2014 UAA Gymnastics Season Preview
“Our freshmen really had to step into a leadership role immediately last year, and this year will be no different,” said Stoklos, who enters his 30th season as the only coach UAA has ever known. “I think our sophomore class is excited to have that year of experience under their belts and prove they can lift our program to be among the top contenders in our league for future seasons.”
Leading the way will be the team’s most veteran performer in junior Morgan Cook. The Arkansas native was an NCAA Regional all-around qualifier as a freshman in 2012 and last year earned All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors on balance beam with a 9.695 RQS.
“Morgan is an awesome three-event competitor and may be back on bars as well, giving us four potential all-arounders,” said Stoklos, who citing sophomores M’rcy Matsunami, Simone Penker and Stefany Bryan.
Matsunami burst onto the scene last year with school-record season averages in the all-around (38.539) and on bars (9.686), while earning a trip to NCAA Regionals on vault. The Nebraskan earned 10 individual victories as a rookie and was All-MPSF on vault, floor and all-around.
Meanwhile, Penker’s all-around average of 37.975 tied for 11th all-time at UAA, boosted by a season-best 38.450 score on two occasions. The Austrian is a member of her country’s national team.
Bryan, a Seattle product, excelled on bars and floor last year, helping the Seawolves set the school record for team bars average. She has added a vault and improved beam routine in the off-season.
Two more event specialists – Marie-Sophie Boggasch and Nicole Wetzel – return for their sophomore years as well.
Boggasch, from Germany, posted top-15 all-time program ranks on vault and bars last year, and Stoklos says she has the potential to be one of the strongest vaulters in Seawolf history.
Wetzel had the team’s third-best floor average (9.400) and is one of the squad’s most consistent beam workers, nailing a season-high of 9.7 last year.
With junior Sariaye Jensen and sophomore Kayli Davies set to redshirt with injuries, redshirt freshman Julia York in the team’s final returnee from 2013, and Stoklos is thrilled about her progress entering this year.
“Julia really made an amazing effort to earn a spot with her training in the off-season,” he said. “She could see regular action on both floor and vault.”
Four of UAA’s five incoming freshmen will be heavily relied upon to fill in gaps on specialty events, with all of the newcomers hailing from the West Coast.
Washington natives Kelsy Konkright and Nicole Larkin should both lend a boost to UAA on floor, while Stoklos calls hometown addition Kallie Randolph’s floor exercise of the most dynamic and fun routines he has seen. Brice Mizell, from Mill City, Ore., should compete for time on bars and add additional depth on floor.
Southern California freshman Molly Reiter also joins the squad and will redshirt.
The Seawolves will host five home meets in 2014, Jan. 24 & 26 against Temple, Feb. 16 vs. MPSF rival UC Davis, and Feb. 28/Mar. 2 against Lindenwood.
The MPSF Championships are set for Mar. 22 in Davis, Calif., with the additions of San Jose State and Sacramento State boosting the league’s membership to six teams.