2011 Women's Gymnastics Season Preview
Jan. 3, 2011
While the first glance of the 2011 Air Force women's gymnastics roster may look somewhat inexperienced, with just five upperclassmen and nine newcomers, head coach Doug Day has created a deep lineup of talented veterans and impressive freshmen that is posed to make an impact this season. Under Day's guidance, the Falcons have continued to improve ... and 2011 promises to be no exception.
Despite its remarkable youth, Air Force has a strong backbone with its three-member senior class.
Brittany Dutton, a 2008 USAG All-American on the floor exercise and all-around, will serve as the captain for the 2011 season. Dutton brings a wealth of experience to the 2011 roster, as she has competed in every single meet of her career, including 36 as an all-around competitor.
Classmate Lisa Wong is another experienced veteran, having competed in all but one competition throughout her first three seasons. A two-time academic all-conference selection and 2010 USAG Scholar-Athlete selection, Wong earned an invitation to the NCAA Regional Championship last season.
Fellow senior Holland Davis came on strong during her junior campaign, earning a permanent spot in the uneven bars rotation and serving as a consistent performer on the vault. Voted as the Most Improved Gymnast of 2010, Davis will continue to add depth and leadership for the Falcons.
The Falcons' junior and sophomore classes are comprised of just two members, but the experience gained by both gymnasts during their respective freshman years will provide an invaluable benefit to the Air Force program.
Air Force will welcome Sammi Jones back to the lineup, after she missed all of last season with an injury. Despite not competing last year, the squad's lone junior competed in every meet as a freshman. Jones was a vital member of the 2009 squad, competing in every competition on the vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, posting scores of at least 9.600 on all three events.
Also returning to the gym after a strong freshman campaign is Tara Harris, who represents the Falcons' sophomore class. Harris was an important part of the Falcons lineup last season, competing on the balance beam in every meet, and serving as a consistent performer on the vault.
The nine-member freshmen class, one of the largest in program history, adds a talented crop of newcomers to the Falcons' lineup.
Maddie Bannon was the regional champion on the balance beam, as well as a three-time state champion. Emily Bucher brings three trips to the national championships to the Falcons' roster, while Laura Fauss was the Level 9 Region 1 all-around champion in 2010. Fauss was also a two-time Western qualifier, four-time regional competitor and a member of the Region 1 team that won the 2010 Western National Championships.
Linnaea Hance is a four-time Level 10 state and regional qualifier, while twice serving as an alternate for the Junior Olympic National Championships. Jessica Hanner was a five-time all-around champion at the state level, a two-time Level 9 regional all-around champion and the 2009 Level 10 regional champion on the balance beam. Hanner is also a three-time Western national qualifier. Katie Hawthorne adds another Junior Olympic National qualifier to the Falcons' roster.
The final three freshmen include Janie Kovacs, a four-time Level 10 regional qualifier and Level 8 Region 5 all-around champion. Jen Larsen was a member of the team that won the 2010 Level 10 national title, while earning three top-10 finishes at the 2008 Level 9 Western nationals. Melanie Ortiz was a member of the fourth-place team at the high school national championships, while also advancing to the Level 10 regional championships.
Day returns to the gym for his fifth season as the Falcons' head coach. The 2010 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation coach of the year, Day led last season's squad to some of its highest totals in over six years and hopes to build on that success with his latest recruiting class.
Day will be joined on the sidelines with first-year assistant coach Lumi Garcy. A former member of the Romanian National Team who trained under Bela Karolyi, Garcy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Falcons' program.
Over the four-month gymnastics season, the Falcons host seven meets at the Academy's West Gym, including the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships and the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships.
The Falcons will open the season on Saturday, Jan. 8, in Denver, Colo., when they face Denver, Georgia and BYU at Hamilton Gymnasium. Air Force remains on the road the following weekend (Jan. 15), when it travels to College Park, Md., for a meet with Maryland and New Hampshire. The Falcons open the home season on Jan. 22, when they face conference opponent Seattle-Pacific in a double-dual with the men's squad, and close out the month in Minneapolis, Minn., for a dual meet with the Golden Gophers on Saturday, Jan. 29.
Air Force begins the second month of the season in Davis, Calif., facing MPSF foe UC-Davis on Friday, Feb. 4, before returning to the Academy to host Bridgeport on Feb. 12. The Falcons head back out on the road for the remainder of the month, competing in matches at Eastern Michigan (Feb. 19) and Seattle-Pacific (Feb. 25).
The Falcons will host Eastern Michigan in a pair of meets to return the home-and-home series with the Eagles in early March. The two programs will face off on Wednesday, March 2, and Saturday, March 5, at the Cadet West Gym. Air Force concludes the regular season at Washington (March 11) and at home against Denver (March 14).
The postseason begins for the Falcons at home on Saturday, March 19, when they host the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at the Academy. Select Falcons will head to Denver, Colo., for the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday, April 1, before the whole team returns to the Cadet West Gym for the 2010 USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships on April 8-10.