For a gymnastics team, “finishing strong” means stepping it up to a new level as it approaches its final rotation of the meet.
Aggie coach John Lavallee said the Causeway Classic on Friday was a prime example of doing just that.
“The girls really did an amazing job going into Sacramento State and performing as well as they did against a team that has always been very strong,” Lavallee said. “We had a couple of falls on our first event. Then in the last half of the meet on floor and vault, we were dead on.”
UC Davis’ performance led them to a 191.525 to 190.700 victory over Sacramento State, the Aggies’ first defeat over the Hornets since 2002. Seattle Pacific, a squad that UC Davis beat last week, finished third with a score of 186.450.
“I’ve been extremely impressed by how this team has performed,” Lavallee said. “Especially the way they responded after last week’s meet. It really took everyone’s effort to go out there and come away with a victory.”
The victory snaps a streak in which the Hornets had defeated the Aggies in 22 straight meetings. For this, Lavallee praised the competitiveness of his squad.
“It really shows the strength of the team,” Lavallee said. “The talent this year is very high. Additionally, they’re excellent competitors. They’re focused and they’re really determined.”
UC Davis showed this as seniors Tanya Ho, Kendall McCann and freshman Katie Yamamura took the top three spots in the all-around with respective scores of 38.375, 38.100, and 37.775.
Ho, who was named MPSF Gymnast of the Week for her performance at Seattle Pacific last weekend, also took first on uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.775.
With two more strong outings by Ho and Yamamura, they have now finished in the top three positions in the all-around for the each of the first three meets of the season.
While Ho and Yamamura specialize in the all-around, McCann competed in the event for the first time this year. Her second-place finish excited Lavallee.
“Kendall is an extremely talented gymnast,” Lavallee said. “She’s been a good competitor for us for four seasons. She did four events for us, and she performed extremely well.”
She posted a total of 38.100 points for the Aggies in the all-around, consistently putting up scores of at least 9.350 in each rotation.
She was not focused on her own success though.
“I’m happy with my performance because I’m happy to do what I could do for the team,” McCann said. “I’m really excited we could beat Sacramento. It’s been a while, and I knew we were capable.”
McCann said the Causeway Classic on Friday has set the tone for the rest of the season.
“It’s money in the bank,” McCann said. “I see this as a confidence booster. We proved to ourselves that we can do it. Our team has never been this strong, and we’re hitting so many routines. It’s really good for us.”
Next Saturday, the Aggies look to take their momentum into another MPSF match as they take on Air Force.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.