Friday night’s meet at University of California, Davis took some unexpected falls for the Falcons, yet Tuesday’s home meet against Eastern Michigan University took expectations to a greater level.
On Thursday, the Falcons placed second with a total of 186.975 while UC Davis took first with a score of 192.35.
The women arrived at their meet pumped up and with high hopes, but had some falls on the bars and during the floor routine that they don’t normally have, senior Brianna Schwartz said. When a gymnast falls in an event, she loses five-tenths of a point, Schwartz said.
After falling on their previous events, SPU improved their beam performances, sticking three out of six without falling, compared to last week’s one out of six, Schwartz said.
Although the Falcons didn’t receive the score they were hoping for, this meet served as an opportunity for individuals to improve in their events, and for some, to try new things. While the team had lots of falls, there were less technical mistakes, freshman Haylee Yepson said.
Yepson competed all-around for her first time at a collegiate level and earned second place with a score of 37.525. Yepson earned a 9.275 on bars, 9.5 on beam, 9.4 on floor exercise and 9.35 on vault.
"It’s a little bit of success, but makes me want to work harder on the things that may have gone wrong," Yepson said. "It’s a good confidence boost but lights the fire under you to work even harder."
"I just work. I don’t really think of making lineups," Yepson said. "I think about working hard in the gym and getting my assignments done. The competition part comes after. Focusing on making lineups, I’ve done worse in meets."
Sophomore Jennifer Lehman also competed in all-around competition and placed fifth with a 35.75, along with sophomore Laura Willis, who placed third with a 37.1.
Freshman Corrine Wise placed second on beam with a solid 9.7, being SPU’s top scorer on the beam this season, while sophomore Bri Steigauf gave a great floor routine, taking second place with a 9.725.
Also, freshman Sherah Veron upgraded her vault performance from a front handspring-front tuck to now competing with a front handspring-pike. Veron, also with Willis and freshman Lari Wilson, tied with a 9.5 as SPU’s top vault placers of the night.
Arriving in California, Schwartz was on crutches due to a heel injury but still competed in bars, placing fourth with a 9.625.
As for Tuesday’s meet with EMU, the Falcons placed second with a 188.7 while EMU took first with a 190.475.
"The girls really stepped up their intensity and expectations, which made their performance better," assistant coach Kathy Siwek said. "They stepped it up in practice and it showed tonight."
"From Friday to Tuesday, we raised that level of expectation, and we’ll raise it again on Friday," Siwek said.
Once again, Yepson earned second place in all-around competition with a 37.825. Yepson scored a 9.475 on vault, 9.350 on bars, 9.475 on beam (taking second place) and 9.525 on floor exercise. She improved her scores on vault, bars and beam from Friday’s meet.
Veron earned second place on floor with a solid 9.75. Also, freshman Brittney Malone gave an outstanding performance on floor, earning third place with freshman Stacie Wood of EMU, scoring a 9.725.
Schwartz earned first on bars with a 9.75, with Willis and freshman Kaysha Heck both tying for third with a 9.625.
Sophomore Leslie Archer and freshman Lari Wilson both tied for third with freshman Kelli Fisher of EMU with a 9.65 on vault.
With three meets in eight days, the Falcons have to focus less on physical training and more on the mental aspect of the sport, Schwartz said.
"Laurel (Tindall) said it’s a mental training week … where we do our routines in our head," Schwartz said of the head coach. "It’s a big key thing for success in gymnastics."
In terms of numbers, gymnastics is 40 percent physical and 60 percent mental, Schwartz said.
"It was all mental for me this week. There was no difference in my physical training," Yepson said. "But my attitude going into the meet was stronger and more mentally prepared for the meet."
"We train and train. … Our bodies know we can physically do it. We just have to mentally remember the cues to help us get it done," Schwartz said.
The Falcons are currently ranked fifth place for going to nationals, but that could change soon with the addition of two more teams in the rankings.
"I hope that they can make the top four at nationals," Siwek said. "They’re that good."
The Falcons will continue to strive for consistent team success at their upcoming meet in Royal Brougham Pavilion at 7 p.m. Friday against Eastern Michigan.
"Everyone hits their events well at different meets," Yepson said. "Now we just need to hit events together at the same meet."
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Title: SPU overcomes tough falls | Author: Rachel Zylstra | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2009-02-25 | Internal ID: 5943