The Seattle Pacific University gymnastics team had already accomplished more than they had hoped for at this point in the season — given that they had just set the all-time point record for SPU. They are also putting up consistently high scores every week, which is boosting their effort to cruise into nationals at the end of the season. Although these high numbers aren’t necessarily something that the team predicted when the season started, they have become nothing but expected at this point, according to sophomore Maria Hundley.
“We are just getting more confident,” Hundley said. “We are able to understand that we are capable of [high scores]. At the beginning of the season we didn’t know. Now it’s expected.”
The high scores that the team is now used to is anything in the 193 range. In fact, the last the meets the Falcons have scored at or above that mark, including their record-smashing 194.575. This trend continued at their latest meet at Boise State, when the team scored a solid 193.350 on Saturday. Head coach Laurel Tindall will tell you these scores have everything to do with the gymnasts on the squad this year, that they are special.
“We’ve got some great gymnasts [this year],” Laurel Tindall said.
There might have been some cause for nervousness this week because of the fact that they are coming off of such a monster score – and the team may have been struggling to get their head back from the clouds as they try to refocus for the meet at hand. However, the team did not struggle one bit.
“We are pretty good at living in the present,” Hundley said. “We got some pretty high scores. We do what we need to do today and not tomorrow.”
The team put up good numbers in their four events, posting a 48 or better in all of them except for the beam, which has been the biggest problem for the team.
It turned into an even bigger problem when SPU’s junior Teryn Loland tore her ACL on the warm ups for that event, ending her season.
“She’s such a good teammate and I rely on her to cheer me on mentally,” senior Kai Tindall said. “I’m going to miss her a lot at away meets. She’s helpful in encouraging the little things.”
One area that Loland really excelled in was the vault, as her vaults have a very high start value. With others filling in for her with lower start values on vault, the team is really going to miss those points for the meets in the future.
However, despite the injury the Falcons were able to carry on with a solid outing and turn in the score that they wanted–something that is huge in their battle for nationals, as they take the average of their best scores.
And with each new high score they get, they are able to drop a lower score that the team wasn’t too proud of. This week? They dropped a measly 190.750 and replaced it with this 193.350, something that will greatly help that average.
“We are putting up for six best scores,” Laurel Tindall said. “We got rid of a [190.750] in our average. It will keep going up.”
The Falcons will yet again hit the road, only this time a little closer to home as they venture across I-5 to pay a visit to the University of Washington. It will be their final regular season meet of the year. This is good news — the road has been taking a toll on the team.
“It’s hard to have the whole team behind us,” senior Kenley Memmel said. “The people that stay home are super supportive. However, when we are on the road we get our job done.”
The good thing about having a meet so close to home is that they will get similar fan support, something that the team thrives on.
“We love having our home crowd,” Kai Tindall said. “At away meets we get maybe 20 people cheering.”
However, some members of the team have their eye’s set on something that doesn’t happen too often for SPU — beating a Division-I opponent.
“Beating [University of Washington] would be cool,” said junior Shannon Escarra, who completed the first all-around performance of the season for SPU after she scored a 38.600 total on all four events, never scoring less than an 8.500. “We definitely came close to beating them last time.”
With a meet so close to home, picking up some work from an injured teammate and a score average on the rise, everything looks set for the Falcons to make one more statement before the regular season ends and all the attention turns to nationals. The meet will be on Friday at Edmundson Pavilion at 7 p.m.