San Jose, Calif. - Cassandra Harrison's near-flawless floor performance capped off a night of season- and career-highs for San Jose State women's gymnastics, as they bested Brown and Western Athletic Conference (WAC) rivals Utah State with a 2013-best 194.550.
The Spartans, who broke 194 for the first time this year, earned its first conference win, as Utah State recorded a 193.225. Brown earned a 189.900.
"I believe in the law of averages," head coach Wayne Wright said. "Every time we work out, I tell the team that we are going to hit four-for-four one time and today, we did."
The Pink Meet honoring breast cancer awareness was tightly contested between the Spartans and Aggies. After the first rotation, which saw Cassandra Harrison earn a career- and team-high 9.825, San Jose State trailed Utah State .075 point.
A lackluster turn on bars for the Spartans allowed the Aggies to maintain its lead, who had four of its gymnasts earn a 9.750 or higher on vault.
But San Jose State's beam rotation kicked its night in to high gear. Harrison, who went first on the apparatus, had a season-high 9.825 on beam. Marissa Unpingco followed her performance tying her 2013-best 9.800. Bekah Gher showed why she went to NCAA Regionals in 2011 on beam with a 9.850 showing, the meet's highest score and the best by any Spartan this year. The beam team's 48.925 was the seventh-highest in San Jose State history.
The Spartans' truly shined in their final rotation of the evening, in which floor showing earned a 9.675 or higher. Victoria Lark kicked off the final home Pink Meet of her career with a career-best 9.800. Jasmine Holmes and Alyssa Telles-Nolan, who both earned a 9.775, earned or tied career-highs. Harrison followed their matching scores with the fifth-best floor score in the program's history, a 9.900. Julia Greer closed out the floor team's evening by tying her career-high 9.850. San Jose State's 49.100 on floor was the first time this season that the team earned above a 49.000 on any apparatus.
"Floor was phenomenal tonight," said Wright. "This past week in the gym, we were trying lots of new tricks and passes. Everyone who hit floor tonight went out and hit those passes."
Competing in the all-around, Harrison's career-high 39.200 was the 13th-highest score in school history. Gher had the meet's second-highest score, a 38.800.
Wright discussed why he believes Harrison, who placed in the top three in four of five events, performed so well tonight. "She finally put one together," he said. "In meets prior to this, she has had an event that came up a little short. But tonight, she hit four-for-four."
The Spartans' 194.550 marked the first time the team broke the 194 mark this season. Wright attributes the team's improvement this season to his contingency of younger competitors.
"We have a lot of freshmen and when they first got to San Jose State, they did not know how to compete," he said. "As the season has progressed, they have learned how to keep their composure and stay focused. Gymnastics is a four-event meet. You may have trouble with one event but you have three other events to do, and the freshmen are learning that the meet is not over until the last event."
Wright attributed the team improvement to its detail-oriented approach. "Every week has gotten better and better because we have focused on the little things," he said. "When you focus on the little things, they turn in to big things and tonight, that is what happened."
San Jose State will look to maintain its momentum on Monday, February 18, when they travel up the East Bay to take on California and, for the second time in four days, Brown, at 7:00 p.m.