I can’t believe it’s March already and we just saw the last week of regular season competition…and what a week it was!
It’s been another record-breaking season for Division II and Division III teams as they continue to close the gap with Division I. As we look ahead to conference championships this weekend, all six D2 programs finished ahead of at least one D1 team in the rankings during the regular season, and D3 Brockport and Whitewater finished ahead of D2 Southern Conn. and D1 Alaska!
Bridgeport finished its regular season breaking the 195 mark in a meet against Sacramento State and Arizona State. Bridgeport scored a 195.05, behind Sac’s 195.275 and just barely ahead of ASU’s 194.925. Not only was the team total a season high for them, it beat the team’s previous season high by about half a point! I’m guessing that was a great meet to watch.
Maya Reimers won vault with a 9.825, and Christine Liautaud tied for second on bars, also with a 9.825. The Purple Knights SLAYED beam, hitting a 49.0 and earning the top two individual finishes of the day with Brianna Comport’s 9.925 and Carol Chiles’ 9.875. Comport and Reimers also had the top floor scores for Bridgeport (9.8).
Seattle Pacific pulled a 194.1, its highest score of the season by a casual POINT AND A HALF in a meet against D1 Washington. Washington scored a 196.925, but the Falcons of SPU held their own, scoring within three tenths of the Huskies on vault and floor! SPU counted four scores of 9.7 or higher on vault from Breanna Beltran (9.7), Lauren Glover (9.75), Itzia San Roman (9.75), and Ariana Harger (9.8). Harger’s vault score tied her for a third-place finish, and Beltran also led SPU on bars (9.75).
The Falcons counted all beam scores of 9.6 or higher from Harger (9.6), Glover (9.65), Kristi Hayashida (9.65), San Roman (9.75), and Miyuki Matsune (9.775). They also hit a 49.05 on floor, including a pair of 9.875s for Harger and Darian Burns as they tied for third place, and Glover scored a 9.85.
There was a pretty awesome dual meet between West Chester and Ursinus over the weekend. West Chester won the meet with a 193.675 (the team’s second-highest score of the season), and Ursinus put up a 191.5, its highest score of the season.
WCU’s Majesta Valentine won vault (9.725) and floor (9.875), tied with teammate Myranda Marshall for the bars title (9.75), and won the all-around title with a 39.175. What, like it’s hard? The Golden Rams put up a 48.9 on beam, which included a 9.85 from Sarah Boyd, 9.825 from Valentine, and two 9.775s from Meghan Chan and Selena Swanger.
But oh, Ursinus. They may have been beaten by West Chester on beam, but that didn’t stop them from earning a team record on the event (48.575), and an individual school record of 9.9 from Kaelin Ruoss. Yes, you saw that right. A 9.9 for a DIVISION THREE gymnast. I have been calling them Beam Queens all season for a reason, and I noticed that the title is catching on to their press releases, too. It’s well-deserved.
Other strong performances for the Bears came from Courtney Pearson on vault (9.575), Vanessa Scalora on bars (9.675), Skyler Haas (9.725) and Autumn Snape (9.7) on beam, and Heather Brubaker on floor (9.65).
Speaking of school records, I need to talk about Rhode Island College. The Anchorwomen competed twice this week, first on March 7 against Bridgeport, Brown, and Southern Conn., and then again on the 11th against Brown, Springfield, and Cortland.
At the team’s first meet, they scored not one, not two, but THREE team records. RIC scored its first 47 in program history on vault, with a 47.175, counting big scores from Allie DiBiase (9.5), Corrine Paul (9.55), and Kyndel Yett (9.575). The women went on to score a program record on beam with a 46.025, which included a 9.5 from Grace Davis (the second highest score in program history…at the time), and their final team score at meet number one was a school record of 182.95.
The Anchorwomen continued their record breaking at meet number two, where they broke the school team beam record AGAIN with a 46.15. Davis hit a 9.525, so she now holds the second and third-highest beam scores in program history, both achieved in the same week! Ali Otis scored a 9.4, and Cailee Mallory scored a 9.325. At the same meet, RIC was just shy of a new vault record (46.9) and team record (182.575).
At both meets, DiBiase eclipsed the 37 mark in the all-around. The last time a RIC gymnast scored a 37 was in 2009!
These scores may not be as impressive as the 190+ scores from the top D3 teams, but they are still a big deal. Remember, this program was cut in 2011, and later reinstated. As a RIC alum who was there through that entire debacle (and on the forefront of reversing the decision), it is monumental to me. To see a program that was literally DOA rebuild itself within 6 years and be in a place it has never been before is amazing. This team was once called “the little team that could” and they are still chugging along despite limited resources. It’s truly amazing, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the momentum they’re building.
But we can’t have Ursinus and RIC steal the record-breaking thunder from Stout! The women broke three school records in their meet against Oshkosh, where their 189.35 not only earned them a victory to Oshkosh’s 186.325, but it was also a new program record by nearly a point!
MacKenzie Nicholson broke the bars record with a 9.775 to win the event, and Stout’s beam squad hit a new school record 47.3. It certainly has been a great beam year for D3, hasn’t it?
Stout’s Kaylee Jondahl won vault with a 9.675 and floor with a 9.8, Kenzie Hyde won beam with a 9.725, and Nicholson won the all-around with a 37.475. Oshkosh was led by strong performances from Danielle Turner on vault (9.575) and floor (9.575), Baylee Tkaczuk on bars (9.625), and Kassandra Stamopolous on beam (9.65).
Most improved of the week goes to Hamline, which scored a season high 188.85 in its meet against Whitewater, which won the meet with a 192.125 (its third highest score of the season). Hamline’s score was over THREE POINTS higher than its previous season high.
Hamline and Whitewater tied on vault (47.825). Whitewater’s Katie Fiorilli won the event (9.675), but was followed by three Hamline gymnasts: Caitlin Cooper (9.6), Alyssa Huch (9.575), and Rosie Giese (9.575).
Whitewater DOMINATED bars by sweeping the top five scores, including Mackenzie Smith’s win with a 9.8. Hamline’s best bar score came from Kelsey Ranneklev, who scored a 9.525. Whitewater’s Franchesca Hutton and Lisa O’Donnell won beam with scores of 9.55, while Courtney Morrison from Hamline tied with Courtney Pickett from Whitewater for third place with 9.5s (it was a good day to be named Courtney, I guess!). O’Donnell won floor with a 9.8, followed by teammate Kate Mierow’s 9.75. Hamline’s Sydney Tribbett was tied for third with Fiorilli with 9.675s.
Conference Championships are happening this weekend! Who will advance to nationals? My division II and III predictions in order of how I think they’ll rank at each conference meet are as follows:
ECAC II – Bridgeport, West Chester, Southern Conn.
MIC- Lindenwood, Texas Woman’s, Centenary
NCGA East- Brockport, Ursinus, Springfield, Cortland, Ithaca, Rhode Island
WIAC- Whitewater, La Crosse, Winona State, Stout, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Hamline, Gustavus
D2 All-Around Standings
|1||Majesta Valentine||West Chester||39.200||1||—|
|2||Schyler Jones||Texas Woman’s||38.955||2||—|
|3||Bria Northrop||Texas Woman’s||38.790||3||—|
D2 Vault Standings
|1||Schyler Jones||Texas Woman’s||9.825||1||—|
|3||Ariana Harger||Seattle Pacific||9.805||3||—|
|4||Katie Simpson||Texas Woman’s||9.795||4||—|
D2 Bars Standings
|2||Jenna Cashmore||Texas Woman’s||9.780||2||—|
|5||Majesta Valentine||West Chester||9.755||5||—|
D2 Beam Standings
|2||Majesta Valentine||West Chester||9.835||2||—|
|5||Mallory Moredock||Texas Woman’s||9.785||4||-1|
D2 Floor Standings
|2||Majesta Valentine||West Chester||9.880||2||—|
|Ariana Harger||Seattle Pacific||9.860||3||—|
D3 All-Around Standings
|4||Eboni Jackson||Winona State||37.955||3||-1|
|5||Samantha Wiekamp||La Crosse||37.840||4||-1|
D3 Vault Standings
D3 Bars Standings
|4||Amy Enright||La Crosse||9.650||4||—|
D3 Beam Standings
|Kari Willett||La Crosse||9.655||3||+1|
D3 Floor Standings
|5||Cami Bea Austin||Centenary||9.730||13||+8|
Article by Sarah Keegan