Playing second fiddle

SPU finishes in second place on two separate occasions on their Missouri road trip

Kyle Morrison, Staff Writer

a gymnast poses while standing on a balance beam
Jacky Chen
Junior Haven Lanzador, using her upper body to balance her landing during a meet against the University of Alaska Anchorage and Sacramento State University on Jan. 31.

As Valentine’s Day weekend came to Seattle Pacific University, many students found fun and creative ways to enjoy the holiday with their friends and significant others. For the SPU gymnastics team, this meant taking a four hour flight to St. Charles, Missouri where they would get to compete against other teams in the United States of America Gymnastics conference. 


For the Falcons, this trip was a pivotal opportunity to match up against important teams in their division. The Falcons came into Friday ranked seventh in the nation and, with only the top eight teams in the USAG allowed to move on to nationals, every meet from here on out matters. 


On Friday, the Falcons took part in the Gymquarters Invitational, which featured Southeast Missouri State University, who are only one spot behind the Falcons in the USAG coming into Friday, as well as Centenary College which was ranked last in the conference.


Unfortunately, the Falcons lost to the Redhawks 193.535-192.675, jeopardizing their spot in the rankings. Southeastern Missouri State was led by all around scorers Dahlia Sorazano-Coruso and Anna Kaziska who scored 38.50 and 37.675 respectively. 


Despite the team loss, Darian Burns won the all around title with a score of 38.875, providing a bright spot on Valentine’s Day. Going into Sunday, the Falcons tried to put Friday night behind them. 


On Sunday night, the Falcons went up against three teams, two of which are critical for the USAG rankings. Lindenwood currently holds the top spot in the USAG and facing them provided SPU with a good measuring stick for how far they need to go the rest of the season. Last place Centenary was also there for another shot at making their Missouri trip a little brighter. 


The Falcons got beat handily by Lindenwood; they were outscored 194.475 to 191.425. Darian Burns won both the vault and the bars outright with scores of 9.825 and 9.8, and shared the title for floor with Gayla Griswold of Lindenwood at 9.825. Despite three wins, Darian Burns finished third in the overall standings due to a disappointing beam performance that was scored 9.225. 


The Falcons had their third and fifth best team scores of the season, and managed to take second place in enemy territory. They will likely retain their nationals standing, expecting to be ranked seventh or eighth when the new batch of rankings comes out. But the Falcons went into Missouri and lost to a team they are competing hard with for nationals placing, and got whooped by Lindenwood who was supposed to be a gauge on the Falcons title hopes. The only team they beat from their division all weekend was Centenary, who is the last place team in the USAG.


Despite the fragility of the nationals race, the Falcons gymnastics team is hanging together down the stretch. “The weekend went ok, Sunday was not close to what our best performance can look like and Friday night was not either.” Said standout senior Darian Burns. “I think as a team we are doing a really good job always staying together… the confidence we have in ourselves is undoubted and we are still growing.”


Junior Kylie Reese acknowledged the tough weekend with a positive eye toward the future, saying, “we were a little disappointed in the weekend, but we fought through every routine and still got two decent scores … we are barely holding on to seventh (in the national rankings) but hopefully after this home meet we will push up in the rankings.”


The Falcons will have to get ready for a big matchup against division one San Jose State University Friday night at Royal Brougham Pavilion.