GYMNASTICS EYES CONFERENCE TITLE AT MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS

GYMNASTICS EYES CONFERENCE TITLE AT MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS

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OPENING PASS
The Sacramento State gymnastics team will take part in its final team meet of the season as it heads to Air Force for the MPSF Championships on Saturday, March 24. The meet will start at 5 p.m. PDT.

Live stats will be available by selecting the link through the Air Force web site as well as by selecting the link on hornetsports.com. Barring a government shutdown on Friday, there will also be a live video stream of the meet.

Sacramento State continued its late season surge by scoring 195.275 last week on Senior Night. The Hornets have now scored 195 points in three of its last five meets.

The team enters the MPSF Championships ranked third in the conference. Sacramento State has an RQS of 194.475 which leaves the team behind UC Davis (195.010) and San Jose State (194.655). However, the Hornets have recorded wins over both teams in the last half of the season.

Sacramento State is in search of its sixth MPSF title in school history. The team finished first in 2002, 2003 and 2004 before moving to the Western Athletic Conference. The Hornets returned to the MPSF and won the conference championship in 2014 and 2016.

OPPONENT PREVIEW
Along with leading the MPSF in total team score, UC Davis is also the conference leader on beam and floor. The Aggies have the top two all-arounders in the league in Kelley Hebert (39.180) and Alexis Brown (39.155). The pair are also tied for the best RQS on beam (9.855) and floor (9.885).

Sacramento State holds a 58-35 lead over UC Davis but went 1-2 against the Aggies this season.

San Jose State is second in the conference overall and leads the MPSF on vault with an RQS of 48.915. Kaitlin Won is the team's top all-arounder at 39.005 while Taylor Chan ranks sixth at 38.805. Ellie Pascoe-Long is the MPSF leader on vault with an RQS of 9.830 and Chan is tied for second.

The Hornets lead the all-time series, 51-49-1. San Jose State won three of four meetings this season.

Air Force has emerged as a title contender this season. The Falcons own an RQS of 194.100 and have scored as high as 194.500. Air Force is second in the MPSF on bars and ranks among the top four on all four events. Anna Salamone is the league leader on bars with an RQS of 9.840 and a high of 9.900.

Sacramento State owns a 22-2 lead all-time against Air Force. The Hornets are 3-1 at USAFA.

Seattle Pacific has a high of 193.225 and an RQS of 192.045 this season. The Falcons rank fifth in the league in each event but don't have a gymnast among the top six in the league .

Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 48-21, including a pair of wins this year.

Alaska Anchorage has improved its score from a year ago but remains sixth in the MPSF with an RQS of 190.180. The Seawolves' best event is beam where they have an RQS of 47.970.

The Hornets went 3-0 against Alaska Anchorage and now lead the series, 50-2.

THE LATEST ACTION
A career high from Annie Juarez in the all-around (39.275) lifted Sacramento State to its third consecutive home score of at least 195.000 last Friday night. The Hornets scored 195.275 to place third in the meet behind 13th-ranked Oregon State (196.850) and 17th-ranked Arizona State (195.900) and ahead if UC Davis (194.475).

Sacramento State was steady throughout the evening, scoring 48.725 or better on all four events and did not have a fall in any of its 24 routines. The team started on vault with a 48.725 and was led by Caitlin Soliwoda and Juarez.

On bars, senior Courteney Ng set the tone with a leadoff 9.775. That score would later be matched by Jackie Sampson, Juarez and Caitlin Soliwoda as the quartet tied for the team lead.

The Hornets had their highest team score of the night on beam at 48.975. Freshman Kendra Braida began the rotation with a 9.800 and the team's final three gymnasts each scored 9.8 or better. Juarez tallied her 9.875 to tie for second place. Caitlin Soliwoda scored 9.800 before Courtney Soliwoda closed the rotation with a 9.875.

The highlight on floor came from senior Jennifer Brenner who battled technical difficulties all the way to a career high. Early in her routine, Brenner's music stopped playing and she was forced to complete her routine with the crowd and teammates cheering her own. She received a 9.875 to lead the team and record her season best.

SENIORS SHINE IN SENDOFF
Sacramento State said goodbye to its six seniors last Friday night at The Nest and the group left all in attendance wanting for more. Along with Annie Juarez's career high in the all-around, Caitlin Soliwoda scored 39.100, Jennifer Brenner set a career best on floor, Caitlin Soliwoda set a career high on vault and Courteney Ng matched her season high on bars. The team also received a boost as Lauren Rice performed an exhibition bars — her first routine since a season-ending ankle injury in the second meet of the year.

Juarez's all-around had major implications in the NCAA postseason. The senior raised her RQS to 38.885 which moved her into fifth place in the region among gymnasts outside the top 36 teams. Juarez, who had never competed in the all-around prior to this year, now has five scores of at least 39 points. However, she is still counting a 37.850 among her total meaning her RQS could have a significant jump if she records another 39.

ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE
Historically, Sacramento State has had great success at conference championships. Five of the Hornets' top 11 scores have come at conference meets, including a 196.300 to win the 2016 MPSF Championships at The Nest.

Including with the five MPSF titles, Sacramento State has won 10 conference titles since 1999.

Individually, Sacramento State gymnasts have scored 9.925 on all four events at conference meets. Kalliah McCartney set the school record in the all-around (39.450) at the 2016 MPSF Championships.

PROBABLE SACRAMENTO STATE LINEUP
VAULT BARS BEAM FLOOR
Courtney Soliwoda Courteney Ng Kendra Braida Carly Pratt
Alexis Belkoff Jordyn Brent Lauren Schmeiss Jennifer Brenner
Caitlin Soliwoda Jackie Sampson Jackie Sampson Lauren Schmeiss
Annie Juarez Annie Juarez Annie Juarez Jackie Sampson
Jennifer Brenner Caitlin Soliwoda Caitlin Soliwoda Caitlin Soliwoda
Tara Catour Courtney Soliwoda Courtney Soliwoda Annie Juarez