The University of Alaska Anchorage gymnastics team recorded a season-high in points Friday night, coming narrowly close to notching its first win of the season against William & Mary at the Alaska Airlines Center.
On Sunday afternoon, the Seawolves again reached a season-high and this time secured a decisive 193.700-192.775 victory over William & Mary to earn their first win of the season.
“We had some good gymnastics on Friday,” UAA head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch said. “There was just a couple of things where we left the door open for the judges to deduct. Another toe point, another step, another knee bend, and today they really took that to heart and they were convinced that they’re not going to give the judges more than they had to deduct.”
The Seawolves’ triumph over the Tribe featured several standout performances by gymnasts to help the team record a season-high in points yet again and the sixth most in a single meet in program history.
“We improved over the last three meets, and this is finally paying off,” Boggasch said. “We’ve started to implement some of those corrections early on in the season and it just takes a little bit to figure it out. We still have a fairly inexperienced team.”
Senior Rachel Decious recorded a pair of individual wins in floor and tied with freshman teammate Paola Ruano Barahona for first in beam. Sophomores Alyssa Manley and Montana Fairbairn also notched individual victories in bars and vault.
UAA narrowly trailed about halfway through the meet but was able to pull ahead and edge out William & Mary by posting the ninth-best floor total in Seawolves program history at 48.775 in the final rotation. The Seawolves also earned the third-best balance beam total in program history at 48.875.
“On beam, we had eight stuck dismounts which is 8-for-8 and that’s amazing,” Boggasch said. “We got really excited there because that just means that we gave the judges so little to deduct and that’s showing in our team score.”
Even though William & Mary also recorded a season-high in total points, the Seawolves were able to record season bests on all four apparatuses to emerge victorious.
In gymnastics, individual scores are more important than team scores in the end so that the gymnast can qualify for regional and national championship tournaments.
“In the NCAA women’s gymnastics world, wins and losses don’t necessarily count,” Boggasch said. “It’s more about the score. It’s about the team score. It’s about individual scores. That’s what’s going to get you to postseason. We’re really excited to have put up a really good score and improving on our own performance.”
However, she admits that being able to accomplish both goals by winning as a team thanks to a culmination of numerous outstanding performances is the cherry on top.”
“Seeing it pay off and seeing us getting the first one of the season because we make those corrections and not because the other team did bad,” Boggasch said. “We just made the corrections that we were focusing on and having that payoff is so special and hopefully will be the motivator for the second half (of the season).”