GYMNASTICS CLOSES REGULAR SEASON IN FOUR-TEAM MEET AT UC DAVIS
With the Western Athletic Conference championships just over a week away, the Sacramento State gymnastics team will close out its regular season on Friday in a four-team meet at UC Davis. The meet will feature some of the best teams in the West Region as the Hornets will meet Cal, San Jose State and the Aggies at 7 p.m. The meet will also have postseason implications at Cal, SJSU and Sacramento State are currently ranked fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. The top six teams in the region will advance to the postseason at the end of the year.
Sacramento State is currently 10-3 overall after falling to San Jose State last weekend at the Hornets Nest. However, the team posted its highest score of the year and has now scored 193-plus in four of its last five meets. Sophomore Marina Borisova was named the WAC Gymnast of the Week for the second time this season for her effort against SJSU.
San Jose State improved to 7-8 overall with its win over Sacramento State. The Spartans and Hornets have now split the two meetings this season, with each team winning on the road. Following Friday’s matchup, the squads will square off again at the WAC Championships.
After a slow start, Cal has improved its performance in recent weeks. The Golden Bears are just 5-9 overall but have scored at least 193.000 in five of their last six meets. Cal leads the all-time series against Sacramento State, 13-4.
Friday will mark the third meeting between Sacramento State and UC Davis this season. The Hornets have defeated the Aggies in both meetings and have now won the last 18 meets against UCD to stretch its series advantage to 38-18.
A Look at the Last Meet
Marina Borisova finished first on bars, floor and in the all-around to help lead Sacramento State to a season-high 194.900 against San Jose State. The only problem for the Hornets was the fact that the Spartans were near perfect en route to scoring 195.300.
Borisova scored 9.900 on both bars and floor and totalled 39.275 to win the all-around. Her total just edged Melissa Genovese who tallied a career high 39.175. Sacramento State also received top-three showings from Sara Williams on vault, Genovese on bars and beam, and Nicole Giao on floor.
Along with the personal highs, the Hornets also set season highs on vault (48.500), bars (49.075) and floor (49.050).
Head Coach Kim Hughes
In his 27th year at the helm of the Hornet gymnastics program, head coach Kim Hughes has built a program from the ground up and has solidified Sacramento State as a contender in the NCAA West Region and the Western Athletic Conference.
With a career record of 239-209-2, Hughes led the Hornets to the WAC title in 2006 and was named the conference Coach of the Year. His teams also won back-to-back MPSF Championships in 2002 and 2003 and added a third tile in 2005. He also directed Sacramento State to consecutive Western Independent Championships in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, Sacramento State recorded program highs with consecutive meets above 193 (four), most scores over the 194-plateau (four) and most scores over the 193-mark (eight) in a season. Those statistics helped Hughes earn the MPSF Coach of the Year award.
In 2004, Hughes led the team to its two best scores in school history. The top mark of 195.875 came at the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational at Oregon State. The team also set program records on the vault, beam and floor.
Among his other accomplishments, Hughes guided Sacramento State to a second-place finish at the National Invitational Tournament in 2000 and gave the program its first regional bid in 1999 while also being named NCAA Region 1 Coach of the Year.
Hughes earned his first Coach of the Year honor in 1984 when the Hornets were a member of the Div. II Northern California Athletic Conference. A graduate of Chico State in 1976, Hughes joined the Sacramento State women’s gymnastics program in 1977 and was named head coach in 1981. During his tenure, Hughes also guided the Hornets to Div. I status in 1992.
Do the Math
Despite improving its season high, Sacramento State dropped to seventh in the West Region rankings this past week. However, the Hornets’ hopes for a second straight NCAA appearance are not dead yet. If Sacramento State, San Jose State and Cal each score 194.000 in the last two meets, the Hornets will jump to fifth in the region while Cal will claim the sixth spot.
In the event the team does not earn a bid, Sacramento State will still be represented at the West Regional. If the season ended today, Borisova and Genovese would both qualify as at-large all-around selections and Eryn Stubblefield is tied for the top at-large spot on beam.
Going Where No Gymnast Has Gone Before
Both Marina Borisova and Melissa Genovese are on the verge of making Hornet history. The pair have competed as all-arounders in each of the team’s meets this season and are on pace to become the first pair to do so. Since 1996, Binta Coleman and Toni Peterson have come the closest, but each missed one meet.
Borisova began her stretch midway through last season and has now appeared in 17 consecutive meets as an all-arounder. Genovese had never competed in all four events during her two previous meets until the start of the 2007 season.
Sacramento State has also used freshmen Eryn Stubblefield and Lissa Zamolo in the all-around this year. Stubblefield has seven all-arounds under her belt while Zamolo has one.
First and Last
Seniors Courtney Hibler and Sara Williams made the most of the their final meet at the Hornets Nest. Williams set a career high on vault with a 9.775 to tie for third and was also sixth on bars with a 9.800. Both Hibler and Williams also performed an exhibition on beam. Hibler scored 9.575 while Williams tallied a 9.550. The beam performance was the first by Hibler since injuring her knee midway through last season and was the first on the event for Williams during her collegiate career.
Hughes and assistant Tami Ross have both received honors in the last week. Hughes will be presented the Distinguished Faculty Award at Sacramento State on April 12. Ross was named as the U.S. head coach for the Pan-Am Maccabi Games this summer in Santiago, Chile.