ANCHORAGE – Paced by an impressive debut from freshman Isabelle Fox, the Alaska Anchorage gymnastics team made its 2018 season debut Friday with a 188.825-182.675 victory over Cortland at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves got a 38.375 all-around from Fox, plus a solid three-event outing for junior Kaylin Mancari as they earned a win for Tanya Ho in her collegiate head-coaching debut.
The Red Dragons, a Div. III program from New York, got an individual victory on vault from Rachel Filipski with a 9.55, while Emma Schultz tied for top honors on beam with a 9.8.
“They competed just like we’ve been practicing, so I’m really proud of that,” said Ho, who came to UAA after serving as an assistant at Sacramento State and her alma mater, UC Davis. “We do have some top competitors out with injuries right now, but the rest of the team has really stepped up and delivered some nice routines.”
UAA led 47.275-44.550 after one rotation and was never threatened, despite using the minimum five gymnasts on both uneven bars and floor exercise.
Junior Kierra Abraham paced the hosts with a 9.525 on vault, and freshman Hope Nelson made a splash with a winning 9.75 on uneven bars in her first routine. Fox and sophomore Mackenzie Miller added 9.6s on bars.
After finishing last season with the two best beam totals in program history, the Seawolves earned a 48.350 on Friday that ranked No. 17 on that list. Nelson was sharp again with a 9.8 as the Newport News, Va., native earned the best beam score ever by a Seawolf in a season-opening meet or collegiate debut. Fellow rookie Michaela Phillips tallied a 9.75 on beam in her first college routine, while Fox scored a 9.725.
Fox capped her impressive premiere with a winning 9.7 on floor exercise, and Mancari finished her team’s evening with a 9.675. Mancari also recorded a 9.625 on beam and a 9.5 on vault.
The Seawolves and Red Dragons will hook up for a rematch Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com for tickets.