April 5, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Sophomore Stephanie Stamates posted team highs of 9.725 on balance beam and 9.850 on floor exercise, senior Anna Shumaker wrapped up her collegiate career with a 9.825 on vault, and junior Lisa Wiktorskinotched a 9.825 on uneven bars, highlighting UC Davis to a 193.900 at the NCAA Fayetteville Region Championship at Barnhill Arena Saturday afternoon.
Additionally, Tamara Ross was announced as the NACGC/W West Region Assistant Coach of the Year during the postmeet awards presentations. Ross, concluding her fifth season with the program, guided the balance beam squad to six of the seven best scores in school history, including a school-record 49.175 on Feb. 21.
The Aggies, competing in the NCAA postseason as a team for the first time since 1998, finished fifth in the meet. Utah and UCLA matched their seeds by claiming the top two places, scoring 197.300 and 196.600, respectively. Host Arkansas went 196.375 for third place, Arizona State compiled a 194.425 for fourth, and Utah State rounded out the team field with a 191.875 total.
"I can't describe the feeling of being able to walk into this meet and compete with some of the best teams in the country," said UC Davis head coach John Lavallee. "I'm going to savor this moment for a long time."
Shumaker and Stamates each finished in a tie for 12th with their vault and floor performances, respectively. Stamates also had a 9.725 on vault to wrap up her three-event evening. Junior Kala DeFrancescocontinued her strong home stretch to the 2014 season with a 9.800 on floor, a 9.750 on vault and a 9.700 on bars.
The Aggies opened to a relatively slow start on beam, scoring a 47.850 in the opening rotation. Sophomore Dani Judalfinished closely behind Stamates among the team leaders with a 9.700 in that event. However, UC Davis rallied in the third rotation on floor, as Stamates and DeFrancesco paced that squad to a 48.825.
The momentum continued on vault with a 48.600. Shumaker, who returned to the all-around after being limited to just one event at the conference championships two weeks prior, hit a 9.825 to lead UC Davis. The bars squad closed the meet with a 48.625 effort. Shumaker, DeFrancesco, sophomore Jamie Yamashita and freshman Yonni Michovskaeach posted 9.700 scores in the sixth and final rotation.
Arkansas' Katherine Grable won the individual vault with a 9.950 and took part in a three-way tie for the floor title with a similar score. UCLA's Samantha Peszek took down both bars and beam at 9.950 on each. UCLA's Olivia Courtney and Utah's Nansy Damianova shared the floor championship with Grable. Peszek edged Grable for the all-around win by a 39.700 to 39.675 margin. Courtney finished third with a 39.475 total.
Shumaker was the lone UC Davis all-arounder, posting an eighth-place total of 38.550.
The Aggies have qualified individual at-large competitors in each of the last four years and all but one of Coach Lavallee's tenure. However, this is the first time in program history they have ranked among the top 36 in the nation, thus earning the team ticket to the regional.