UC Davis women’s gymnastics on a roll

UC Davis women’s gymnastics has this winning thing down. They earned their fourth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation overall team title, sweeping the top two all-around spots and three of the four individual championships.

Head coach John Lavallee has produced impressive results in years past, but this season was unparalleled in success. The Aggies broke countless records throughout the course of the year, but they produced the big scores when they needed them most. UC Davis blitzed past the competition and finished the MPSF Championship with an overall team score of 194.950.

Katie Yamamura continued to build upon her legacy of greatness as she swept the competition with an overall score of 39.050. Breaking the “39” barrier is incredibly difficult in collegiate gymnastics, but this was Yamamura’s fourth time this season. Yamamura earned a 9.800 on vault, a 9.725 on bars, a 9.700 on beam and a 9.825 on floor.

Fellow Aggie Anna Schumaker placed second overall with a score of 39.025, making it the third consecutive week she was able to break the “39” barrier. Schumaker earned a 9.850 on vault, a 9.675 on bars, a 9.750 on beam and 9.800 on floor.

“Anna and Yami were so close throughout the meet, it was amazing. They are the only Aggies to score multiple 39s in the all-around. Not only that, they are the only Aggies to go 39 in the all-around in the same meet, which they did last week and this week,” Lavallee said.

While Schumaker and Yamamura were busy collecting their overall championships, senior Michelle Ho was working towards earning three individual championship titles of her own.

Ho scored a 9.775 on bars, earning her the gold medal. She pulled another 9.775 on balance beam and tied with another gymnast for the overall gold. She finished her meet with a stunning 9.875 on floor which was her third individual gold of the night.

UC Davis won its MPSF title in 2008. They faltered in 2009 but they have won every title since. Head coach John Lavallee earned his fifth MPSF Coach of the Year Award while Yamamura repeated as MPSF Gymnast of the Year. Assistant coach Carolyn Kampf was also selected as MPSF Assistant Coach of the Year for her work with the UC Davis floor exercises. Additionally, Yamamura, Schumaker, Ho and sophomore Tiana Montell also earned various MPSF individual accolades.

Ultimately, the season is not over for three of Davis’ finest gymnasts. Yamamura, Ho and Schumaker all qualified for the NCAA Regional Meet where they will participate as at-large gymnasts.

Yamamura will compete alongside the Oregon State Beavers while Schumaker will join the Arizona State Sun Devils. In order to advance to the next round, Yamamura and Schumaker will need to be the top two unrostered overalls with either of the top two all-around teams.

Ho will compete alongside Cal. In order to advance, she must win or share the regional floor title. Ho is ranked 29th nationally, and fourth amongst competitors who will be competing at the NCAA Regional Meet.

Aggie gymnastics will be hard pressed to repeat this season’s performance. Both Yamamura and Ho will be graduating, alongside Taryn West and Leah Housman.

Lavallee will be challenged to find and groom equivalent talent to fill his roster next year. Luckily, the Aggies will be returning Schumaker and sophomore Tiana Montell, who qualified for the NCAA Regional Meet as a freshman last year.

UC Davis also has several other prospects that fans can be excited for. Freshman Stephanie Stamates has been right behind Ho on floor all season and she finished just .025 behind her at the MPSF Championship, earning the silver as a floor individual.

Sophomore Kala DeFrancesco and junior Madeline Kennedy have earned solid vault scores all season. Sophomore Lise Wiktorski has been a workhorse on bars this season, earning a high score of 9.850 against San Jose State.

While most of the roster is gearing up for next season, Yamamura, Ho and Schumaker will be competing this Saturday and hoping to make their way to the NCAA tournament.

KIM CARR can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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