Feb. 1, 2014
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Backed by an event title on the balance beam and season-best team scores on the vault and floor exercise, the Air Force women's gymnastics team collected a season-high total of 192.875 during a runner-up finish at the Air Force Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Academy's Cadet West Gym.
Air Force's score is the eighth-highest total of Doug Day's tenure at the Academy, which began in 2007.
Backed by career-best scores, senior Linnaea Hance and sophomore Sarah Neumann paced the Falcons to a one-two finish on the balance beam. Hance won the event with a career-best score of 9.850, while Neumann finished second with a personal-best tally of 9.775. Sophomore Shannen Kelly and freshman Kara Witgen also finished within the top half of the field on that event, as they tied for eighth with matching marks of 9.650 (debut for Witgen).
Backed by all six scores of 9.700 or higher, the Falcons combined for a team score of 48.650 on the floor exercise. Senior Katie Hawthorne finished second with a season-high score of 9.775, while classmate Jen Larsen and Neumann tied for third behind matching marks of 9.725 (season-high for Larsen, career-high for Neumann). Hance and junior Alexandra Stych rounded out the Falcons' finishers with matching marks of 9.700 (season-highs for both).
Junior Jessica Wallander paced the Falcons to a season-best combined total of 48.275 on the vault, as she matched her season-high of 9.750 to tie for eighth. Larsen improved her 2014 score to 9.700 on that event, while Hance and freshman Cara Curran posted matching scores of 9.675 (season-high for Hance, career-best for Curran).
In addition to her team-leading score on the floor exercise, Hawthorne also paced the Falcons on the uneven bars, as she tallied a career-high 9.825 to tie for second. Larsen added a finish within the top half of the field on the floor, as she placed seventh with a season-high 9.675.
Hance picked up a second-place finish in the all-around with a season-best tally of 38.550, while Larsen added a third-place (season-best) tally of 38.200.
Utah State won the Falcons' home-opening triangular meet with a 195.225, while Air Force (192.875) bettered its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe Seattle Pacific (190.250).
The Falcons remain at home next weekend, when they host 12th-ranked Auburn on Saturday, Feb. 8. The meet, which will run in conjunction with the men's dual meet with Minnesota, will be held in Cadet Center Gym and is slated to start at 5:00 p.m.