DENTON, Texas -- Highlighted by the second-highest uneven bars score in Academy history, the Air Force women's gymnastics team advanced into the finals of the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals this afternoon (April 13), as it tied for first during the Team Qualifier at Kitty Magee Arena in Denton, Texas.
Air Force surpassed the 49-point mark on the uneven bars for just the second time in program history, as it accounted for a 49.050 during its final rotation to secure a spot in the team finals. Sophomore Anna Salamone matched her career-high of 9.900 -- the second-highest score in program history -- to win the 32-gymnast event and lead the Falcons to three of the top-five scores. Junior Mariana Murphy and freshman Jessica Kirkpatrick posted matching scores of 9.850 to finish as part of a four-way tie for second on that event, as Murphy matched her personal high and Kirkpatrick improved her career score by 0.025.
Tyler Davis, who finished third in the all-around with a career-best tally of 39.000, paced the Falcons on two events. The freshman scored a 9.875 to tie for fourth on the floor exercise and earned a share of that same placement on the vault, as she and senior Jamie Lewis posted matching scores of 9.750 to lead the team (a season-high score of Lewis). Juniors Analise Howard and Emily Luers rounded out the Falcons' list of event leaders, as the pair finished in a four-way tie for second on the balance beam behind matching marks of 9.850 -- a career-high for Luers.
Air Force earned two additional top-10 finishes on the day, as freshman Cam Barber tied for eighth on the balance beam (9.800) and Salamone scored a 9.700 to tie for ninth on the vault. The Falcons also accounted for three other placements within the top-half of the 32-gymnast fields, as freshman Brooke Bruder tied for 14th on the vault (9.675), Lewis tied for 15th on the floor exercise (season-high 9.800) and Davis tied for 16th on the uneven bars (career-best 9.750).
Backed by matching scores of 194.950, Air Force and top-seeded Lindenwood tied for first in the afternoon qualifier -- a finish that advanced both programs into tomorrow's team finals. Bridgeport finished just 0.100 back, as it placed third with a 194.850, and Pennsylvania rounded out the field with a fourth-place score of 193.925.
The Falcons return to Kitty Magee Arena tomorrow (April 14) for the team finals of the USAG Collegiate Nationals -- the program's first appearance in the team finals since 2014. In addition to advancing to the team finals, Air Force also qualified several individuals into the event finals on Sunday, April 15.