April 2, 2012
Saturday, Apr. 2 - at NCAA Seattle Regional, 4 p.m.
Idle. UC Davis last competed at the MPSF Championships on Mar. 24 (1st place, 193.675).
TO RECAP: UC Davis captured its third straight MPSF championship, scoring a winning 193.675 at the March 24 conference meet - more than two full points better than runner-up Seattle Pacific... Katie Yamamura (vault, bars), Madeline Kennedy (beam) and Tiana Montell (all-around) each claimed individual titles... The Aggies opened with a 48.650 on floor, added scores of 48.300 and 48.050 on vault and bars, then closed out the meet with a 48.675 on beam.
ALL-MPSF: UC Davis swept the conference's major awards, as announced immediately after the MPSF meet... Yamamura won Gymnast of the Year honors, John Lavallee nabbed his fourth Coach of the Year award (in six years) while Tamara Ross was selected as Asssitant Coach of the Year... Ross guided the balance beam squad to three of the four best scores in school history, including a season-high 48.775 on March 16... The Aggies even flirted with the school record of 48.900 during the conference meet: Kennedy scored 9.875 in the leadoff spot while Anna Shumaker and Montell hit back-to-back 9.850s in the next two routines.
Yamamura led seven total all-conference honorees, earning nods in all four events plus the all-around... Shumaker (vault, beam), Kennedy (vault, floor) and Michelle Ho (bars, floor) were also multiple winners... Montell (all-around), Leah Housman (beam) and Taryn West (floor) made one All-MPSF squad each.
UP NEXT: Yamamura and Montell will represent UC Davis at the NCAA Seattle Regional, hosted by the University of Washington on Saturday... Meet time is 4 p.m... The top two teams and the top two all-arounders not on an advancing team will receive automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, held on April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga... The event winner from each regional site also advances to the national meet if they are not already qualifying as part of a team or as an all-arounder.
Montell becomes the second Aggie freshman all-arounder to make a regional (after Yamamura)... She finished 15th in the West with a 38.210 RQS, helped greatly by a strong finish: a 38.450 at Sac State (3/11), a 38.625 at San Jose State (3/16) and a career-high 38.725 at the MPSF meet (3/24)... An odd piece of trivia: a native of Hilo, Hawaii, Montell is just the second out-of-state Aggie gymnast to reach the NCAA Div. I postseason... Former assistant coach Ashley Lindow (now Ashley Weinshilboum) was part of the first-ever UC Davis contingent at a Div. I regional... Lindow, a four-time USGF All-American, hails from Houston, Texas... Montell will rotate with host Washington, beginning the meet on vault.
SCOUTING THE ALL-AROUND FIELD: Based on seedings/rankings, No. 4 Alabama and No. 9 LSU are the most likely to advance as teams... Tide senior Geralen Stack-Eaton ranks 11th nationally with a 39.420 RQS, while LSU boast three al-arounders in the national top 25: Rheagan Courville (39.450), Lioimincia Hall (39.355) and Jessie Jordan (39.305)... No. 16 Arizona's top four-event performer is junior Aubree Cristello (39.375), who scored a 39.025 in the Aggies' quad meet on Mar. 2... From Washington, McKenzie Fechter enters with a 39.155 RQS while Ruby Engreitz has a 38.895... Iowa's top all-around is Jessa Hansen at 39.050... She scored a 39.425 against LSU on Mar. 9... CMU has two all-arounders with RQS of 39 or better: Kristen Tuebner (39.185) and Brittany Petzold (39.070).
Among the other at-large qualifiers, Sacramento State freshman Kalliah McCartney led the pack with a 39.160 RQS, scoring 39.375 in the Mar. 16 triangular with San Jose State and UC Davis plus a 38.350 at the WAC Championships eight days later... Cal's Mariesah Pierce and Madisyn O'Brien enter at 38.545 and 38.200, respectively... Pierce scored 39.150 at home on Jan. 15; however, she has been sidelined by injury since late February... O'Brien appeared in the first three and final three meets as a four-event competitor, scoring a 39.025 at the Pac-12 meet on Mar. 24.
HEAD COACH JOHN LAVALLEE:
On Katie Yamamura: "Yami needs to come in and be strong and mentally fresh so she can be on top of what she's doing and perform everything maxed-out. She'll go after that type of performance. She's good enough that if she hits a good score, she could potentially qualify to the nationals."
"I always tell my athletes, if you can get yourself to a big meet, anything can happen. She has done very well to position herself. There are a couple of other kids in this region who will be very good in the all-around, but Yami has certainly positioned herself to perform with them. So we'll see where the chips fall."
On Tiana Montell: "Tiana has been a tremendous surprise, I don't know how else to put it. She really has the ability to perform with a high level of consistency. She isn't always perfectly on but she is always able to just get through it, which helps you a lot in the long run. She has the ability to make adjustments and make changes to get through and stay on her feet. She is very heads-up, very smart and she uses her talents to the maximum."
On a freshman's regional experience: "The biggest thing is that they get to get on the floor with teams that are ranked very high in the country, and they realize that they can run with them. They feel they should be on the floor competing with them. That's really something they bring back to the gym and to their teammates. We have a very young group this year. Those thoughts and ideas will play into the program, and help raise the overall level and the individual goals of the program. It's what we need to do to take the next step forward."