Feb. 6, 2014
The Air Force women's gymnastics team continues its homestand this weekend when it hosts No. 10 Auburn on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. The meet, which will run in conjunction with the ninth-ranked men's gymnastics team's meet with sixth-ranked Minnesota, will be held in the center section of the Cadet Gymnasium.
Saturday's meet, which will feature both the women's and men's programs, will be the first competition held in Cadet Center Gym after construction began this week on the Falcons' primary facility (signs will be posted to direct fans to the new venue). Admission is free, but fans are encouraged to arrive early as traffic will be increased due to multiple events around the athletic department venues on Saturday. Because of the move into Cadet Center Gym, video streaming will not be available.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Auburn, ranked 10th in the GymInfo national standings with a season average of 196.125, is coming off of a 196.550-196.100 road victory over (then) No. 10 Arkansas last weekend. The Tigers hold top-20 national standings on all four events, including top-10 marks on the vault (fifth) and floor exercise (ninth). Individually, MJ Rott paced the team with a top-10 placement in the national vault standings (9.912).
LOOKING AROUND THE LEAGUE
Katie Hawthorne currently leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on the uneven bars, posting a league-leading average of 9.781. She is one of three Falcons to be listed among the top-six of the conference standings, as Sarah Neumann is ranked fifth on the balance beam (9.742 average) and Linnaea Hance is ranked sixth in the all-around (38.137 average). As a team, Air Force is ranked among the top half of the MPSF on the beam (third, 47.963).
NEUMANN NAMED MPSF NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Sarah Neumann was voted as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 4, after a strong meet during the Falcons' home opener. In her first competitive season after missing her freshman year with ACL reconstruction, Neumann posted career-high marks on the balance beam (9.775) and floor exercise (9.725), while making her debut on the uneven bars (9.500). The sophomore finished second on the beam and tied for third on the floor exercise, helping the Falcons to their highest score of the season (192.875).
FALCONS NET SEASON-HIGH IN HOME OPENER
Backed by an event title on the balance beam and season-best team scores on the vault and floor exercise, Air Force collected a season-high total of 192.875 during a runner-up finish at its home triangular on Feb. 1. The Falcons overall score is the eighth-highest total of Doug Day's tenure at the Academy, which began in 2007.
HANCE CLAIMS TEAM'S FIRST TITLE OF 2014
With a career-best score of 9.850, Linnaea Hance picked up the Falcons' first event title of the season on Feb. 1, as she paced Air Force to a one-two finish on the balance beam. She and Sarah Neumann (9.775) claimed the top-two finishes on that event, while Shannen Kelly and Kara Witgen placed within the top half of the field with matching eighth-place scores of 9.650.
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE FALCONS
Air Force is off from competition until Sunday, Feb. 23, when they travel to St. Charles, Mo., for a dual meet with Lindenwood. The meet starts a busy stretch of the season for the Falcons, who return to the Academy later that week for competitions against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, March 1.