After seeing her team routinely rock green lipstick during a season that saw several high-scoring meets, UAA gymnastics coach Tanya Ho broke out her own green lipstick during UAA’s final meet of the season last weekend in Seattle.
The Seawolves responded by recording the highest team score in school history.
“Now I might have to wear it all the time since we did so well,” Ho said.
Led by Sophia Hyderally’s victory in the balance beam, the Seawolves posted a score of 194.200 to finish fourth out of six schools at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. Their score beat the old school record of 194.125 set against Air Force in March 2016.
After the meet, Ho, who is in her second season at UAA, was named the conference’s coach of the year.
Two days later, Hyderally became the 14th UAA gymnast in history to qualify for the NCAA regional championships. At the conference meet, she delivered a 9.90 to claim her second MPSF balance beam title in three years with a score that matched the second-best beam score in school history.
“That’s just what (Sophia) does every day in practice,” Ho said. “We just knew she could do it."
Saturday’s record-setting team effort came at the end of one of the best seasons in program history. The Seawolves posted several team scores that cracked the all-time top 10, and on Feb. 9, they came just shy of the school record with a 194.100 against UC Davis.
“We always knew throughout the season that we were capable (of breaking the record),” Ho said.
Ho said UAA struggled a little on floor exercise at the conference meet but came back strong in uneven parallel bars and balance beam.
“Our floor rotation was pretty tough," she said, "but still being able to break that record was amazing and a great way to finish the meet.”
The Seawolves got huge contributions in balance beam from sophomore Hope Nelson and freshman Rachel Decious, with Nelson tallying UAA’s sixth-best all-time best score (9.875) and Decious notching a career-high 9.825.
Senior Kaylin Mancari also came up big in her final meet, competing in three events. Mancari posted solid scores of 9.7 on bars and the beam but really shined on floor, earning UAA’s fifth-best all-time score with a 9.9.
Also on floor, Decious posted another career-high score with 9.775 and Hyderally scored 9.675.
Junior Mackenzie Miller led the Seawolves on bars with 9.85, UAA’s fifth-best all-time bars score. Hyderally also notched a career-best 9.825.
On vault, freshman Ali Marvel led the way with a 9.75 and sophomore Isabella Scalapino added a season-high 9.7.
Hyderally, a junior from Daphne, Alabama, will compete in the NCAA regional championships April 5 at Oregon State in Corvallis. The top performers there will advance to the NCAA national championships April 19-20 in Fort Worth, Texas.
UAA team scores this season
(previous school record: 194.125, March 2016)
Jan. 4 -- 188.825 vs. Illinois State
Jan. 6 -- 192.350 vs. Illinois State
Jan. 11 -- 19.2.400 vs. Brown
Jan. 13 -- 191.175 vs. Brown
Jan. 25 -- 191.425 at San Jose State with Air Force and Seattle Pacific
Jan. 27 -- 193.125 at UC Davis with Sacramento State
Feb. 9 -- 194.100 vs. UC Davis
Feb. 22 -- 192.675 at Utah State
March 1 -- 193.450 Oregon State with Bowling Green
March 17 -- 192.250 at Michigan State with Illinois-Chicago and Ball State
March 23 -- 194.200, MPSF Championships