With a regional-qualifying score of 195.260, good for 34th nationally, the UC Davis women’s gymnastics team learned Monday that it is headed to the NCAA Regional in Fayetteville, Ark. on Saturday, April 5.
The Aggies, who qualified as a team for the regionals for the first time since 1998, will join No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, No. 17 Arkansas, No. 24 Arizona State and No. 30 Utah State at the 2 p.m. meet.
“This is by far the biggest moment of my coaching career,” said UCD head coach John Lavallee. “I’ve had national champions at the club level but this really is it. It has been eight years of a lot of hard work.
“I don’t want to say this is the culmination because I hope this is just the beginning of a new era for UC Davis gymnastics. A lot of student-athletes over the years have put in a lot of hard work to move everybody forward. It is incredibly gratifying to be able to take this team to the regional in two weeks.”
The top 36 teams in the country, based on RQS, are invited to one of six regionals, hosted by Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, Minnesota, Washington and Penn State.
“We’re at the University of Arkansas, an SEC school. We have the Pac-12 champions in Utah. UCLA and Arizona State are Pac-12 members. And we have the Mountain West’s Utah State,” Lavallee said. “It’s probably the hardest regional of the six. We’re out there, running with the big dogs. But we’re out there because we’ve earned that right based on our performance. It will be hugely exciting to compete in that gym with those teams.”
The Aggies have sent at least two individual at-large qualifiers to the regionals every year since 2010. This will be the third trip for senior Anna Shumaker, who advanced to the NCAA postseason on vault in 2011 and the all-around in 2013.