Rookies help 'Wolves slay Red Dragons
ANCHORAGE - Freshman Sariaye Jensen began her Alaska Anchorage gymnastics career with an all-around victory Sunday to lead the Seawolves to a 187.950-183.800 win over SUNY Cortland in a dual meet at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
Jensen, from Henderson, Nev., scored a 37.825 all-around and took top individual honors on bars with a 9.7 as the Seawolves posted the second-best opening-day team score in program history.
Melissa Doucette, a sophomore from Rochester, N.H., finished narrowly behind her teammate with 37.755 points, tying for top honors on floor (9.65) and placing second on vault (9.7) and third on bars (9.575).
SUNY Cortland, which was also making its 2012 premiere, got individual wins from Elise Konikoff on beam (9.55) and Marissa Goodstein on vault (9.725). All-arounder Sarah Nadrowski led the Red Dragons with a 37.700 performance for third place.
Senior Kaelei Spoor was also sharp for the Seawolves as the Rome, N.Y., native tied Doucette on floor with a 9.65 and scored solidly on both vault (9.6) and beam (9.525), competing against a school she grew up just 50 miles from.
The Seawolves performed well despite losing two regulars - senior all-arounder Kathleen Mantell and sophomore three-event performer Emily Petersen - to injuries in pre-meet warm-ups. Freshman Jeanette Conrad was one of the heroes for UAA, entering the all-around lineup and contributing a 9.5 on vault and a 9.45 on bars. Fellow rookie Morgan Cook also stepped up with the team's third-best floor score at 9.475.
"I was really impressed with how our freshmen performed in the face of adversity today," said Seawolf head coach Paul Stoklos. "To have two key gymnasts go down, and then manage to come just short of 188 points, that's a solid showing. If we can get healthy, I feel good about our chances this year."
Petersen could return to the lineup when the teams meet again Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the WFSC, while Mantell is doubtful, according to UAA's training staff.
NOTES: Sunday's meet was the first-ever head-to-head meeting between UAA and Cortland in any sport ... Doucette, who performed in just five meets as a freshman due to injury, set new career-highs on vault, bars, floor and all-around ... the Seawolves' highest score in a season-opening meet came in 2005 with a 191.275 performance at the Maui Invitational.