GYMNASTICS SENDS THREE TO NCAA REGIONAL ON SATURDAY
• Coming off its best showing of the year, three Sacramento State gymnasts will continue their season at the NCAA Seattle Regional on Saturday, April 7. The meet, which will be hosted by Washington, will begin at 4 p.m. in Alaska Airlines Arena.
• The Hornets will be represented by all-arounder Kalliah McCartney as well as specialists Nicole Meiller (vault and bars) and Kailey Hansen (floor). This will be Meiller’s and Hansen’s second regional appearance. Meiller previously competed in 2010 as a vault specialist and Hansen was on floor last year.
• The six teams competing at the regional will be No. 4 Alabama, No. 9 LSU, No. 16 Arizona, No. 23 Washington, No. 30 Iowa and No. 36 Central Michigan. Those squads will be joined by five at-large all-arounders from the West Region as well as a specialist on all four events. Sacramento State’s three specialists are the most in school history.
• The top two teams advance to the NCAA Championships in Duluth, Ga. The top two all-arounders outside of those two teams will also earn a berth to the championships. Also, any additional individual event winner will move on.
• McCartney, who was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and finished third in the all-around, will rotate with Alabama. Hansen and Meiller will be paired with Central Michigan.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Kailey Hansen finished first on beam and floor to help lead the Sacramento State gymnastics team to a second place showing at the Western Athletic Conference Championships at Utah State.
The Hornets scored their second highest score in program history — 195.675 — and trailed only 18th ranked Denver which won the meet at 196.350. Southern Utah scored 195.025 to finish third and was followed by San Jose State (194.800) and Utah State (194.775).
Kalliah McCartney tied for third with a four-event total of 39.350 which is tied for the second highest in school history.
Sacramento State opened the meet on floor and posted 48.950 to get off to a good start. Hansen anchored the lineup with a 9.900 which held throughout the meet to win the event title. McCartney tied for ninth at 9.825 and Cayla Beutler tied for 18th with a 9.775.
The Hornets moved to vault during the second rotation and scored 48.800. The team counted five scores between 9.650 and 9.875. McCartney tied for third overall in the event with a career-high tying 9.875. Nicole Meiller tied for fifth at 9.825 and Hansen tied for 12th at 9.750.
Sacramento State remained within striking distance of Denver with a 48.825 on bars during its third rotation. Meiller tied for fourth after matching her career best with a 9.875. Freshmen Ashley Wooff, Kayla Wonderly and McCartney each tied for 15th with 9.750s.
The Hornets closed out the meet with a 49.100 on beam to secure the second place finish. The team score is tied for the third highest in program history and was the highest of the year. Three Hornets finished among the top five led by Hansen who won with a career high 9.925. The sophomore became the first Hornet to win two WAC titles in the same meet in school history. McCartney tied for second and matched her high with a 9.900. Cayla Beutler, who shared the WAC beam title in 2010, tied for fifth after scoring a season best 9.850.
With a strong surge at the end of the year which saw him earn seven wins in the final three meets, head coach Kim Hughes earned his 300th career victory. The 31-year veteran now stands at 300-274-2 in his time with the Hornets. Hughes’ 300th win came at the WAC Championships where he guided a team which was picked to finish last in the preseason poll to a second place finish and the second-highest score in school history. Hughes was also honored as the WAC Coach of the Year.
FILLING UP THE TROPHY CASE
In what should be no surprise, the three Hornets competing at regionals accounted for seven of the eight all-WAC honors the team received at the championships. McCartney highlighted the list by earning first team accolades on vault, bean and in the all-around. The Vancouver, Wash., native also was named the WAC Freshman of the Year following the meet.
Hansen was a first team selection on beam and floor and became the first Hornet to win two individual events at the WAC Championships. Meiller was a second team honoree on vault and bars. Junior Cayla Beutler was named second team on beam.
Sacramento State has been represented at the NCAA West Regional every year since 1994. The Hornets have made four appearances as a team (1999, 2006-08) and have sent individuals the other years.
Hansen’s fifth place tie on floor last season at Oregon State is tied for the highest finish on any event by a Sacramento State gymnast at a regional. Her effort matched Marina Borisova who tied for fifth in 2006.
The highest all-around regional finish in school history belongs to Melissa Genovese and Borisova who each tied for sixth. Both gymnasts were the alternate for nationals. Genovese also owns the highest all-around score by a Hornet, totaling 38.925 in 2008.