It is the first practice of the week with regionals on Friday. In an empty gym, seven gymnasts and three coaches are training for postseason. Six of them are on the beams practicing routines, while one event specialist is off to the side doing conditioning until her rotation.
This is the regimen for Sacramento State gymnasts after qualifying to the 2014 NCAA women’s Seattle Regional competition—taking place Friday at the University of Washington.
Junior Kalliah McCartney and redshirt freshman Jesse Williams will go for the all-around title, while senior Kailey Hansen is competing in vault, beam and floor competitions, while the others make a run for single events—freshman Julia Konner on vault, senior Kaila Kilwein on bars, junior Kayla Wonderly on beam and junior Dallas Smith on floor.
With seven out of the 19-person roster making the trip to regionals, the gymnasts are feeling confident with a team-size group to travel with.
Hansen has not missed a regional competition since transferring from Washington in 2011. During her first two years, she was a floor specialist and in 2013 she competed on the beam.
Hansen said it over the past few years it has been more of an individual effort, but with a big group of qualifiers, the team aspect is still there.
“We can basically make a team right now with the amount of people we have going and the fact that we won conference shows that we should have been going as a team too,” Hansen said.
The team is coming off a March 22 victory performance at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships, putting up a season-high 195.650 team score.
Hughes said he notices the team chemistry is a big contributing factor.
“One nice thing is how well these girls get along—this particular group,” Hughes said. “They know it’s difficult to go without a team behind you, but the fact that there are so many of them makes them feel like it.”
Along with Hansen, McCartney is the only other Hornet who is a veteran of the NCAA regionals. She participated in the past two, and placed sixth in last season’s all-around competition.
Associate head coach Randy Solorio said he has thinks McCartney and Williams have a good shot at qualifying to the NCAA National Championships as all-arounders.
“The capabilities are there,” Solorio said. “If they hit they’re just as good, if not better than the all-arounder at this meet.”
After being crowned the MPSF all-around champion and MPSF Newcomer of the Year, Williams said she is eager for her turn, but fears rotating with No. 1 Alabama, of the Southeastern Conference, might add pressure.
“I’m kind of nervous,” Williams said. “I’m rotating with Alabama and they’re one of the top teams in the nation; so it’s exciting on one hand because I get to be with the best team at regionals, but at the