GYMNASTICS MAKES SHORT TRIP TO CAL FOR QUAD MEET ON SUNDAY

GYMNASTICS MAKES SHORT TRIP TO CAL FOR QUAD MEET ON SUNDAY

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OPENING PASS
Coming off its season best score, the Sacramento State gymnastics team will take part in its final regular season meet of the year when it heads to Berkeley, Calif., for a four-team meet against Cal, Illinois and San Jose State on Sunday, March 17.

Live stats and live video stream will be provided by Cal. Links to both can be found on Hornetsports.com.

Despite being separated by just 83 miles, this is the first time the Hornets have traveled to Cal since 2014. The Golden Bears have come to The Nest three times since that meet, including just two weeks ago.

OPPONENT PREVIEW
Cal is 16th in this week's National Qualifying Score rankings. The Golden Bears have score 196-plus in six consecutive meets with a high of 196.975 set at Sacramento State two weeks ago. The team most recently totaled 196.100 in a dual against San Jose State. In that meet, Cal accounted for the event winner on all four events, including a three-way tie for first on vault.

Justin Howell and Elisabeth Crandell-Howell serve as co-head coaches for the Golden Bears. Cal leads the all-time series against the Hornets, 27-8.

Illinois is currently in the dreaded 37th spot in the rankings. The Fighting Illini own an NQS of 195.225 and find themselves just a fraction of a point behind George Washington (195.250) for the final berth to the postseason.  Illinois set a team high last week with a 196.075 to finish second in a four-team meet. Mary Jane Otto and Shaylah Scott tied for first on beam when each received a 9.925. Otto also won the all-around with a total of 39.375.

Nadalie Walsh is in her second season as the head coach at Illinois. Walsh was previously the head coach at Utah State for four seasons. She has also been the head coach at Ball State and UW-Oshkosh. The Illini lead the all-time series, 2-0, and this will be the first meeting since 2001.

This week will be the fourth of five meetings between Sacramento State and San Jose State this season. The Spartans have won two of three with wins at the NorCal Classic and on their home floor. The Hornets were victorious in a dual at The Nest on Feb. 8. SJSU scored 193.725 last weekend against Cal. Taylor Chan finished first in the all-around on Senior Night.

Joanne Bowers is in her first season leading San Jose State. The all-time series between the two schools is tied, 52-52-1.

THE LATEST ACTION
Sacramento State recorded its best meet of the year, scoring season highs on three events and producing a total of 194.975. The team score was more than two points better than its previous high of 192.725. Host Washington, which is ranked 14th, won the meet at 196.650 while Iowa was second at 195.300.

The Hornets started the night on bars with a score of 48.625 with the help of three career best performances. Jordyn Brent received a team-high 9.800 to tie for fourth place. The rotation was capped by Courtnee Marquez who tied her career high with a 9.750.

Sacramento State moved to beam in the second rotation and increased its score with a 48.775. Kendra Braida and Lauren Schmeiss each received a score of 9.725 from the first two spots in the lineup. Jackie Sampson continued her streak of stellar routines with a 9.875. That score tied Sampson for first place along with Washington's Madison Copiak and Malory Rose. Sampson also matched her career best which was set a week ago.

The Hornets overcame another injury on floor to finish with a season high of 48.875. The team, once again, got off to a quick start as Braida scored 9.775 and Alexis Belkoff received a 9.800. Schmeiss anchored the lineup with a 9.825 to tie for seventh place.

The Hornets again had their backs against the wall of vault as the team was limited to just five gymnasts. Despite not having the luxury of dropping a score, the five combined to score a season-high 48.700 and all five at least tied their season bests. Belkoff led the team with a 9.825 which matched her season best and tied her for fourth place in the meet.

MAKING A STATEMENT IN SEATTLE
When Sacramento State set its season high last week, it did so in dramatic fashion. The Hornets totaled 194.975which was over two full points beyond its previous best this season. The score moved the team up four spots in the national rankings and ranked as the second highest in the MPSF this year.

Overall, Sacramento State gymnasts tied or set personal bests seven times during the meet. The biggest number came on vault where Kendra Braida scored 9.775 to pass her previous best of 9.625. Jordyn Brent matched her career high with a 9.775 and Amber Koeth received a 9.575 to pass her previous best of 9.500.

After Katelyn Garay injured her knee on her opening floor pass, Sacramento State knew it would be forced to count every score on floor and vault during the final two rotations. The team responded with season highs in both events.

GARAY ADDS HER NAME TO LONG LIST
Garay's injury is just the latest for Sacramento State this season. The team lost Karissa Hoffman before the season began and fellow freshman Wanda Deriot went down on the first routine of the year. Since then, senior Jackie Sampson and junior Tara Catour have both been sidelined for long periods of time. Shaye Mathias who had been inserted into the lineup as an all-arounder had picked up some of the workload before she suffered a knee injury at Seattle Pacific on Feb. 22.

SENIORS LEAD THE WAY DOWN THE STRETCH
Since the senior class became complete with the return of Jackie Sampson three weeks ago, the trio of Sampson, Carly Pratt and Lauren Schmeiss have helped the Hornets to three of their better scores of the season. The three have combined for 18 routines of at least 9.700 during the stretch. During that time each has also set or tied a career best. Pratt scored 9.825 on floor on Senior Night and followed with a 9.775 on beam last week for her career highs. Sampson has received a 9.875 on beam the last two meets for her best on the event. Her most recent score tied her for first place. Schmeiss had a career high 9.850 on floor on Senior Night to set her career best. Schmeiss also continud her streak of having each of her 27 routines during the year count towards the team total.