By Kavin Mistry:
The San Jose State gymnastics team hit the floor for the first time this season against a stacked lineup of Stanford, UC Berkeley, Sacramento State and UC Davis.
Despite having two nationally ranked teams on the floor with the Spartans (#10 Golden Bears and #11 Cardinal), SJSU held its own through the first three events of the evening, however had several costly errors on the bars pushed the Spartans to the bottom of the leaderboard as the competition came to an end.
The Spartans finished with an overall score of 192.600, over two points behind winners Berkley 195.325.
It was a strong start to the night for the Spartans, after a 48.675 performance of the floor lead by junior Kaitlin Won. She led all Spartan scorers on the night with a 9.825 finish on the floor, finishing tied for third overall.
The veteran Won continued to lead SJSU through its second event, scoring a 9.8 on the vault.
But the Spartans biggest performance of the night came on the bars, scoring a 48.675, good enough for second overall in the event. Several members of the team had strong showings in the event, but the highest score was given to senior Rachel Heinl, who set a career high 9.85.
It was the Spartans’ final event, the beam, that plagued their night. SJSU committed four faults and three Spartans finished with scored below 9.2.
First match nerves seemed to settle in during the final event, which is natural for a team trying to find its footing.
“We started off really strong tonight,” said Spartans head coach Wayne Wright after the competition. “We have to learn how to finish, especially on beam. I am really proud of everyone who did well tonight. We have potential and can only go up.”
It was a solid performance overall by SJSU as the Spartans begin the new season, especially considering they faced two squads ranked in the top 15 nationally.
Overall, Won and Heinl finished in the top five in three events and the team finished in the top three in two of the four events; certainly a positive the team will take moving forward as it begins the season.
This competition also gave the Spartans a chance to get a good look at Sacramento State who finished in second. The two programs will face in an individual competition on Friday in Sacramento.