USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – Sophomore Anna Salamone was named the women’s gymnastics MVP, head coach Doug Day recently announced. Salamone was one of three Falcons honored during the team’s annual end-of-season banquet, as freshman Tyler Davis was named the squad’s Outstanding Freshman and junior Emily Luers was selected as the team’s Most Improved Gymnast.
Salamone, the first sophomore in six years to earn the team’s MVP award, shined in her second season with the Falcons. Matching the Academy Record on the uneven bars with a career-best score of 9.925, the lone Air Force qualifier to the NCAA Regional Championships was a first-team USAG All-America selection on the uneven bars, while also capturing the program’s first-ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion no the uneven bars. A two-time first-team all-MPSF selection (vault, uneven bars), Salamone captured the MPSF Specialist of the Week award an Academy-record four times. She claimed first-place finishes on her signature events 11 times during the season (four on the vault, seven on the uneven bars), while posting team-leading marks on both events (vault: 9.850, uneven bars: 9.925).
Davis capped a stellar freshman campaign by earning the program’s first-ever USAG national title on the floor exercise. The first-year gymnast, who also nabbed first-team USAG All-America honors on the vault and all-around in 2018, was a two-time MPSF Freshman of the Week and a first-team all-MPSF selection on the floor. Davis, who captured five event titles on the year (four on the floor, one on the vault), became the first Academy gymnast in more than 13 years to reach the 9.900 plateau on the floor exercise – a mark that she tallied three times during the season. An all-around competitor during six meets, Davis posted career-best marks on the vault (9.825), uneven bars (9.750) and all-around (39.125) during the final weekend of the season, while matching her personal-best score of 9.900 on the floor exercise twice.
Luers was named the team’s Most Improved Gymnast for the second straight year, as she continued to increase the totals on her signature event – the balance beam. Highlighted by a career-best 9.850 at the USAG Qualifier, nine of the 10 highest scores of her career have now come during the 2018 season. The junior, who earned MPSF Specialist of the Week honors on Feb 26, was a second-team all-conference selection and a first-team USAG All-American.
The Falcons had a remarkable 2018 season – a campaign that included an Academy-Record team total of 195.675, two individual Academy Records (Salamone’s 9.925 on the uneven bars, Analise Howard’s 9.925 on the balance beam), one USAG champion (Davis on the floor exercise), two MPSF champions (Salamone on the uneven bars, Howard on the balance beam), the highest USAG team finish since 2011 (third), three coaching awards (MPSF Head Coach of the Year: Day; MPSF Assistant Coach of the Year: Josh Nilson; NCAA North Central Region Assistant Coaches of the Year: Nilson, Jennifer Langley), a program-record 11 MPSF weekly award winners, seven all-conference selections and nine USAG All-America accolades.
In addition to handing out awards that recognized the accomplishments of the 2018 season, Day also announced that rising seniors Riley Hill and Brittney Reed were selected as co-captains for the upcoming 2019 campaign.