Before the Aggies’ first home meet of the 2010 season on Sunday, the program introduced what it called the “Special Faculty Assistant Coach of the Day.”
When asked to attend the event, the guest of honor, Dr. Jeff Weidner, shared some words of wisdom with the team – be T.S.U.: Tough, Strong and Unselfish.
According to coach John Lavallee, UC Davis succeeded in all of these categories.
“Our goals were really about working as a unit,” Lavallee said. “It was our first meet. Our performance was really going to be based on how we conducted ourselves, overcame adversity and maintained focus. It really showed that we did an excellent job in all of those aspects.”
One sharp Aggie included was freshman Katie Yamamura. Yamamura won the individual floor exercise with a score of 9.750 and placed second in the All-Around standings with a score of 38.575. She also contributed to the Aggies’ 48.425 on vault with a score of 9.7.
“I was really comfortable out there,” Yamamura said. “We had done a lot of routines during preseason, and we were ready to compete.”
Yamamura’s performance helped lead UC Davis to a 191.000 team total as it finished the season-opener in second place behind San Jose State who scored 191.800. In third place was Cal State Fullerton with a score of 188.000 and in fourth was Wisconsin-Whitewater with 181.725.
Lavallee was impressed by the team’s overall display of excellence.
“Our first two events were absolutely outstanding,” Lavallee said. “We hit every routine on vault and bars. Then we went to beam and had a couple hiccups, but we came back out on floor exercise and did very well.”
If Yamamura had any trouble on beam at all, it was minimal as she tied All-Around winner Thomasina Wallace of San Jose State for second with a score of 9.600.
“Yamamura was outstanding in her first [college] competition,” Lavallee said. “She really did a great job stepping up for us today.”
Several Aggies’ seniors also had stellar performances, including Lida Gehlen’s 9.775 score and Tanya Ho’s 9.750 on uneven bars. The two placed second and third, respectively in the event. Team captain Michelle Bobonski also placed third on vault with a tally of 9.800.
“We have a great group of seniors this year,” Lavallee said. “They’re a powerful group and they make it easy for the others to follow them.”
UC Davis looks to continue its success as the squad travels north to compete against long-time conference rival Seattle Pacific on Friday.
“Seattle Pacific is always a good competition, and we have to work hard up there,” Lavallee said. “We are really in the place we need to be to start the season.”
Lavallee plans to discuss individual performance goals with his team and focus on taking consistent strides to maintain a high level of competition throughout the 2010 campaign.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.