This week's opponent will not have any surprises for the Sacramento State gymnastics team as the Hornets will be facing San Jose State for the third time in 19 days. This week's meet will take place on Friday, Jan. 26, at The Events Center in San Jose, Calif. Unlike the first two meetings, this matchup will be a dual meet between the two schools.
Fans can watch a live stream of the meet via the Mountain West Network. There will also be live scores via sjsuspartans.com.
Sacramento State is still searching for its first win of 2018. The Hornets opened the year by placing fifth in the five-team NorCal Classic before suffering a loss to 15th-ranked Washington in the home opener. Last week, the team finished third in a three-team which included Utah State and SJSU.
San Jose State is 3-3 after finishing in the middle of the pack in both of its meets this season. The Spartans placed third at the NorCal Classic on Jan. 8 and were second last weekend at Utah State. SJSU set the school record in a season-opening meet after scoring 194.475 to trail only Cal and Stanford at the NorCal Classic. The team most recently scored 194.275.
In last week's meet at Utah State, San Jose State received great performances from Kaitlin Won and Ellie Pascoe-Long. Won was named the MPSF Gymnast of the Week after winning the all-around title with a season-best 39.075 at the meet. She also finished second on the balance beam as she tied her career high with a 9.850. Pascoe-Long won her first two career event titles and was named the MPSF Specialist of the Week. She scored a career-best 9.825 to win on vault and tied her career high with a 9.850 on floor to tie for first with two Utah State gymnasts.
Wayne Wright is in his 17th season as San Jose State's head coach. Wright has led the Spartans to seven NCAA regional appearances and the 2017 MPSF team title.
THE LATEST ACTION
Sacramento State scored its season high but could not catch host Utah State or San Jose State in a three-team meet at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Jan. 19. The Hornets scored 193.275 while the host Aggies tallied a team mark of 195.450 and SJSU finished with 194.275.
Sacramento State opened the meet on beam and scored 48.450 to tie its season best. Freshman Kendra Braida and sophomore Jackie Sampson led off the rotation with the top two scores on the team. Braida scored 9.800 to tie for fifth overall and Sampson received a 9.775 to place eighth. The team was able to overcome a fall as its final three gymnasts were each able to hit. Courtney Soliwoda anchored the group with a 9.725 to tie for ninth place in the meet.
The Hornets increased their score with a 48.600 on floor. Annie Juarez and Caitlin Soliwoda each scored 9.825 in the final two routines of the rotation. The pair tied for fourth place and were just a quarter-tenth of a point away from a trio of gymnasts who tied for first place.
On vault, Sacramento State scored 48.350. The team counted five scores between 9.575 and 9.775 towards its team total. The highest score came from Alexis Belkoff who received a 9.775 to place fourth. Caitlin Soliwoda added a 9.725 and Juarez scored 9.700.
The Hornets trailed San Jose State by just .025 for second place heading into the final rotation. Sacramento State finished with a 47.875 on bars while the Spartans scored 48.850 on vault to pull away. For the third consecutive meet, the Hornets were forced to count a fall as the first two gymnasts fell. Sampson helped the team bounce back with a career high 9.825 to tie for first place along with Utah State's Madison Ward and Keri Peel.
Soliwoda led the Hornets with a four-event total of 38.975 in her first all-around of the season. That score left the senior one-tenth behind SJSU's Caitlin Won who finished first at 39.075.
BRAIDA NAMED MPSF FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Sacramento State earned its first MPSF weekly honor from an unlikely source. True freshman Kendra Braida was named the MPSF Freshman of the Week following her performance in the meet at Utah State. Braida led off the team's rotation on beam and scored a career high 9.800. That mark easily broke her previous high of 9.575.
Braida's rise this season is more improbable when you consider she was not in the initial lineup to start the season. When Caitlin Soliwoda was pulled after injuring her heels on bars, Braida was inserted into the first position and hasn't left the lineup since. She is now averaging 9.650 on beam which ranks third on the team.
PLENTY OF TIME LEFT
While no one associated with the program has been thrilled by the team's lack of consistency to start the year, there is no need to panic yet. Sacramento State has nine meets left on its schedule, including the MPSF Championships. The team needs just six solid scores to put itself into consideration for a berth into an NCAA Regional. The NCAA uses a Regional Qualifying Score formula which throws out a team's high score and then averages its next five marks. The 36 best RQS will qualifying for the postseason.
The Hornets have been forced to count at least one fall in the three meets this year. However, if you take the high mark on all four events of 48.350 on vault, 48.575 on bars, 48.450 on beam and 48.775 on floor, the team would have a total of 194.150. Ohio State currently occupies 36th place in the national rankings with an average of 194.475.
Junior Jackie Sampson recorded her first collegiate event title as she tied for first place on bars in the tri-meet at Utah State. Sampson scored a season best 9.825 to match the mark of Utah State's Madison Ward and Keri Peel. The Glendale, Ariz., native also added a season best 9.775 on beam and a 9.725 on floor.
Sampson started the season with a fall on bars but has been rock solid since. Her opening routine was also on pace for a big score until she stumbled on her dismount. She has averaged 9.775 on bars in the last two meets and has averages of 9.642 on beam and 9.725 on floor.
BACK ON TRACK
Caitlin Soliwoda competed in the all-around for the first time this season and nearly won the competition at Utah State. The senior totaled 38.975 and finished one-tenth behind SJSU's Won for the top spot. Soliwoda scored 9.725 on vault, 9.775 on bars, 9.650 on beam and 9.825 on floor.
The North Las Vegas native was expected to pair with fellow senior Lauren Rice as the team's primary all-arounders this season. Instead, Soliwoda was injured at the NorCal Classic after just one event and did not compete against Washington. Rice was injured against UW and is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
|PROBABLE SACRAMENTO STATE LINEUP|
|1. Courtney Soliwoda||Courteney Ng||Kendra Braida||Alexis Belkoff|
|2. Tara Catour||Annie Juarez||Jackie Sampson||Tara Catour|
|3. Jordyn Brent||Jackie Sampson||Lauren Schmeiss||Jennifer Brenner|
|4. Alexis Belkoff||Jordyn Brent||Annie Juarez||Jackie Sampson|
|5. Caitlin Soliwoda||Caitlin Soliwoda||Caitlin Soliwoda||Annie Juarez|
|6. Annie Juarez||Courtney Soliwoda||Courtney Soliwoda||Caitlin Soliwoda|
|ex. None||None||Courtnee Marquez||Carly Pratt|