Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton
Record: Aggies, 3-1; Titans, 0-0
Where: Titan Gym – Fullerton, Calif.
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
Who to watch: Freshman Anna Shumaker is both “dynamic and powerful” according to Coach John Lavallee.
Planning a transition from starting in the tuck position to a lead-out position, the Alameda, Calif. native has been practicing rigorously. This new technique is a much more difficult one to land, but it will bring in a higher score.
Shumaker is also adjusting to the collegiate level of competition.
“Freshmen are exposed to a different set of stressors,” Lavallee said. “Club teams in high school are all individual, but in college their scores are going towards the team total. It takes time to get used to the pressure, but our team has done a good job handling everything.”
Did you know? The competition this Friday is known as a “Beauty and the Beast” meet because both the gymnasts and wrestlers will be competing in the same gym. When UC Davis hosted these matches, it brought in a larger than average group of spectators, according to Lavallee.
Preview: In one corner stand the gymnasts, poised and controlled, ready to land that back handspring. In the other corner crouch the wrestlers, gruff and menacing, ready to take down their opponent.
This unique juxtaposition will be one of the main highlights at Friday’s meet in Fullerton, Calif.
Another highlight for spectators will be watching the Aggies fight to climb up the national ranks. This is the Aggies’ third meet of the season and promises to be an enduring competition, according to Lavallee.
Ranked 40th in the country, the Aggies are starting this year where they finished last year – a good sign they are heading in the right direction with their training.
“We’re going to continue climbing up the ratings and make top 36,” Lavallee said. “Those top 36 teams will make it to NCAA Regionals and right now the scores are all very, very close.”
The Aggies are planning to tone and tuck aspects of their routines.
“We’re planning to rack up vaulting a little bit because we’ve been holding ourselves back,” Lavallee said. “Other events will be about continuing our progression towards higher scores.”
Against Cal State Fullerton this weekend, UC Davis plans to pull out all the stops.
“We need to go big and not hold back,” Lavallee said. “When we do that, we’ll see a big jump in our score.”
– Caleigh Guoynes