Cook, Seawolves soar in loss to MSU
ANCHORAGE - Freshmen Morgan Cook and Sariaye Jensen delivered personal-best all-arounds Sunday to lift the Alaska Anchorage gymnastics team to easily its best performance of the season in a 195.425-192.625 loss to Michigan State at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves (3-11) also got an impressive three-event showing from sophomore Emily Petersen as they posted the sixth-best overall score in program history and their best score of 2012 by nearly two full points.
The Spartans (8-4-1) swept the two-meet series thanks to a season-high score of their own, paced by winning all-arounder Dani Levy's 38.900 total. MSU's Sarena Bumbarger earned the high score of the day with a 9.925 on balance beam.
In the home finale for UAA's four seniors, it was the Seawolves' youth that shone brightest, with Cook matching a team season-high 38.400 all-around and Jensen topping the 38-point barrier for the first time with 38.175 points.
The duo was among five Seawolves who combined for 13 career-high scores, including Cook's 9.8 on bars and 9.775 on floor, Jensen's 9.65 vault and 9.625 on floor, and freshman Paige Pirie's 9.625 on floor.
Meanwhile, Petersen had the biggest performances of the day for UAA, matching her career-high and posting UAA's best bars routine this year with a 9.775. The Indianapolis native then followed with a 9.825 on balance beam to equal the fourth-best score in program history and UAA's best in two seasons.
Among the Seawolf seniors, Kathleen Mantell continued her recent strong efforts with career-bests on bars (9.65) and beam (9.775), while Shakea Sanders earned UAA's top vault of the day with a 9.75. Kaelei Spoor recorded the Seawolves' second-best score on floor with a 9.7, and Jackie Thomas contributed to UAA's season-high 48.000 bars total with a 9.4. Thomas, a bars specialist from Colorado Springs, has now posted her best two scores of the season in the last two meets.
UAA's 192.625 total was its second-highest home score ever, trailing just the 193.000 against Kentucky in the 2009 regular-season finale. The Seawolves' beam score of 48.225 ranks fifth on the all-time school list, while the 48.000 on bars ties for 11th.
"Our whole goal was to peak for the conference meet, and that seems to be happening," said UAA head coach Paul Stoklos. "We've had some minor setbacks all season long, but we're doing a good job of overcoming those.
"Morgan is really coming through as a freshman. We're glad that she's here and that she's really settling into her gymnastics. I think the seniors - especially Shakea and Kaelei - are finally getting back to health and we could put the pressure on our competition at the conference meet."
The Seawolves are off next week before traveling to Davis, Calif., for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Mar. 24.