UC Davis returned to the Pavilion for a second time last week in a triangular meet on Friday that kept hometown fans on the edge of their seats.
After leading through the first three rounds, UC Davis was narrowly defeated by California 191.750 to 191.600 in the fourth and final round of the meet. Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference rival Seattle Pacific placed third with a score of 189.275.
The score is UC Davis’ highest of the season. After starting the year with a respectable 190.500, the team has improved upon their score at every meet this year.
“We really had a good day,” head Coach John Lavallee said. “We’re inching forward.”
The Aggies began the meet on vault where junior Katie Yamamura scored an impressive 9.850 to take first in the event. Sophomore Anna Shumaker’s 9.725 put her in a three-way tie for second.
UC Davis struggled with some slips on the bars and beams in the following rounds, but was able to maintain its hold on first place going into the final round by 0.025 points. Yamamura placed in both events, earning second on the uneven parallel bars (9.775) and tying for first on beam (9.700).
Despite strong floor routines by the Aggies, including Yamamura’s second place finish with a score of 9.850, Cal was able to edge UC Davis in the final round, taking first by a narrow margin of 0.150.
“We’ve got to work on holding our technique when we get to the competition and doing it the same way that we do in practice every day,” Lavallee said . “That’s really hard to do.”
Yamamura’s overall performance proved to be the highlight of the meet for the Aggies. In addition to placing first or second in every event, she was also won the individual all-around. Her score of 39.125 is not only a personal career best, but is the third highest score in UC Davis history.
“I’m really happy with my performance,” Yamamura said. “Especially on beam since I had some falls in the last couple of meets.”
Freshman Tiana Montell finished third in her collegiate all-around debut, with solid performances in all four events.
Other highlights included a tie for third on floor by sophomore Madeline Kennedy and junior Taryn West (9.750), and a career-high in the event by Schumaker (9.700).
“We still have some falls to get out of the routines on bars and beams, but we’re really doing the right things,” said Lavalle. “As I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks, it’s going to kick in… [the freshmen and sophomores] are really coming around.”
The Aggies will have a chance for redemption on Sunday when they travel to Berkeley for a dual meet against Cal.
KAITLYN ZUFALL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.