GYMNASTICS COMES BACK HOME TO TAKE ON ALASKA ANCHORAGE ON SUNDAY
Eight weeks into the 2008 gymnastics season, Sacramento State is just were it wants to be. For the first time this year, the Hornets have cracked the top 36 and will now look to continue to climb up the national rankings. Sacramento State’s first test will come this Sunday, March 2, when the team takes on Alaska Anchorage at 2 p.m. inside the Hornets Nest.
Sacramento State enters the meet with a 4-4 record following a loss at Boise State last Friday. Against the Broncos, the Hornets scored 193.450 — their second highest score of the season. Individually, senior Melissa Genovese and junior Marina Borisova tied for first place on beam with 9.825s.
Alaska Anchorage is 3-7 on the year but fell short in a pair of home meets against Illinois State last week. The Seawolves are averaging 188.471 in seven meets with a high score of 190.075 in a four-team meet hosted by New Hampshire. Longtime head coach Paul Stoklos (now in his 24th season) will count on senior Jessica Portlock and a talented group of freshmen to lead his team. Against Illinois State, Portlock finished first on vault with a 9.600 and also led the team with a 9.700 on bars. Freshman Kelsey Fullerton paced the team with career bests 9.750 on floor in both meet against the Redbirds.
The all-time series between the two schools is one of the longest for Sacramento State. The teams have met 49 times with the Hornets finishing on top in 40 of those meets. Sacramento State has won the last 27 matchups as the Seawolves have not beat the Hornets since March 7, 1992.
Do the Math
Sacramento State moved into 33rd in the national rankings based on its regional qualifying score (RQS). The formula takes a team’s top six scores (only three of which can be at home), drops the high score and then averages the remaining five. The Hornets are one of five Western Athletic Conference school currently ranked in the top 36. The lone team, Cal Stat Fullerton, is not far behind in 38th.
New this season is the fact that the top 36 RQSs in the nation will qualify for NCAA postseason competition regardless of the region. However, the individual all-arounders and event specialists will be determined by regional rankings.
Sacramento State is still counting a home score of 191.975 which came against Seattle Pacific on Feb. 8. If the team is able to top that mark against Alaska Anchorage, then its score will continue to rise.
Heading into last season, the Sacramento State coaching staff thought that Eryn Stubblefield would be able to help the team out in a couple of events. Little did they know that the Corvallis, Ore., native would have to spend most of her year as an all-arounder and help lead the team to its second straight WAC title. As a freshman, Stubblefield earned first team all-WAC honors after tying for third on beam at the conference meet. She was also perfect all season on beam, not falling once in 15 routines.
Stubblefield’s streak was snapped this year when she fell off beam in the second meet of the season. However, since that time she has been solid, averaging 9.595. During that stretch, she also has three scores of at least 9.700. Stubblefield has also raised her scores on floor where she has scored at least 9.725 in the last three meets. She recently established a career high with a 9.775 against Southern Utah.
Eight is Not Enough
Sacramento State’s beam dominance continued on Friday at Boise State when Borisova and Genovese tied for the top spot. The team has now had the individual winner or tied for the top spot in all eight meets this year.
Borisova began the year with a win against Cal State Fullerton. Genovese finished on top a week later before Borisova won against San Jose State. Genovese, once again, won at San Jose State on Feb. 1 and tied with Lizzy Norvell the following week against Seattle Pacific. Genovese then won at Southern Utah before last week’s tie at Boise State.
As is it is prone to do this time of year, the training room is becoming a popular place for Hornet gymnasts. Sophomore Lissa Zamolo (stress fracture) and freshman Ashlei Baker (shoulder) are both out for the remainder of the year. Last week, the team had to make due without the services of junior Amber Basgall on floor due to an aggravation of her previous knee injury.
The list could grow this weekend as many members of the team are battling the flu and are questionable for the meet against the Seawolves.