Aggie fans were treated to an incredible level of performance Friday night when UC Davis returned to the Pavilion against visiting teams Sacramento State and Oregon State.
Oregon State and UC Davis both set season highs in a meet that saw impressive performances from each squad.
Oregon set a Pavilion facility record with a score of 197.400 on its way to capturing first, followed by Sacramento’s 194.175. UC Davis finished third with a season-high 193.875.
After a disappointing meet against California the week before, the Aggies’ score was a more than two-point increase from their previous season-high of 191.600 set two weeks ago.
“It was such positive energy in the gym,” senior Erika Van Dyke said. “It was such an honor to compete with these amazing teams. And to come together and really improve as a team in this kind of atmosphere was so exciting for us.”
UC Davis started the meet on the vault, an event that has consistently been one of the Aggies’ strongest this season.
Junior Katie Yamamura led the team with a 9.825 which was good for a tie for third. It was the highest individual event finish for UC Davis. Yamamura would later go on to take third in the all-around, tying her career-high score of 39.125.
After struggling on the uneven parallel bars this season, the Aggies saw some improvement on last week’s score, finishing with a 47.925. Notable performances by freshmen Lisa Wiktorski (9.725) and Tiana Montell (9.700) were both collegiate career-highs.
But the most dramatic improvement of the night occurred when UC Davis performed on beam in the third rotation. After a disappointing performance last week in which the team counted four falls on their way to a season-low 46.700, the Aggies increased their score by two whole points to a 48.875, the second highest score in school history.
“Second best beam score in school history for the team … I’m kind of speechless,” Head Coach John Lavallee admitted. “I’m really impressed with the performance they put up there, the mental toughness … they did an amazing job to stay on and fight through.”
The score brought the Aggies within 0.475 points of Causeway-rival Sac State as they headed to the floor for the fourth rotation. But despite earning their highest event score of the night on floor (48.875), another season-best, UC Davis was unable to close the gap and was forced to settle for third.
For several of the Aggies, the night was about more than the eleven career records that were set or tied, or the multiple season-high scores. Makayla Stambugh of Oregon State and Katie Osaki and Claire Torgerson of Sac State are all from the same home gymnastics club as several of the Aggies, including Van Dyke.
“It was so special to be able to compete with them tonight,” Van Dyke commented. “They did such an awesome job and it was wonderful to have those girls come together again.”
UC Davis returns to action on Saturday at Air Force.
KAITLYN ZUFALL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.