Bridgeport, Conn.-For the fourth straight season, the University of Bridgeport women's gymnastics team has captured the Unites States Gymnastics Association Collegiate Team Title, as the Purple Knights won three of the four events to score a total of 195.575 points to top second place Texas Woman's University (193.700 points), third place the University of Pennsylvania (193.475) and fourth place Air Force Academy (191.075). Friday's USAG Team Finals were held in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 1.619 fans at the Webster Bank Arena.
Bridgeport and Texas Woman's University, from 1993 to 1996, are the only institutions to have won four consecutive USAG Women's Collegiate Team Titles. This is the 21st championship in gymnastics for UB, which won two United States Gymnastics Federation New England Regional titles in 1989 and 1990 and 15 ECAC Division II Championships between 1985-2012.
The Purple Knights started their championship evening with the floor exercise, and Bridgeport got off to a fast start tying their season's team high in the event at 49.425. Junior Monica Mesalles Sallares (Barcelona, Spain) of Bridgeport won the event as she set a team record with a score of 9.950. Teammate Sasha Tsikhanovich (Marysville, Ohio) tied second on the floor with Kristen Edwards of Texas Woman's with a score of 9.900.
UB also won the vault with a score of 49.00 and the beam with a total of 49.025. Penn won the bars with a score of 48.300.
On the vault, Bridgeport's Mesalles Sallares took first place with a score of 9.925 (tied the UB school record). TWU's Kayla James was second with a score of 9.850 and Bridgeport's Kamri Riles (So., Ellenwood, Ga.) and Jessica Wallander of Air Force tied for third with a score of 9.825.
On the bars, sophomore Lissette La Fex (Diamond Bar, Calif.) and Dana Bonincontri of Penn tied for first place at 9.800. Kirsten Strausbaugh of Penn grabbed third place on bars with a score of 9.775.
On the balance beam, Bridgeport went one, two, three as senior Emily Repko (Gilbetsville, Pa.) won the went with a school record total of 9..925, followed by Monica Mesalles Sallares at 9.990 and Sasha Tsikhanovich at 9.800.
Bridgeport head coach Byron Knox was named USAG Coach of the Year.
Action concludes in the 2012 USAG Women's Collegiate National Championship on Saturday with the individual event finals which will take place on in Hubbell Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Bridgeport.