Boyce wins title at WAC championships

Marshall Hampson

The Sacramento State women’s gymnastic team placed sixth at the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday at CSU Fullerton, despite Cayla Boyce winning the beam title.

Sac State ended the meet with a score of 192.650, but Southern Utah ended up with a final score of 195.800 to win the WAC title, finishing one-tenth of a point ahead of second-place Boise State University (195.700).

Sac State placed second last year and finished ahead of Southern Utah in the Championships with a score of 195.350.

Assistant coach Jamie Donkin watched the Hornets perform inconsistently at the meet.

“We knew this was going to be a big competition and watching them pull through was very exciting,” Donkin said. “I think one of the big things was an attitude, not so much performance. They were positive and they were focused on the competition.”Even though Donkin said the Hornets maintained positive morale, the team didn’t perform well in the beginning of the meet, causing Sac State to fall behind early.

“You can’t do anything with the amount of falls we had,” Donkin said. “We obviously didn’t perform up to our level and we are a much better team than we showed in conference.”

Boyce, a beam specialist, gave Sac State its only WAC title in an event this meet with a score of 9.875. Boyce became the second Sac State woman to win the beam title and did so without practicing due to a hip flexor injury.

“I did a lot of mental imagery and getting myself ready that way,” Boyce said. “I was just hoping my leg didn’t fall off when I did my split moves.”

Boyce said she was happy she performed better than the higher ranked women to claim the beam title.

“It was pretty exciting because I was ranked third when I went in and so I just wanted to beat the first-ranked girl,” Boyce said. “So I just watched her routine out of the corner of my eye and it was beautiful. I turned to my teammate and said, “Wow, her routine was really good. She’s going to be sad when I beat her.'”

Competing in all-around, senior Eryn Stubblefield finished sixth and started off with a fall in her first event, but managed to get season-best marks in the vault (9.825) and the bars (9.8).

It was Stubblefield’s last meet with the team and said it was emotional for her.

“I went into the meet wanting to not worry about scores and just enjoy the last WAC meet for me,” Stubblefield said. “It was difficult for me since I’ve been doing gymnastics for 19 years. However, I did enjoy every second of it.”

Sac State had another standout performance in freshman Nicole Meiller, who finished eighth and helped the Hornets earn their second-best mark in the vault with a score of 48.550.

Not only did Meiller help Sac State finish a great score, but she also managed to post a career-best score of 9.825.

“I went into the meet with the goal of getting a 9.8 and I accomplished that on vault,” Meiller said. “I didn’t really have a preference on which event I got it but I was reallyhappy with the score.”

This was Meiller’s first appearance the WAC Championships and said she was unsure of the outcome when she finished.

“Your stomach is always in knots because you never know what the judges are going to do,” she said. “It’s kind of rough waiting but it turned out well.”

Sac State started playing catch-up after the vault and the bars, but could not manage to make up all the lost points before the meet was over.

“A lot of individuals stepped up and did really amazing,” Boyce said. “But there were some whose nerves kind of got to them and they had seconds of doubt that really cost us in the end. But overall, I think the team showed a lot of growth from the season.”

The WAC Championships concluded the season for most of the team, but Stubblefield, Boyce and Meiller all advanced to Saturday’s NCAA West Regional in Los Angeles.

Marshall Hampson can be reached at [email protected]