UC Davis women’s gymnastics placed fifth among six teams at the NCAA Fayetteville Region Championship at Barnhill Arena on April 5. It was the first time the Aggies competed as a team in the NCAA postseason for gymnastics since 1998.
The Aggies started the meet slow, scoring 47.850 on beam. Sophomore Stephanie Stamates posted a team-high 9.725, followed by a 9.700 from sophomore Dani Judal and a 9.600 from senior Madeline Kennedy. With 47.850, UC Davis placed fifth on beam, while UCLA and Utah tied for first with 49.200.
However, UC Davis rallied back in the third rotation on floor exercise, scoring 48.825 with a 9.859 team-high score again from Stamates. Junior Kala DeFrancesco continued her good form and finished with a 9.800 on floor, followed by a 9.750 from junior Tiana Montell. UCLA finished with a season-best 49.925 on floor exercise.
The Aggies continued their momentum on vault and finished with a 48.600. Senior Anna Shumaker hit a team-high 9.825, and it was her last performance of her collegiate career. DeFrancesco scored a 9.750 and Stamates finished with 9.725. Utah made the highest score, 49.325 on vault.
In the final rotation, the Aggies closed the meet with a 48.625 on uneven parallel bars. Junior Lisa Wiktorski notched a team-high 9.825, while Shumaker, DeFrancesco, sophomore Jamie Yamashita and freshman Yonni Michovska each hit a 9.700 for UC Davis.
With the team’s effort, UC Davis finished its first team appearance at NCAA Regional with a 193.900. Utah ranked first with a 197.300, with UCLA making a second-place finish by scoring 196.375.
Shumaker was the only UC Davis’ all-arounder, and ranked eighth among 13 all-around gymnasts with a 38.550. UCLA’s Samantha Peszek scored 39.700 in total for the first place, and Katherine Grable from Arkansas placed second with a 39.675.
Additionally, during the postgame conference, Tamara Ross was named as the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. She has been coaching the Aggies for five years.
JANET ZENG can be reached at email@example.com.