Losing a key member of the starting lineup to injury can be detrimental to any team’s success. Battling and winning without the hurt player can really show how strong a squad can be, however.
That’s exactly what the UC Davis gymnastics team did Friday night in its win over Seattle Pacific.
After losing sophomore gymnast Katie Yamamura to an injury during warm-ups, coach John Lavallee pulled the gymnasts off the bench and asked them to step up for the team.
Inspired by the coach’s message, the Aggies racked up a 192.375 against Seattle Pacific, who came in behind with a 191.150. UC Davis added another win to its record, which now stands at 5-1.
Since Yamamura was an all-around gymnast, Lavallee needed to replace four spots in the line-up.
“Any time you have to make replacements, it’s difficult,” Lavallee said. “It’s good to see the team’s flexibility and their ability to stay strong despite the changes.”
Four different teammates stepped up together, each covering one event. Junior Erika Van Dyke performed the uneven bars – her first time competing in this event as an Aggie.
On the balance beam, junior Lauren Eller stepped up in Yamamura’s place. Freshman Christine Shaffer earned an impressive 9.525 in her debut vaulting performance. On the floor exercise, sophomore Taryn West led the event.
“Our floor exercise was extremely exciting,” Lavallee said. “We really rocked the floor. We had six great performances.”
Other highlights included senior Stacey Nicolini, who performed the all-around for the first time since she was a freshman. The Novato, Calif. native came in third with a cumulative 38.000.
“[Nicolini] really helped solidify the team score,” Lavallee said. “I think this meet was a great sign of how strong our team really is.”
Senior Marcy Miller hit all four of her events and scored a 38.800, her personal career best.
UC Davis returns to action in a home dual with Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe Air Force this Friday.
CALEIGH GUOYNES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.