Gymnasts strike a winning pose

The Falcons defeated the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) 191.850 to 188.300 in their first gymnastics meet of the season Friday night at Royal Brougham Pavilion, making it the highest opening meet in their history.

Last year’s all-around national champion Debra Huss took first place in Friday night’s all-around competition with a score of 38.450, while the Falcons kept the lead through the entire meet.

"They did a lot better than I expected, especially on the bars. The vault was the strongest and I am interested to see how they do against Division I teams," head coach Laurel Tindall said.

SPU began the meet strong with their best event, the vault, receiving a score of 48.4, while the UAA Seawolves put up a 46.95 on the uneven bars. SPU kept the momentum going for the second rotation on the uneven bars, while UAA was on the vault. Alaska’s Dominique Ingram took first place for the vault competition, with a score of 9.800, and Lauren Agostino and SPU’s Kristin Bryant tied for second with scores of 9.75 on the vault.

On the uneven bars, Debra Huss had the highest score with 9.700, followed by Ingram with 9.625 and newcomer Brianna Schwartz with 9.600.

The Seawolves took the floor in the third rotation, receiving a final score of 47.025, their highest event score of the night, while the Falcons had the balance beam and remained in the lead with 47.775 points. The Falcons topped the evening off with a score of 48.000 on floor exercise, leaving Alaska trailing with a score of 46.675 on the balance beam.

In the individual balance beam competition, SPU’s Sarah Sullivan, an all-American, won first place with a score of 9.750, and Alaska’s Agostino and Jessica Portlock tied for second with 9.675. In the floor competition, Huss once again took the lead with a score of 9.825, which was the highest individual score of the night in a competition. Bryant and Portlock were tied for second with scores of 9.625.

The individual overall results put Huss in first place with a score of 38.450, Agostino in second with 38.400, and Sullivan in third with 38.375. Debra Huss won the all-around national championship in 2005, according to the USAG Collegiate Rankings.

"I thought I did well. I made all of the new skills I just learned. I wasn’t sure how I would do since they were new for me, and I actually fell on an old one, but I thought I did well," Huss said.

The meet ended with a dance routine from the entire team, which set the tone of victory for the night.

Next up, the Falcons will face the University of Washington (UW) and Arizona State University at UW’s Bank of America Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. Arizona State is currently ranked No. 13 in Division I, and their best competitor is Ashley Kelly, with a score of 39.037. Washington is ranked No. 29, and their best competitor is Ashley Haughting, with a score of 38.050.

"It will be an interesting meet, a totally different atmosphere. There’ll be two Division I teams. We’ll just have to keep working on our routine and work hard in the gym. We need to focus on ourselves and our routine. It just matters how we do as a team," Sullivan said.

The upperclassmen were also very proud of how well the new freshmen on the team performed at their first college gymnastics meet.

"I was really excited to see how the freshmen would do. It was really cool to see how the freshmen would step up. One of our freshmen stepped up and hit, and it made us really excited and pumped up the meet for us, so that was pretty exciting," Bryant said.

The next home meet is Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. against San Jose State, ranked No. 36, in Royal Brougham Pavilion. Students who show their ID card will get in free.

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Title: Gymnasts strike a winning pose | Author: Andrea Weide | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2006-01-25 | Internal ID: 4805