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24th-RANKED GYMNASTICS TRAVELS TO AIR FORCE FOR SATURDAY MEET

24th-RANKED GYMNASTICS TRAVELS TO AIR FORCE FOR SATURDAY MEET

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OPENING PASS
With two scores of at least 194.400, the Sacramento State gymnastics team is ranked 24th nationally heading into this weekend's meet at Air Force. The competition against the Falcons will begin at 6 p.m. PT on Saturday, Jan. 21.

This year marks the second consecutive season that the Hornets have opened the year with back-to-back scores  over 194.000 — the only two times in school history. Last season, Sacramento State reached that mark in its first five meets and finished the year with a 194-plus in 10 of the 11 meets.

The best average through three meets came last season where the team averaged 194.550. The Hornets would need to score 194.675 or better this week to break that mark.

Sacramento State is 4-1 for the first time since the 2007 team opened the year with a 5-1 mark and eventually improved to 11-2.
A live video stream of the meet can be found at goairforcefalcons.com.

OPPONENT PREVIEW
Air Force is 1-3 on the season after placing fourth in a four-team meet at Denver on Jan. 14. The Falcons are averaging 190.388 through their two meets. The team opened the year with a 190.875 in a win over Winona State. Air Force then scored 189.900 while falling to DU, Arizona State and Texas Women's.

Casey Bell is tied for the top spot in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with an average of 9.825 on floor. Mariana Murphy is fourth in the all-around at 38.063.

The Falcons are coached by Doug Day who's in his 11th season .

Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 20-1. The Falcons' lone victory came on Jan. 22, 2000 at Air Force.

THE LATEST ACTION
Sacramento State recorded a 194.400-192.725 victory over San Jose State on Friday, Jan. 13, in the home opener for the Hornets. Sacramento State gymnasts accounted for at least a share of the top score on all four events and also had the top two all-arounders in the meet.

The Hornets scored 48.825 on vault as all six gymnasts scored between 9.725 and 9.775. Tara Catour, Alexis Belkoff and Julia Konner finished in a four-way tie for first place.

Lauren Rice led off on bars and saw her score of 9.825 hold for a first-place finish and help the team to a 48.900.

The team counted a pair of falls on beam resulting in a 47.800 team score. However, Caitlin Soliwoda scored 9.850 to finish first in the event for the first time in her career.

Sacramento State wrapped up the meet with a 48.875 on floor led by a 9.850 from Catour.

KONNER NAMED MPSF GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
Julia Konner was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week following her performances in a pair of meets. The honor is the first for Konner during her career.

Konner finished first in the all-around at the NorCal Classic at Cal on Jan. 9 and then placed second in the team's victory over San Jose State on Jan. 13. In those two meets, she averaged an MPSF leading 39.025 in the all-around after totaling 38.975 at NorCal and 39.075 against SJSU. The senior is also tied for third in the conference on vault (9.787), beam (9.725) and floor (9.800).

Dating back to last season, the Bethesda, Md., native has averaged 38.895 in her last five all-arounds.

Konner's performances have helped Sacramento State post a 4-1 record at the start of the season, including the team's first victory over Stanford in school history. The Hornets are currently ranked 24th nationally with an average 194.438.

CLEAN SWEEP
Through two meets, Sacramento State leads the MPSF in all four events as well as team score. The team's average of 194.475 places it over a half-point ahead of second-place UC Davis (194.475) and over a full point above the other four teams in the conference.

Along with owning the highest average in all four events, Sacramento State also accounts for the highest team score in each event.

The team's depth is most apparent when you look at the individual standings as only Konner and Caitlin Soliwoda are MPSF leaders. Konner leads in the all-around while Soliwoda owns an average of 9.775 to earn top spot on beam.

START THEM YOUNG
The freshmen tandem of Tara Catour and Alexis Belkoff each earned their first career event victories against San Jose State. Catour finished tied for first place on vault and later took sole possession of first on floor. After scoring 9.800 at the NorCal Classic, Catour received a 9.775 on vault against SJSU. Her average of 9.787 ties her for third in the conference. She later won floor with a 9.850 which is the highest score by an MPSF gymnast on floor this season.

Belkoff also received a 9.775 to finish in a four-way tie for first place on vault. In two meets this season, Belkoff is averaging 9.737 which ranks 14th in the MPSF.

Despite both being true freshmen, the pair had a good idea of what to expect as each have a sister currently competing. Catour's sister, Stephanie, is a junior at Oklahoma while Belkoff's sister, Corinne, is a sophomore at Arizona State.

ANY OTHER WEEK
Caitlin Soliwoda claimed her first all-around victory after scoring 39.100 against San Jose State. However, the junior did not earn MPSF Gymnast of the Week as she was edged by Konner.

Against the Spartans, Soliwoda scored 9.750 on vault, 9.800 on bars, 9.850 on beam and 9.700 on floor. Her beam score set a career high and also finished first in the event.

Coming into the year, Soliwoda had never competed in the all-around. She started the season with a 38.800 to place second at the NorCal Classic and now owns an average of 38.950 which places her second in the MPSF and tied for 45th nationally.

NEWS & NOTES
The Hornets combined to set nine career highs against San Jose State…Catour is scheduled to exhibition on bars at Air Force meaning she will perform in all four events…junior Lauren Rice remains limited to bars and beam while recovering from ankle surgery…sophomore Jackie Sampson is out with a foot injury.