March 24, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman Tiana Montell captured the individual all-around title with a career-high 38.725 while sophomore Madeline Kennedy and junior Katie Yamamura each picked up three event championships, helping UC Davis claim its third straight team title at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women's gymnastics championship at the Pavilion Saturday night.
Yamamura won event titles on vault and uneven bars while Kennedy's 9.875 led an Aggie sweep of the top three places on balance beam. Seattle Pacific's Sherah Veron nabbed the fourth event title, scoring a 9.875 on floor exercise.
Additionally, UC Davis swept the three major conference awards. Yamamura was voted as MPSF Gymnast of the Year, John Lavallee nabbed Coach of the Year and Tamara Ross claimed Assistant Coach of the Year honors. The All-MPSF winner, which will be announced officially later on Saturday, were recognized during post-meet ceremonies.
Montell opened with a 9.700 on floor exercise, scored a 9.625 on vault, went 9.550 on bars then shattered her previous PR with a 9.850 on beam in compiling her first-place all-around score. Her previous best on beam was a 9.725 at San Jose State on March 16.
Montell and Kennedy are relatively unlikely champions in their respective events. Montell did not compete as an all-arounder until the fourth meet of the season, and generally finished behind the veteran Yamamura in any given meet. However, she had set new career highs in each of the last two meets heading into Saturday's championships. Though one of her team's steadiest performers throughout the season, Kennedy entered the conference championships with the MSPF's No. 9 regional-qualifying score. Her previous best had been a 9.675 on March 2 -- two full tenths behind Saturday's effort.
Yamamura hit a 9.800 on vault and 9.725 on bars to add two more MPSF titles to her mantle. She finished with an all-around total of 38.675, good for second in the meet. She now has three MPSF crowns to her name, having won last year's vault championship with a school-record 9.900.
Sophomore Anna Shumaker enjoyed another outstanding two-event performance for UC Davis. She placed second behind Yamamura with a 9.750 on vault, then matched her career high of 9.850 on beam to finish in a tie with Montell for second place.
Senior Kaelei Spoor enjoyed Alaska's strongest individual finishes, tying Yamamura for third on floor at 9.825 and matching teammate Kathleen Mantell for fourth place on beam at 9.800.
Veron's 9.875 on floor led a 1-2 finish for Seattle Pacific on floor. The Falcons scored a season-high 48.925 in the event to pull within three-tenths of UC Davis at the meet's midway point. The Aggies held a 96.950-96.650 edge through two rotations but scored a 48.050 on bars and a 48.675 on beam, while the Falcons suffered two falls late in their lineup to slip behind in the team race.
This is UC Davis' third consecutive conference title and its fourth in five years. The Aggies won their first-ever MPSF championship in 2008, scoring a school-record 194.700 at home.
TEAM SCORES - 1. UC Davis, 193.675; 2. Seattle Pacific,191.150; 3. Air Force, 189.125; 4. Alaska Anchorage, 188.300.
FLOOR EXERCISE - 1. Sherah Veron, SPU, 9.875; 2. Stephanie Wagner, SPU, 9.850; 3 (tie). Katie Yamamura, UC Davis; Kaelei Spoor, UAA, 9.825.