SAN JOSE, Calif. – Backed by top-five event finishes from senior Kara Witgen and sophomore Mariana Murphy, the Air Force women’s gymnastics team registered its second-highest score of the season (194.075) to finish fourth at the 2017 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, which were held this evening (March 18) in San Jose.
Air Force’s fourth-place finish was its highest placement since the league expanded to six teams in 2014.
Witgen matched her career-high of 9.875 – the second-highest tally in program history – to tie for fifth on the balance beam, while Murphy equaled her personal-best score of 9.750 to tie for the same placement on the vault. The pair, who finished fourth (39.050) and sixth (38.275), respectively, in the all-around, paced the Falcons to 12 finishes within the top half of the 36-gymnast event fields.
Junior Jamie Lewis and freshman Anna Salamone added top-10 finishes to the Falcons’ lineup, as they tied for eighth on the uneven bars with matching scores of 9.800 (career-best marks for both. In addition, Lewis was the Falcons’ top performer on the floor exercise, as she tied for 13th with a 9.750.
Witgen also ranked among the top half of the field on the vault (12th tie, 9.725) and floor exercise, where she tied for 16th with junior Casey Bell (9.725). Salamone added a top-18 finish on the vault, as she and sophomore Riley Hill were part of a five-way tie for 15th (9.700). Hill also tied for 17th on the balance beam (9.750), while sophomore Brittney Reed matched her career-high of 9.750 to tie for the same spot on the uneven bars.
San Jose State scored a 195.925 to win its first conference title since 2004, while UC Davis and Sacramento State finished second (195.725) and third (195.175), respectively. Air Force finished fourth with a team score of 194.075, Seattle Pacific took fifth at 192.775 and Alaska-Anchorage rounded out the conference standings with a sixth-place score of 191.750.
Air Force returns to action on Saturday, April 1, when select gymnasts travel to the NCAA Regional Championships. A complete list of competitors will be announced within the next week.