Following a Sunday meet at which it rewrote the program record books, the UC Davis women’s gymnastics team certainly put the Mountain Pacific Sport Federation on notice.
Proof of that came Tuesday when the league announced that Aggie athletes had swept the weekly awards: senior Anna Shumaker as Gymnast of the Week, sophomore Dani Judal as Specialist of the Week and redshirt freshman Katy Nogaki as Newcomer of the Week.
The announcement makes it four weekly MPSF awards for the locals already this season, as junior Lisa Wiktorski earned an honor last week.
A team co-captain from Alameda High and Pacific West Gymnastics, Shumaker crushed her previous best in the all-around with a 39.225 total in Sunday’s quad meet with Stanford, San Jose State and Utah State at The Pavilion. The all-around score, now tied for third in UCD history, was boosted by a career-best 9.850 on bars in the second rotation, plus scores of 9.825 on vault and 9.800 on floor exercise.
Judal, an alum of nearby Antelope High and Byers Gymnastics, scored a career-high 9.875 on uneven bars then followed that by tying the Aggie balance beam record of 9.900. The beam score helped UCD break a nearly 14-year-old school record on that apparatus, while her bars effort led the Aggies to a 48.950, which was third in program history.
Nogaki, a Villa Park High grad and a former teammate of eventual Olympians Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney, had sat out most of her final club season and collegiate freshman year due to a knee injury. She returned to action in 2014, and elevated her performance to a school record-tying 9.900 on vault at Sunday’s meet. Nogaki’s score helped the Aggies break the 49-point barrier (49.050) on vault for the first time in program history.
Overall, the individual records by Judal and Nogaki plus the team records by the vault and beam squads paced UCD to a fifth benchmark with its total score of 195.875.
The Aggies, who placed second to 11th-ranked Stanford on Sunday, return to The Pavilion on Friday to host Sacramento State at 7 p.m.
Conley’s big day
UCD graduate and volunteer assistant coach Kim Conley, who has made her mark internationally in the 5,000-meter run, proved last week that she can be a force at shorter distances as well.
The 2012 Olympian and competitor in last year’s IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships set a facility record in the invitational mile at The New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory in New York with a dominating time of 4 minutes, 24.54 seconds.
The event isn’t contested as much as it used to be but Conley’s mark is still one of the all-time best, ranking 24th in the world, and is the fastest among the top 40 all-time standards in the world since 2010.
“My goal was 4:24,” Conley told Race Results Weekly after the race. “I didn’t know that this was the race I was going to do it.”
Conley was a force from the start, settling into second place behind the pace-setter before taking the lead at the halfway point when the runner stepped aside and gave Conley the lead. From there, Conley set the pace and no one was able to run with her as she roared to splits of 2:10.3 for the first half-mile, 3:16.3 for three-quarters and 1:07.2 for the final 440 yards.
“What an exhibition she’s putting on,” roared the track’s public address announcer as Conley pulled away. “This is committed front-running.”
Conley explained in post-race interviews that she requested the pace-setter to go quicker than she had planned and felt committed to that pace during the middle portion of the race.
“I had to stay on it at the point (and just) try to run fast,” she said.
Conley, whose 1,500 split of 4:05.70 was also a facility record, finished well in front of Nicole Sifuentes, who was timed in 4:29.40.
Conley is a member of the Sacramento Running Association Elite team and is coached by Aggie track and field director Drew Wartenburg.