GYMNASTICS LOOKS TO DEFEND TITLE, QUALIFY FOR REGIONALS, AT WAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
It all comes down to this. The Sacramento State gymnastics team will took to cement itself as one of the top six squads in the West Region and win its second consecutive Western Athletic Conference title at the this weekend’s WAC Championships. The meet will start at 6 p.m. MT in Cedar City, Utah.
The Hornets enter the meet with a 13-4 overall record but are 5-3 against WAC teams. Sacramento State is currently holding down the sixth, and final, berth into the NCAA West Regional but high-scoring Cal is just .01 behind. The Hornets are looking to qualify for the NCAA regionals in consecutive years for the first time in school history.
Boise State: After finishing second at the WAC meet last season and advancing the regionals, the Broncos have been plagued by injuries throughout 2007. The team currently has an RQS of 192.535. The Hornets defeated BSU earlier this season in Sacramento.
Cal State Fullerton: Despite having the lowest RQS (192.250) of the six teams at the meet, the Titans own the best WAC record (4-1). One of those four wins came against the Hornets in Fullerton, Calif.
San Jose State: The most familiar opponent in the meet, Saturday will mark the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. Each team won in the others gym and Sacramento State defeated SJSU last week at UC Davis. The Spartans are in a three-way battle for the final two spots in the West with Sacramento State and Cal.
Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds are one of the top teams in the league and have the advantage of competing at home. All-arounder Leah Sahkitab is the reigning WAC Gymnast of the Year and will contend with a handful of others for this year’s title.
Utah State: The highest nationally ranked team (29th) in the league. However, the Aggies are clinging to the final berth out of the North Central Region. Utah State is 6-2 against WAC teams this season with losses coming against Sacramento State and Southern Utah.
That Adds Up Fast
Sacramento State has apparently saved its best for last. In their final regular season meet of the year, the Hornets scored a season high 195.150 to finish second at the UC Davis Quadrangular. Cal scored 196.500 to finish first while SJSU scored 194.500 and UC Davis compiled 193.150.
Individually, Marina Borisova finished first on floor with a 9.925 and was second in the all-around. Borisova tied the school record, which she had already shared with Binta Coleman, with a four-event total of 39.350. For her efforts, she was named the WAC Gymnast of the Week for the second straight week and the third time this season.
Helping the Hornets’ cause at the Davis meet was the showing on balance beam. Sacramento State scored 49.100 to shatter the previous record of 48.800. Junior Tiffany Bass led off with a 9.750 and was followed by freshman Lissa Zamolo’s 9.825. The team did not need to count a 9.650 from Eryn Stubblefield but did use a 9.850 from junior Nicole Giao and a 9.800 from Borisova. Junior Melissa Genovese capped the lineup with a 9.875 to place third overall.
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 19 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.
A Look Back at Last Year
Sacramento State surprised many last year, winning the team title at the WAC Championships at Utah State. The Hornets scored 193.950 to edge Boise State (193.775). Head coach Kim Hughes was named the WAC Coach of the Year and Borisova earned the Freshman of the Year award.
Individually, Borisova was first on floor and third in the all-around. She was one of three Hornets to be named first team all-WAC joining Bass (floor) and Brooke Morari (vault). Genovese was named to the second team on beam as well as current assistant Carrie Kinghorn on floor.