SPU is ready to flex their freshmen

New and familiar faces have prepared to take on the competition that lies ahead in the 2018 gymnastics season.

New and familiar faces have prepared to take on the competition that lies ahead in the 2018 gymnastics season.

Six brand new names have appeared on the Falcon’s gymnastics roster, along with the reappearance of SPU’s 2016-2017 Athlete of the Year Darian Burns, as well as several others from the previous years.

Along with Burns’ stellar performance, last year’s Falcons squad created quite the campaign by capping off their eighth consecutive nationals appearance, posting a fifth-place showing at the USA Gym Championships that were held at SPU.

The NCAA Division II Falcons qualified for the national meet in 34 of the last 35 years, and individually, SPU gymnasts collected seven All-America awards in 2017.The newest members of the gymnastics team intend on continuing the success of the Falcons.

“The freshman class will make up a big part of our lineup,” said Laurel Tindall, the head coach of the Seattle Pacific University gymnastics team. “They will have the same pressure to perform as everyone else — it is a team thing. Hopefully all want to perform well for the team.  gymnasts usually put more pressure on themselves than their coaches do.”

The six new recruits consist of Kylie Reese, who trained at the National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics; McKenna Zimmermann, who was a part of Airborne Gymnastics; Haven Lanzador, who competed with the Buckeye Gymnastics; Jadacie Durst, who competed for the Flips USA Gymnastics club; Shelbi Spivey, who was a member with the Zero Gravity club; and finally, Autumn Huskie, who continues a long line of Falcons gymnasts and trained at the Colorado Gymnastics Institute.

Despite the influx of gymnasts, “this is the smallest team we have had in the past eight years, at least, so we can’t afford a lot of injuries,” Tindall said. “That will really be the key to how we finish this year, keeping them healthy and training well.”

Although the gymnastics team is a smaller group, Tindall believes in their abilities to perform and stand out from the other teams in their division. “We are hoping to have [two to three] all-around athletes this year,” she said. “Darian will be adding the beam to the three events that she competed last year. Itzia will be adding Bars to her competition set. Freshman McKenna Zimmerman may also get some opportunities to compete as an all-around.”

The athletes will finally get to perform at a SPU hosted meet for the first time since last season.

The last time the Falcons clashed with UC Davis was Feb. 24 of last season. SPU took fourth place behind third place Sacramento State, second place San Jose State and finally first place UC Davis.

Despite the last place at the meet, the Falcons were able to tie one of their own records. Kristi Hayashida tied the balance beam record for SPU; she scored a 9.925, equalling Alison Siegel’s 16-year-old school standard.

The Falcons will face off against the UC Davis Aggies on Friday, Jan. 12, in the Royal Brougham Pavilion at 7 p.m.“We love to open at home,” Tindall said. “We are hoping that some things will fall together this week and that we will have a good performance. With the winter break though it has been tough to get back in the shape that we were in for our inter-squad in December. We are also still looking for some of the athletes to step up after the injury this week to Matsune who was a factor on three events.”

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