85.1 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Aggies ground Air Force

The music was blasting, the crowd was jumping and the gymnasts were flipping. The energy from the home crowd translated to the gymnasts in UC Davis’ 192.100-188.950 victory over Air Force. This win pushed the Aggies’ record up to 6-1.

“I was ecstatic about the crowd [Friday],” coach John Lavallee said. “I just wanted to go up there in the stands and give everybody a high five. It’s such a great advantage for the team.”

The Falcons had strong performances on both the vault and uneven bars. But when it came to the floor exercise and balance beam, Air Force’s scores took a hit and UC Davis pushed through to the lead.

“It takes all four events to win a meet,” Lavallee said. “Each event has its own idiosyncrasies. We have to be ready for each event and not favor one over the other.”

Senior co-captains Stacey Nicolini and Jessica Rea both hit their routines and boosted the team score. Nicolini took first in the vault with a score of 9.750, her highest score on that event this year. Rea took second on the uneven bars with a score of 9.750.

Junior Erika Van Dyke took first on the balance beam and tied for first on the floor exercise with sophomore Michelle Ho.

“Michelle and I train together in practice,” Van Dyke said. “We both have really solid routines. It was really special to come out on top with her and share that award.”

Due to illness and injury, many of the underclassmen had to step up and fill the positions of the upperclassmen. Freshman Taryn West was one of the younger players who needed to step up in the floor exercise.

“Being able to fill spots and still win proves that our program, as a whole, has a lot of depth,” West said. “The whole team had high energy. We were motivated and cheering loud for each other.”

The floor exercise is unique because each gymnast chooses her own song and helps choreograph her own routine.

“My dad helped me pick my music,” West said. “We listen to songs together and find a song with a good beat and something that you can dance to. When I perform, I just think ‘have fun.’ That’s what makes it easiest.”

The Aggies will travel to San Jose, Calif. on Friday for a 7 p.m. meet with San Jose State and Boise State.

CALEIGH GUOYNES can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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