of us to do what we do each week.“
Though the Aggies will miss these three upon graduation, Sunday’s meet gave a hint of what the future will hold. Freshmen Erika Van Dyke and Jennifer Mueller both had impressive doubles, scoring on both beam and floor. Van Dyke scored 9.725 on both, with Mueller scoring 9.675 on beam and 9.750 on floor, both career-highs.
Though looking forward to their last two meets of the season, the Aggies will not be forgetting this Sunday’s meet.
“We outscored and outperformed two teams that were ranked much higher than us,” said Lavallee. “This was definitively when we needed to step up and hit some big routines, and we did today. Really, that was a good example of Aggie Pride.“
ALEX WOLF-ROOT can be reached at email@example.com.