DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis women's gymnastics earned National Letter of Intent commitments from prospective student-athletes Kara Jones and Yasmine Yektaparast, head coach John Lavallee announced during the fall signing period. Each is a high school senior who is expected to enroll at the university in the fall of 2015.
Both Jones and Yektaparast hail from Petaluma, California and compete for Edge Gymnastics although they attend different high schools: Jones from Petaluma High School, Yektaparast from St. Vincent de Paul.
"We are very excited to have Kara and Yasmine join Aggie gymnastics," said Lavallee. "They are both very strong academically. Kara has been a very strong performer both regionally and nationally, finishing in the top on on floor twice in her career at the Junior Olympic nationals. Yasmine has made great improvement in the past couple years and has a high level of difficulty on both beam and floor. We are looking forward to seeing how much they can contribute to Aggie gymnastics."
Jones, a two-time Junior Olympics national qualifier for Edge, began competing at Level 10 in 2011 while still a member of Rohnert Park Gymnastics. She moved to nearby Redwood Empire Gymnastics, for which she placed seventh on vault at that year's Region 1 championships. Jones joined Edge in January of 2012, finishing third in the all-around at the regional that April, and 24th at the J.O. meet a month later. In 2013, she snared the state vault title and finished second in the all-around, went on to repeat her third-place finish at regionals, then made her second national meet. Jones placed fourth on floor in the J.O. meet in Minnesota.
Most recently, Jones was the state runner-up on both vault and floor, went on to add another second-place showing on vault at the region championship, then captured the individual beam at the 2014 J.O. National Invitational Tournament.
Like Jones, Yektaparast's club career has sent her from Rohnert Park to Redwood Empire before joining Edge Gymnastics to start the 2012 season. A Level 9 national qualifier in 2011, Yektaparast made the jump to Level 10 in 2013, culminating with a second-place performance on floor at the Region 1 meet in Arizona. One year later, she placed eighth in the all-around at the region championships, then went on to capture the beam title at the 2014 NIT.
The Aggies, who ranked 34th nationally in 2014 to earn a berth in the NCAA postseason, launches their upcoming season at home in the NorCal Classic on January 4.