2008 Women's Gymnastics Season Preview

    Abbey Rogers
    Abbey Rogers

    Jan. 11, 2008

    During its first year under head coach Doug Day, the Air Force women's gymnastics team made tremendous strides. Now, as the program moves into its second season with Day at the helm, the Falcons plan to continue that tradition and continue to progress even more - ultimately making their own stamp on the Academy record book.

    The Falcons return seven gymnasts with some collegiate experience, while brining in five talented newcomers. The experience brought by the returning gymnasts and the excitement surrounding the newcomers looks to be a winning combination for success.

    THE SENIORS
    A pair of talented athletes comprises the Falcons' eldest class. The veteran duo will provide solid leadership for the young Air Force squad which features just four juniors and seniors, compared to nine sophomores and freshmen.

    Air Force will be led both on and off the court by Kelly Lewis (Plano, Texas), who was selected as the team captain prior to the start of fall conditioning. Although she missed her sophomore season with injury, Lewis is no stranger to the gymnastics' post-season. A vault participant of the NCAA Regional Championships as a freshman, she also competed on the event at the USA Gymnastics Championships last year.

    Classmate Katie Donnell (Santa Fe, N.M.) is the most experienced of the 13-member Air Force squad, having competed in every meet during each of her first three seasons, including every all-around competition of her sophomore meet. Donnell continues to improve throughout the season, posting many of her season-high marks near the end of the year.

    As seniors, Donnell and Lewis received the added benefit of having the same head coach in back-to-back seasons for the first time in their four-year career.

    THE JUNIORS
    Although there are only two in number, the junior class has become a vital part of the Falcons' scoring strengths. As their careers extend, the duo will continue to improve and become an even more dominant class.

     

     

    The emergence of Abigail Rogers (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was one of the biggest stories of 2007 and she will continue to be a force for the Falcons in 2008. Rogers, who did not compete as a freshman, jumped into the all-around rotation during just the second meet of the season. An all-around participant at the USA Gymnastics Championships, Rogers was recognized by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation as its Gymnast of the Week. In addition, she picked up all-conference honors on the vault, floor exercise and all-around.

    Mary Barrett (Copperas Cove, Texas) has been a consistent competitor during each of her first two seasons. Barrett closed out the 2007 season as an all-around competitor, making four straight appearances in the multi-event competition. Tallying four career-best marks as a sophomore, Barrett continues to improve.

    THE SOPHOMORES
    A pair of gymnasts from the Falcons' sophomore class gained valuable experience during their initial campaigns, while the other two have made impressive strides during the off-season to recover from injuries. In addition, as the largest of the returning classes, the sophomore class will be looked upon to bolster the depth of the Falcons' rotation.

    All-conference honoree on the uneven bars Michelle Denise (Kennewick, Wash.) made tremendous strides during her freshman season, before an injury slowed her down. Denise showed her power from the very start of the season and was subsequently named Gymnast of the Week by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Another one of the Falcons' talented all-around performers, she looks to continue that tradition during the 2008 season.

    Colorado-native Kayla Kincade (Lakewood) is another sophomore that gained valuable experience as a freshman. A competitor in 10 meets, Kincade was selected to participate in the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships and earned all-conference honors from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on the balance beam.

    The final two sophomores, Stephanie Frick (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Aftan Boudreaux (New Orleans, La.), were injured throughout much of their freshmen seasons, but the off-season rehabilitation and training have led to what Day expects to be remarkable seasons from both gymnasts.

    THE FRESHMEN
    Day's first recruiting class features five gymnasts with stellar credentials. In all, the newest group of Falcons boasts a combined resume' that features five appearances at the Junior Olympics national qualifier, one state all-around champion, one regional balance beam champion, three top-three all-around finishes at the regional championships and numerous appearances at their various state championships.

    The Falcons' head coach already sees several of these gymnasts making their way into the rotation during the course of the season and having an impact on the team score.

    The Class of 2011 features a quintet from across the country, ranging from Maryland to California, with stops in Georgia, Alabama and Texas along the way.

    Lisa Wong (Silver Spring, Md.) was the Maryland state all-around champion, while winning the balance beam at the regional meet and picking up a second-place finish in the all-around at the Eastern Championships.

    Classmate Holland Davis (Dadeville, Ala.) was a four-time Junior Olympic national qualifier, as well as four-time participant at the regional championships. A UCA All-Star Cheerleader, Davis received back-to-back Gymnast of the Year honors by the Auburn Gymnastics Academy.

    A 2006 national qualifier, Brittany Dutton (Tucker, Ga.) was the MVP of her high school team, while picking up top-four finishes in the all-around at the state and regional championships. Annette Ehrman (Houston, Texas), competed at the USA Gymnastics regional championships.

    The final new face to the program, Ashley Green (Porterville, Calif.), was a two-sport athlete during her high school career. In addition to finishing second in the pole vault at the league championships, Green was a two-year participant to the regional gymnastics championships and a four-year selection to the state championships.

    AWAY FROM THE GYM
    This Air Force team not only excels in the gym, but in the classroom as well. Donnell, Lewis and Rogers were named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships all-academic team following the 2007 season. Rogers also earned academic accolades from the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches and the Mountain West Conference.

    The incoming group of athletes also boasts academic honors, including a class salutatorian, several National Honor Society members and academic letterwinners.

    THE STAFF
    Day and assistant coach Holly Tedeschi return to the gym, along with first-year volunteer coach Lynn Day, who will serve as the squad's choreographer. The staff will also be assisted by athletic trainer Lisa Smith, officer representative Dr. Martiqua Post and cadet manager John Nussbaum.

    THE SCHEDULE
    While Air Force takes off for various venues around the country this season, the Falcons have an added benefit of competing within the friendly confines of Cadet West Gym on seven occasions this year.

    Air Force opens the season on Jan. 18, when they host Centenary College for the first of two weekend dual meets. The Falcons and Ladies will face off again on Jan. 20 for an afternoon session. The Falcons' first road trip of the year will take place one week later, as Air Force travels to Denton, Texas, to take on Texas Woman's University on Jan. 27.

    A pair of home meets with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Feb. 2) and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe UC-Davis (Feb. 16) bookend a quick road trip to the University of Denver on Feb. 9. Air Force then travels to Seattle, Wash., for another MPSF dual with Seattle-Pacific on Feb. 23, before returning to the Academy for a pair of meets with Eastern Michigan on Feb. 27 and Feb. 29.

    The Falcons then head to Ypsilanti, Mich., for their third showdown in as many meets with EMU as a part of the Eagle Invitational on March 8. Continuing on the road, Air Force travels to Anchorage, Alaska, for a pair of dual meets with its final conference opponent, Alaska-Anchorage (March 14, March 16). Air Force closes out the regular season at home in a rematch with Denver on March 24.

    The post-season begins March 28, as Air Force heads to Davis, Calif., for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The month of April features the NCAA Regional Championships (Apr. 12), the USA Gymnastics Championships (Apr. 18-19) and the NCAA Championships (Apr. 24-26).

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