UC Davis hosts home gymnastics opener Friday

Jan. 11, 2017

DAVIS, Calif. - A 193.875 team score in Monday’s NorCal Classic – third in school history for a season-opening meet – sets the stage for Friday’s UC Davis women’s gymnastics home opener with Stanford, Boise State and Yale. The meet begins at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion.

“We were really solid,” said 11th-year head coach John Lavallee. “To come out and do that, in this environment, was really good. The five teams on the floor are very competitive, and we were certainly right in the mix.”

The five-way NorCal meet at Cal’s Haas Pavilion featured highlights abound, including several debuts. Freshman Sarah Liddle hit 9.650 scores on each of vault and bars in her first collegiate meet. Senior Emma Hicks (9.625 on vault), sophomore Aya Suzuki (9.700 on beam) and junior Amanda Presswood (9.625 on beam) also made their first appearances in those respective lineups.

Overall, UC Davis counted no falls on vault, bars or beam. Junior Alexis Brown led the team in each of those events, scoring 9.825, 9.800 and 9.775 respectively. Senior Yonni Michovska posted a 9.750 on vault and a 9.725 on bars to kickstart her final season.

Having Aggies step into new roles has been and will be a key in the early 2017 meets as several top performers continue their patient returns from offseason injuries. Senior Katy Nogaki (beam), Miranda Holder (floor) and Kara Jones (vault) each competed on just one event as they work they way back toward full strength. Additionally, senior Rachel Kreager, who was sidelined during December’s Blue-Gold intrasquad showcase, posted a 9.725 in the anchor position on bars.

“About halfway through the fall quarter, I told this group that I believe this is one of the more talented groups we’ve had here at UC Davis,” said Lavallee. “That really showed today in the way people stepped up, filled in some spots and performed above expectations. You can’t have a better feeling from a first meet than that.”

NOTES: Live results are available for Friday’s meet via StatBroadcast... Junior Alexis Brown made her first all-around appearance since the 2015 MPSF Championships... She hit totals of 39.125 and 39.250 in consecutive home meets that year, but did not compete on floor in 2016... Freshman Sarah Liddle became the first Aggie to compete in all four events in her collegiate debut since Kala DeFrancesco did the same in 2012... Liddle hit solid scores on vault and bars but suffered falls on beam and floor to finish with a 37.875... Nonetheless, the 9.375 on floor – the fall cost her .50 – reveals the explosiveness of her routine.

MEET OUR GUESTS: No. 11 STANFORD (1-3) finished fourth in Monday’s NorCal meet at 193.250, although strong scores on vault (49.175) and bars (49.150) in the meet’s second half helped offset a tough floor rotation... Six-time All-American Elizabeth Price and the 2015 national vault champion posted scores of 9.950 on each of vault and bars to earn Pac-12 Specialist of the Week accolades... YALE (0-1) went 191.425 in the Little Boston Invitational on Saturday... Freshman Jade Buford scored 9.700 on each of beam and floor to lead the Bulldogs... Head coach Barbara Tonry had coached every Yale season since the program’s inception in 1973, including three years (2004-06) with an assistant named John Lavallee... BOISE STATE (0-0) was chosen first in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference and 15th in the NACGC/W preseason polls... Junior Sandra Collantes, one of seven returning All-MRGC honorees, earned second-team All-America accolades on floor last year.