April 11, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Backed by a team score of 193.800, the Air Force women's gymnastics team finished first in its qualifying session of the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships, which began today (April 11) in Providence, R.I.
Air Force claimed the day's highest individual scores on the vault and balance beam. Junior Jessica Wallander tied for first on the vault with a9.850, while senior Linnaea Hance scored a 9.725 to tie for the top spot on the beam.
Hance, who posted a competition-best 38.825 in the all-around, paced five Falcons to a share of the top four scores on the beam. Sophomore Ali Ables tied for third with a 9.700, while junior Lindsay Ebel and senior Jessica Hanner tied for fifth with matching scores of 9.675. Sophomore Shannen Kelly rounded out the quartet, as she tied for eighth with a score of 9.650.
Hance also paced the Falcons on the uneven bars, tying for fifth with a score of 9.825. She was one of three Falcons to finish among the top half of the field on that apparatus, as junior Alexandra Stych scored a career-best matching 9.800 to tie for 10th and Ebel scored a 9.750 to tie for 15th.
In addition to her first-place tie on the vault, Wallander also paced the Falcons on the floor exercise, tying for eighth with a score of 9.650. Stych tied for 15th on that event with a 9.650, while senior Jen Larsen joined Wallander on the top half of the field on the vault with a seventh-place (tie) score of 9.775.
Air Force edged five-time defending champion Bridgeport (193.625) for first during the afternoon qualifying session, with both teams advancing to tomorrow's national finals. Lindenwood (192.900) and Cornell (191.950) rounded out the four-team field.
The Falcons return to Brown University's Pizzitola Sports Center tomorrow (April 11) for the USAG team finals at 2:00 p.m. In addition to earning an advancing as to the team finals, Air Force also recorded several advancing scores into Sunday's individual event finals.