Gymnasts gear up for NCAA regional

Senior Stephanie Stamates ranks t6th in the West on beam, 8th on floor.
(Wayne Tilcock,
March 28, 2016

Weekly Release (NCAA Edition) Get Acrobat Reader | Live Video | Live Results

Saturday, Apr. 2 - at NCAA Salt Lake City Regional, 5 p.m. PDT

Idle. Finished 2nd (195.300) at MPSF Championships on Mar. 19

UP NEXT: UC Davis has qualified multiple gymnasts to the NCAA regional for the seventh straight season, and ninth time in head coach John Lavallee’s 10-year career... Senior co-captain Stephanie Stamates earned at-large berths on balance beam and floor exercise, junior Katy Nogaki qualified as a vaulter, and sophomore Alexis Brown snared spots on bars and beam... This year’s region championship takes place at Utah’s famed Huntsman Center, which annually leads all NCAA women’s sports for average attendance.

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM: Nogaki’s regional qualification makes her the sixth Aggie to make three trips to the NCAA postseason, and the first to participate in three consecutive (see note below)... She competed as part of UC Davis’ team berth in 2014, then made the Berkeley Regional on vault last year... Previous three-time participants comprise Tiana Montell (2012, 2014, 2015), Anna Shumaker (2011, 2013, 2014), Katie Yamamura (2010, 2012, 2013), Tanya Ho (2007, 2008, 2010) and Cheryl Sidel (1992, 1993, 1994)... Note: Sidel qualified for the 1994 West Regional but did not attend the meet as UC Davis prepared for the USAG Championships.

BEST IN THE WEST: Stamates is tied for 6th in the West on beam (9.865), 8th on floor (9.885)... That makes the CGA alumna the first Aggie to rate among the region’s top 10 in two different events during one year... Stamates t6th also matches the highest event ranking by a UC Davis gymnast, matching her place on floor in 2014... Shumaker holds the highest region ranking when all-arounders are included... In all, Aggies have rated among the West’s top 10 nine times, with Stamates now holding three of those achievements:

2016 - Stephanie Stamates, t6th on BB (9.865)
2016 - Stephanie Stamates, 8th on FX (9.885)
2015 - Tiana Montell, t9th in AA (39.010)
2014 - Anna Shumaker, 6th in AA (39.175)
2014 - Stephanie Stamates, t6th on FX (9.870)
2013 - Katie Yamamura, 8th in AA (39.065)
2013 - Michelle Ho, 7th on FX (9.900)
2012 - Katie Yamamura, 10th in AA (38.940)
2002 - Ericka Ruelas, t9th on UB (9.870)

CHASING HISTORY: Two Aggies have finished among the top five at an NCAA regional... Dani Judal placed fifth at the 2015 Berkeley Regional on beam (9.850).. Lida Gehlen still has the highest-ever Aggie finish at a region meet: t3rd on bars (9.850) at Oregon State in 2008.

MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: UC Davis finished second at the conference championships with a 195.300, oddly matching exactly its winning score from 2015... Sacramento State reclaimed the team title with a meet-record 196.300... Brown captured the uneven bars title with her 9.825 in the team’s final routine, while Stamates set a season high of 9.925 to edge the Sacramento State tandem of Kalliah McCartney and Julia Konner... Judal finished t2nd on bars (9.800) in her final collegiate meet... Other Aggies to podium were Brown on vault (t3rd, 9.825) and beam (t6th, 9.800), Stamates on beam (t4th, 9.825), Kara Jones on floor (t5th, 9.850).

BEGINNER’S PLUCK: Freshman Yasmine Yektaparast scored MPSF Newcomer of the Year honors... The Petaluma native and Edge Gymnastics alumna earned first-team All-MPSF honors on floor with a 9.835 RQS... She also made nine appearances on vault and another seven on beam... Yektaparast’s 9.900 in the Feb. 28 home meet with Alaska Anchorage made her just the second freshman in school history to hit that threshold.

ONE WEEK AT A TIME: UC Davis won exactly half of the 30 possible MPSF weekly awards... Stamates won Specialist of the Week five times, while Nogaki claimed two others... Yektaparast (four) and Jones (two) had six of the 10 Newcomer of the Week nods... Both hail from Petaluma and competed for Edge Gymnastics before arriving at UC Davis, although they attended different high schools... Judal (Jan. 26) and Brown (Feb. 9) were the lone Aggies to win the overall Gymnast of the Week award... All six members boasted one GOW winner at some point during the 2016 season, with Sacramento State claiming four.

FAMILIAR FACES: Oddly, two of UC Davis’ past NCAA regional qualifiers will be in attendance as coaches... Andi Dolinsky, who made the 2007 meet on floor, now serves on the Utah State staff... Tanya Ho, who competed at regionals in 2007, 2008 and 2010, coaches for Sacramento State... Both alumnae also reunited with Lavallee and assistant Carolyn Kampf at the 2015 regional in Berkeley... This is Dolinsky’s third time seeing her former team in the postseason, as both Utah State and UC Davis made the 2014 Fayetteville Regional... Finally, speaking of familiar faces, first-year Aggie assistant Annie DiLuzio will be the most recognizable to the Huntsman Center crowd among any of the Aggie contingent: she earned All-America honors for Utah in 2007 (2nd, vault) and 2010 (7th, floor).

“I’m very impressed by the way we finished. It’s up on the wall in our team room, and it’s really what took place. We ended up with a lot of underclassmen in the lineup this year. Fourteen of the 24 spots at the conference championships were freshmen and sophomores. When we go back to the beginning of the season, we knew it would take some time to get some experience. It really showed that once we did, our level of performance took off. We got beat by a team that had a record-setting meet, so it’s hard to argue with that.”

“To have three qualifiers to the regional is really a great accomplishment. When you look at the level of competition and the level of performance they’ve head, it’s very impressive. Stephanie finished the season ranked sixth on beam and eighth on floor. That is new territory for this program.”

“Thankfully, we had the opportunity to go to Utah last year, so it won’t be our first time in this environment and in front of this many people. We get a thousand people at our home meets. This will be 15 times that. It’s an unbelievable experience but we hope to go in and compete the same way we have all year. Let’s do our normal Aggie gymnastics and we’ll be fine. Whatever gets you to the goal line is what will get you in – there’s no reason to change it now.”