March 2, 2013
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Bolstered by the highest total of head coach Doug Day's tenure (193.825), the Air Force women's gymnastics team completed a season sweep of Seattle Pacific (192.975) on Saturday, March 2, at the Academy's Cadet West Gym.
The Falcons earned a share of three event titles, including four of the five scores that tied for first on the uneven bars and floor exercise.
Junior Linnaea Hance became the Falcons' first gymnast since Jessa Leigl in 2004 to break the 39-point mark in the all-around, as she scored a career-best 39.050.
Hance won the all-around title outright, while tying for first on the uneven bars with a 9.775. Joining Hance at the top of the awards podium with a 9.775 was classmate Jen Larsen (career-best), sophomore Alexandra Stych (career-best), sophomore Jessica Wallander (career-best) and Seattle Pacific's Stephanie Wagner.
Wallander also tied for first on the vault, with a season-best 9.800, while Larsen and Stych earned a share of the five-way tie for first on the floor exercise with matching career-best scores of 9.825. Junior Katie Hawthorne (career-best) and freshman Shannen Kelly (9.825) also tied for the top spot on the floor exercise, joining SPU's Kenley Memmel.
Junior Emily Bucher was the Falcons' top finisher on the balance beam, earning runner-up honors with a score of 9.750. Hance and Kelly tied for third on that event with marks of 9.725 (career-best mark for Kelly). Hance also picked up a third-place finish on the vault with a career-best 9.775, while Hawthorne and Larsen tied for fifth on that event with matching marks of 9.650.
The 193.825 is the best team score for Air Force since Doug Day became head coach in 2007. It easily betters the previous "Day-era Record" of 193.300, which had stood since the 2011 season. In fact, this season's Air Force squad, which hasn't scored lower than a 190 all year, has accounted for seven of the 20-top scores during the last seven-year span.
The Falcons return to action next Saturday, March 9, when they travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the annual Eagle Invitational. Air Force will then head back to the Academy for its home finale on Monday, March 11, when it hosts nationally ranked Denver at 6 p.m.