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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Aggie gymnastics fall short against George Washington

If you’re looking for a way to de-stress, watching the UC Davis gymnastics team compete might just do the job. With energizing pop music, unending backflips and contagious smiles, these Aggies have crowds dancing in their seats week after week.

But despite high spirits and the heavy crowd support present at the Pavilion on Feb. 9, the women of UC Davis gymnastics fell short of their attempts to defeat 26th nationally ranked, George Washington University. The Aggies finished at 194.250 overall, trailing the Colonials who totaled 195.725.

The team saw three falls on beam, but recovered with soaring individual performances on vault, bars and floor. A 9.9 score executed by junior Katy Nogaki on vault was the highest of the scores the Aggies posted on Sunday. Nogaki took second place on vault, coming behind Colonial Cami Drouin-Allaire who posted a 9.925.

Junior Dani Judal posted scores of 9.825 or higher in all of her participated events. A 9.825 on bars and a score of 9.850 on both vault and beam, Judal was at her personal best this season, knocking season highs set at the Norcal Classic and at Utah State.

“I felt really good going into the meet. I made sure I stayed calm and confident,” said Judal. “I just went out there and did the best that I could.”

Judal’s secret for consistent performance is simple.

“I actually just take my iPod and block everything out. I’ll get in my little bubble and listen to hard core rap, or calming music like Ed Sheeran.”

Junior Stephanie Stamates posted the highest score for the Aggies on floor, tying with Colonial Chelsea Raineri at 9.875. Senior Kala DeFrancesco followed Stamates on floor with a close 9.850 for an overall third place in the event.

“Today was a little disappointing with three falls on beam,” said head coach John Lavallee, following the meet. “That’s not really going to get us to the top 36 qualifying regionals [as] we would like. But we’re very talented, and I’m sure we’re going to recover, and be just fine for next week.”

“We’ve got six meets left and we’ve got some work to do, but we’re certainly capable of climbing the ranks, and hopefully getting within the top 36,” said coach Lavalle.

The team returns to action at home on Feb. 13, facing off against 61st ranked Seattle Pacific University. Action begins at 7 p.m.

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