Gymnasts score season high

The Falcon gymnasts posted their highest meet score of the season on Friday night, but it wasn’t enough to beat Sacramento State, as the Hornets won 194.475-192.050.

The Falcons achieved their high score thanks to remarkable personal performances, as at least one gymnast posted a personal best score on every event.

Vault was particularly strong for the team. Senior Alison Siegel-McAfee and freshman Corrie McDaniel tied their personal bests on the event, while sophomore Annastasia Ahr and freshman Kari Kelly set new personal highs for the season. Siegel-McAfee went on to win the event with a score of 9.750.

Kelly was also strong on bars, as she came in with a 9.725, nearly a point over her previous high score.

Siegel-McAfee and McDaniel were on fire for the final two events of the evening, beam and floor exercise. Both gymnasts surpassed their previous high marks on the events and scored second and third, respectively, on beam.

Junior Kristen Strid also hit her season high 9.725 on beam.

Floor exercise was the event of the night, as the season-high score was pushed to 9.900 by Siegel-McAfee. McDaniel pushed even further with her season-high of 9.925.

For her hard work, McDaniel earned herself second place in the all-around with a score of 38.750. Close behind was Siegel-McAfee, in third at 38.650.

"We did work on sticking our landings on floor," head coach Laurel Tindall said. "Especially for Corrie, the judges noted that."

The Falcons’ high scores this week come after two weeks of solid road meets.

Back in Royal Brougham Pavilion, the team competed before stands full of preview students, but it was a quieter crowd than usual.

Freshmen Jared Siegel and Steve Bretz were not among the subdued fans.

Introduced by McDaniel as "the ultimate fans," Siegel and Bretz have been a mainstay at all Falcon home meets this season. "And we’ll be there next week at UW, too," Siegel said.

Siegel, younger brother of Alison Siegel-McAfee, and Bretz have taken it upon themselves to encourage the gymnasts every chance they get.

"We ate breakfast with them for the first time this morning, and that’s why they did so well," Bretz said, referring to the high team score.

According to the "ultimate fans," their main task before meets is inventing creative slogans for the supportive signs they wave from the stands. They then have some of their female friends in Ashton actually design the signs, as they believe the artistic quality improves by outsourcing.

Among the signs on display Friday night was "Send Sac back to Sea-Tac," referring to Sacramento State.

In a more poignant moment, they waved their "Missy We Miss You" sign, a tribute to senior Missy McLaughlin, out for at least six weeks with a broken ankle.

"We had signs for her all season," Siegel said.

"We had some good ones. But I guess we’ll just keep reusing this one," he said as he weakly held Missy’s sign at half-mast.

"Poor Missy," echoed Bretz.

These ultimate fans have big dreams.

"We need a rooters’ bus–no, two rooters’ busses!" Bretz said, in reference to the team’s upcoming meet at the University of Washington.

The Falcons take on UW and UCLA just across town on Friday night at 7.

UCLA currently stands in sixth place in the NCAA rankings of all gymnastics teams. UW is holding firm at 34th in Division I, while the Falcons come in at fourth among Division II teams.

The UCLA team includes four former Olympians, two from the United States and two from Canada. Sophomore Jamie Dantzscher competed for the United States at the 2000 Sydney games and also scored perfect 10s on floor and bars at her first-ever college meet.

Going up against such strong teams can be a daunting task for the gymnasts, and they hope to come out more focused than ever.

"We’re going up against some top schools in the next couple weeks," Kingsley said after last Friday’s meet. "We’ve still got work to do. … Our confidence is still not completely there."

Tindall knows her team will be challenged in the upcoming meets.

"ULCA is sixth, Stanford is eighth, and Oregon State is in the top 18 nationally," Tindall said, surveying the team’s March schedule.

"We’ve got three weeks of definitely Division I top 20 teams," she said. "Hopefully we’ll do well against them. We need to stay clean and hit our sets."

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Title: Gymnasts score season high | Author: Michelle Wunsch | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2002-02-27 | Internal ID: 2528