Gymnastics finishes its season in fourth place

AJ Taylor

The Hornets gymnastics team finished fourth in the WAC Tournament this season. The team scored a 193.550 and sent freshman Kailey Hansen and senior Lissa Zamolo to the NCAA Regionals.

The Hornets exceeded preseason expectations and improved by 9.200 points.The team was predicted to finish last in the WAC tournament.

“We were strong. Our last two scores were our highest of the season. One of them, the last home meet, was in our top 10 high scores all time. It’s just that they didn’t put it together early enough,” said head coach Kim Hughes.

All-arounders Jasmine Lipka and Amanda Blauvelt were expected to participate in this season, but were hampered by injuries. Lipka suffered from mono and was kept from competing for the first three weeks. Blauvelt was out with an ankle injury.

“The scores we had in the end we could have had in the middle had those people been able to pull through. Because we were putting them in the lineup, they just couldn’t always perform at a level we needed them to,” Hughes said.

Seniors Nicole Meiller and Katie Kinser also suffered injuries. Meiller and Kinser were also held from competing.Meiller missed three meets,Kinser all but four.

Kinser performed on floor in all 11 of the Hornets’ meets last season. She scored as high as a 9.800 on floor in 2010. This season,Kinser’s highest score on floor was 9.325.

These injuries paved the way for younger gymnasts to compete at the college level. For many, it was their first time.

“The beginning of the season was rough,” Montoya said. “I think everybody was getting adjusted to it. Once we finally figured it out it made the season go a lot smoother.”

Guerrero topped out with a 9.800 on floor, Kilwein with a 9.750 on floor and Osakiwith a 9.850 on floor in the team’s last home meet.

“I don’t feel that we’re having to start over next year,” Hughes said. “I feel like we did start right now. They knew how important it was right off the bat. And most of them performed at a pretty high level for us.”

The Hornets finished strong with a 195.075 in their last home meet, their best score of the season, and one of the best in school history.

“Our class has been through a lot,” Lipka said. “Each individual had their own issues. The senior meet is when it really clicked for all of us and we all had a really good meet. To have us all finish and do our best, it was special.”

Hughes said he can appreciate the experience that the freshman class gained this season. Hansen, Guerrero, Kilwein and Osaki performed in all 11 meets, Montoya competed in eight.

“I think that they’ll come back and be a really strong part of the team next year,” Hughes said.

You can reach AJ Taylor at [email protected]