Jan. 11, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Air Force women's gymnastics team opened the season with a second-place score of 190.625 at a triangular meet held in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, Jan. 11. The Falcons were paced by senior Katie Hawthorne (uneven bars), sophomore Shannen Kelly (balance beam) and senior Linnaea Hance (all-around), who all finished fourth in their respective events.
Hance, who tallied a 37.550 to finish fourth in the four-event all-around, also paced the Falcons on the vault, finishing seventh with a score of 9.625. The senior team captain was one of two Air Force gymnasts to finish among the top-five of the all-around, as classmate Jen Larsen finished fifth with a tally of 37.100.
Hawthorne's fourth-place score of 9.775 on the uneven bars led the Falcons to five finishes within the top half of the 18-competitor field. Junior Alexandra Stych finished fifth with a 9.750, while classmate Lindsay Ebel and senior Jessica Hanner tied for sixth with matching marks of 9.625. Larsen rounded out the group, as she finished ninth with a tally of 9.425.
Kelly tallied a mark of 9.575 to finish fourth on the balance beam, leading a quartet of Air Force gymnasts to top-nine finishes. Ebel finished fifth with a score of 9.500, while senior Emily Bucher and Hanner finished seventh (9.475) and ninth (9.450), respectively.
Wallander, who also picked up an eighth-place finish on the vault (9.600), was the Falcons' top finisher on the floor exercise, placing eighth with a score of 9.675. Hawthorne joined Wallander within the top-half of the field, finishing ninth with a mark of 9.650.
Minnesota, ranked 14th in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll, swept the individual event titles and won the team title with a score of 194.425. Air Force finished second with a score of 190.625, while second-year program Lindenwood rounded out the field with a third-place score of 185.625.
The Falcons return to action next Saturday (Jan. 18), when they travel to Denton, Texas, for a dual meet with Texas Woman's University.