GYMNASTICS TO FACE PAIR OF TOP 25 TEAMS AT DENVER QUAD

GYMNASTICS TO FACE PAIR OF TOP 25 TEAMS AT DENVER QUAD

Complete PDF Version

OPENING PASS
The Sacramento State gymnastics team will continue its early season streak of facing top 25 competition as it takes part in a four-team meet hosted by No. 8 Denver on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m. PT. The meet will also include 22nd-ranked Central Michigan as well as Texas Woman's.

The Hornets enter the contest with a 1-4 overall record through their first two meets. The team most recently placed second in a three-team meet against then-No. 21 Stanford and Seattle Pacific.

Live scoring will be provided by the meet by selecting the link on hornetsports.com. There will not be a live video stream provided by Denver. Sacramento State gymnastics fans can follow videos of the Hornets on Facebook (/sacstategymnastics)  throughout the meet.

This week begins a stretch of two consecutive road meets and four of five away from The Nest for Sacramento State. The team returns home on Friday, Feb. 8, for a dual against San Jose State and then not again until Friday, March 1, for Senior Night against Cal and UC Davis.

OPPONENT PREVIEWS
Denver opened its season in impressive fashion, scoring 196.275 to defeat then-No. 6 Michigan, No. 18 Alabama and Bowling Green in a four-team meet in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The score was the second highest by the Pioneers in a season opener in program history. Denver is ranked seventh nationally on bars after scoring 49.275 and is ninth on vault (49.025). Sophomore Lynzee Brown was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Week after scoring 39.400 in the all-around. Brown had scores of 9.925 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.750 on beam and 9.875 on floor.

DU is coached by Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart who is in her 21st season leading the team. Under her leadership,  the Pioneers have made 20-consecutive NCAA regional appearances and four national team berths. Sacramento State is 0-6 all-time against Denver.

Central Michigan cracked the top 25  with a pair of high scores. The Chippewas opened the year by defeating Illinois, Arizona and Bridgeport with a score of 194.875. Last Friday, CMU scored 195.275 to easily surpass Illinois State. Gianna Plaksa totaled 39.050 to win the all-around against ISU. She was also first on bars (9.800) and tied for first on floor (9.850) with teammate Nora Fettinger.

Jerry Reighard is in his 35th season as the head coach at Central Michigan. He started in 1985 and won his first MAC title in 1990. The team has won 15 more since that point including last season. CMU leads the all-time series against the Hornets, 3-1-1.

Texas Woman's is 0-2 with dual-meet losses to No. 16 Kentucky and No. 19 Arizona State. The Pioneers scored 192.600 against the Wildcats and improved to 193.550 against ASU. Bria Northrop has paced the team with a high of 39.225 in the all-around. Northrop has scored at least 9.800 on bars, beam and floor this season.

Lisa Bowerman took over as the TWU head coach in 2012. Bowerman had worked as an assistant with the team since 2007. TWU has a 14-4 edge over Sacramento State in the all-time series. Twelve of those meetings have come in the postseason when the team's regularly squared off at the USAG Championships.

THE LATEST ACTION
Sacramento State rallied on floor during the final rotation to finish in second place in a three-team meet against No. 21 Stanford and Seattle Pacific on Jan. 11 at The Nest. The Hornets trailed SPU by one-tenth entering the final rotation but scored 48.625 on floor to earn the team's first win of the year. Sacramento State finished the meet with a total of 189.950. Stanford improved to 5-0 after scoring 194.650 and Seattle Pacific totaled 189.825.

BELKOFF SPARKS COMEBACK WITH CAREER HIGH
Junior Alexis Belkoff played a large role in the team's surge on floor against Stanford and Seattle Pacific. The Hornets needed to post a large score on the event to prevent an upset loss to SPU. After Carly Pratt started the rotation with a 9.725, Belkoff responded with a career high 9.800 to place the team on solid footing. Prior to last week, Belkoff had never scored higher than 9.700 on floor.

The Tucson, Ariz., native also set a season high on vault with a 9.750 to tie for fourth place in the meet and set a career high on bars.

BRENT SEEING DOUBLE THROUGH TWO MEETS
Jordyn Brent has established herself as the most consistent member of the team through the first two meets. The sophomore scored 38.875 in her first collegiate all-around at the NorCal Classic and returned to post a 38.800 just five days later against Stanford and SPU. Brent has scored 9.700 on vault and 9.775 on floor in both meets and her bars scores have been separated by just 25 one-thousandths.

Brent is the only member of the team to have all of her routines score 9.5 or better. She currently leads the team in three of the four events as well as the all-around. Among MPSF gymnasts, she is third in the all-around, seventh on floor and 10th on vault and beam.

FLOOR IMPROVEMENT STARTS FROM THE TOP
The biggest jump between the first and second meet of the year came on floor where Sacramento State improved its score from 47.500 to 48.625. The nearly full-point rise can be attributed to the opening part of the lineup. The first three scores to count towards the team total last Friday were all improvements from the NorCal Classic. Senior Carly Pratt scored 9.725 from her leadoff position after receiving a 9.400 in the season opener. Belkoff then followed with a career high 9.800 (9.675 at NorCal) and freshman Destiny Watley raised her score from 8.950 to 9.650. The last two gymnasts in the lineup nearly matched their scores from the first meet. Lauren Schmeiss saw a slight decline from 9.700 to 9.675 while Brent posted an identical 9.775 in both meets.

THIS & THAT
Twelve of the team's 24 routines at the NorCal Classic were performed by gymnasts who were making their first appearance in the event at Sacramento State…seniors Lauren Schmeiss and Carly Pratt and junior Tara Catour will serve as team captains in 2019…six members of last season's team as well as the team itself were recognized by the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association for their academic achievements during the 2017-18 year…the NCAA will switch its postseason format this season moving from six six-team regionals to four nine-team sites…the format will involve multiple days of competition as the eight seed will take on the nine in the opening round. The second day will see two four-team meets with the top two advancing to a four-team meet on the third day.

MOST RECENT SACRAMENTO STATE LINEUP
VAULT BARS BEAM FLOOR
1. Shaye Mathias Alexis Belkoff Kednra Braida Carly Pratt
2. Tara Catour Cydney-Elise Kone Lauren Schmeiss Alexis Belkoff
3. Destiny Watley Courtnee Marquez Amber Koeth Tara Catour
4. Lauren Schmeiss Destiny Watley Jordyn Brent Destiny Watley
5. Jordyn Brent Jordyn Brent Courtnee Marquez Lauren Schmeiss
6. Alexis Belkoff Nicole Nebel Shaye Mathias Jordyn Brent
ex. Katelyn Garay --- Mariah York Nicole Nebel