Freshman Lauren Rice breaks career-high score at Causeway Cup meet

Patricia Carpenter

Any incoming freshman’s dream entering a Division I program is to be successful in their first year, but with little collegiate experience most cannot attain that goal.

However, Sacramento State’s gymnastics team has a freshman that has caught the attention of many this season after competing in only four meets. That new Hornet is Lauren Rice.

Gymnastics’ coach Kim Hughes said he’s proud of the great start the freshmen have had this year, but most notably Rice due to her reliable performances that have stood out to him in every meet of theirs.

“She’s been so consistent, it’s just been wonderful to see her progress each week,” Hughes said. “She hasn’t had a miss yet in our four meets and to see her scores improve every week has just been tremendous. She’s been great.”

In the women’s last meet on Friday, Rice was able to earn her highest collegiate score in the all-around by breaking the 39-point mark against causeway rival UC Davis. She started out the night with a 9.750 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.625 on beam and finished with a 9.825 on floor.

After the meet, Rice was ecstatic that they were able to beat the Aggies in front of a home crowd. She said the comfort of her supporters calmed her nerves in this competition.

“I was a little nervous knowing that it was our rivals we were going against. Since it was a home meet I was feeling great, the vibes were high and everybody was super rowdy. It made it a lot of fun, so I was excited,” she said.

Her career-high score helped her take first place in the all-around category of the meet. Rice also was able to break her bars and floor record. She holds season averages of 9.731 on vault, 9.713 on bars, 9.669 on beam, 9.763 on floor and 38.875 on all-around.

After the women’s performance in the Causeway Cup, senior Kalliah McCartney acknowledged their success. She is confident the new addition and her getting back to health will help the team break their 194-point barrier. The women’s overall average this season is a 193.994.

“We have a great team this year,” McCartney said. “We’re kind of just getting our foot in the door. We scored a high 194 [against UC Davis], but we can easily get a 195.”

Hughes said this win was essential for the team, especially since they had been experiencing numerous falls and misses this year. In their meet against UC Davis the women had two misses in different events, which used up their limit. The next miss would’ve lowered their score.

“We’ve been improving in different events every week and we’ve been trying to stay consistent,” he said.