UC Davis trio qualifies for NCAA regional

March 21, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS - UC Davis senior co-captain Stephanie Stamates, junior Katy Nogaki and sophomore Alexis Brown have earned at-large berths to the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional, the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Committee announced Monday afternoon during its official selection show. The University of Utah will host the meet on Saturday, April 2 at the legendary Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Stamates qualified for the regional on both balance beam and floor exercise, Brown earned spots on uneven bars and beam, while Nogaki earned a berth in the vault.

The top 36 teams, according to their regional-qualifying scores, advanced to one of the six regionals. From each region, the top four all-arounders not on a qualifying team earn individual at-large berths. After that, the top two individual event specialists in each region, not on a top-36 team nor among the all-around qualifiers, advance to the region championship. This is the first year the regionals will feature two event specialists. Prior to 2016, each meet allowed five individual all-arounders but only one at-large event specialist.

The RQS score is calculated by a team's or competitor's top six regular-season scores, of which at least three must be from road meets. The high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged.

This is Nogaki's third consecutive appearance in the NCAA postseason. She competed at the 2014 Fayetteville Regional as part of the Aggies' team berth, then made the 2015 Berkeley Regional as a vault qualifier. Stamates makes her second NCAA appearance, along with the 2014 team showing. This will be the first NCAA postseason berth for Brown.

Stamates, formerly of California Gymnastics Academy and San Ramon Valley High School, led the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on both balance beam (9.865) and floor exercise (9.885). She ended the regular season as part of a four-way tie for sixth on beam among the West gymnasts, while the 9.925 that won the conference floor title on Saturday moved her into sole possession of eighth in the region.

Brown, originally of Huntington Beach High and Team OC Gymnastics, captured last weekend's MPSF championship on uneven bars with a 9.825. That moved her into a tie for 26th (9.805) in the West Region. Brown also tied for 17th in the region on balance beam with a 9.845 RQS to take the second slot behind teammate Stamates.

Nogaki, an alumna of Villa Park High and Wildfire Gymnastics, tied for third in the conference and 23rd in the West with a 9.815 RQS on vault. She also tied for 17th regionally on beam with Brown, but lost the tiebreaker to her Aggie teammate.

UC Davis and Sacramento State claimed all eight of the event at-large slots while all four all-arounders also hail from the MPSF. Among the Hornets, Julia Konner will join Nogaki on vault while Cassie Benning earned berths on bars and floor. The four all-around qualifiers are Kalliah McCartney of Sacramento State, Lauren Rice of Sacramento State, Maria Hundley of Seattle Pacific and M'rcy Matsunami of Alaska Anchorage.

The individuals will join team qualifiers Utah, UCLA, Washington, Southern Utah, Illinois and Utah State.

This is the fifth straight year at least two Aggies have advanced to the NCAA regionals. In John Lavallee's 10 seasons at the UC Davis helm, five all-arounders earned postseason appearances: Tanya Ho (2008, 2010), Marcy Miller (2011), Katie Yamamura (2010, 2012, 2013), Anna Shumaker (2013) and Tiana Montell (2012, 2015). Nine have earned at-large specialist berths: Andi Dolinsky (2007), Michelle Kulovitz (2008), Tanya Ho (2007), Lida Gehlen (2008, 2010), Michelle Ho (2013), Shumaker (2011), Kala DeFrancesco (2015), Dani Judal (2015) and Nogaki (2014). The Aggies have advanced as a team twice: in 1998 under Ray Goldbar, and in 2014, under Lavallee.

Coincidentally, Tanya Ho and Dolinsky will both be at the 2016 Salt Lake regional as assistant coaches for Sacramento State and Utah State, respectively. Furthermore, Nogaki and Stamates will rotate throughout the meet with the USU Aggies, marking a reunion of Dolinsky and current UC Davis assistant Carolyn Kampf. The meet will also mark a homecoming for Aggie assistant Annie DiLuzio, a two-time All-American at Utah in 2007 and 2010.

Other regional hosts include Alabama (Tuscaloosa Regional), Georgia (Athens), Iowa (Iowa City), Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Minnesota (Minneapolis). The Salt Lake Regional will start at 6 p.m. local, 5 p.m. Pacific.

University of Utah • Huntsman Center • April 2

TEAMS - No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, No. 17 Washington, Southern Utah, Illinois, Utah State

VAULT - Julia Konner, Sacramento State; Katy Nogaki, UC Davis. Alternate: Erica Matos, San Jose State.

UNEVEN BARS - Alexis Brown, UC Davis; Cassie Benning, Sacramento State. Alternate: Dani Judal, UC Davis.

BALANCE BEAM - Stephanie Stamates, UC Davis; Alexis Brown, UC Davis. Alternate: Katy Nogaki, UC Davis.

FLOOR EXERCISE - Stephanie Stamates, UC Davis; Cassie Benning, Sacramento State. Alternate: Yasmine Yektaparast, UC Davis.

ALL-AROUND - Kalliah McCartney, Sacramento State; Lauren Rice, Sacramento State; Maria Hundley, Seattle Pacific; M'rcy Matsunami, Alaska Anchorage. Alternate: Maddie Herr, San Jose State.