College Notebook: Southern Utah’s Click Freshman of the Year for WAC gymnastics

Skyview High grad helps Thunderbirds win conference title

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Gymnasts have no control over how anyone else but themselves perform during competition.

Southern Utah University gymnast Alyssa Click said reminding themselves to concentrate on their own performances was crucial as the Thunderbirds won the program’s first Western Athletic Conference championship.

“Our whole team’s goal is just to hit our events and hit each routine that we do,” said the Skyview High graduate who was named conference Freshman of the Year. “It was the same every meet. I guess in previous years, the goal was to be WAC champions.

photoAlyssa Click, Southern Utah University gymnastics.

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“It was possible, yes, but focusing on being WAC champions doesn’t mean anything — because if you have the best meet of your life and you don’t get it, then you don’t get your goal; but if you have the best meet of your life and you aren’t WAC champions, then you still hit your goals by just hitting your routines, and it all worked out.”

Click scored 9.775 on floor exercise, 9.700 on balance beam and 9.675 on uneven parallel bars at the WAC championships Saturday at Fullerton, Calif. She was part of the Thunderbirds’ team score in bars and floor.

Even after a strong season that included matching the school record with a 9.925 on bars in a March 22 meet, Click said her Freshman of the Year honor was unanticipated.

“I was completely surprised,” she said. “I think I might have known there was an award like that, but they called my name, and I was like, ‘Wait. What do I do? OK.’

“I was just so surprised. It was great, because it felt like a big thing. I didn’t even know it was there, and I got it. I was overwhelmed.”

Click only competed for Skyview as a freshman — and won a Class 4A state title in bars and honors as The Columbian’s All-Region gymnast of the year — before devoting her training to her Multnomah Athletic Club team. Gymnastics is much more competitive at the club level than in school competition — and Click was a two-time regional all-around champion and qualified for the Level 10 Junior Olympic nationals last year. She was fourth on bars, fifth on beam and 13th in the all-around.

Click said her biggest adjustment from club to collegiate competition was the crowd. While the audience at club meets was mostly parents, she now competes in front of 3,000 at home meets.

“I wasn’t used to it at all, so I didn’t really know what to do,” she said. “I just pretended it was practice, like, ‘There’s nobody here. It’s just a big arena.’ I was very nervous the first meet, but I got through it. It’s so much fun with all the fans there, because they get into every routine.”

Click would not say that bars is her best event, but she said it is definitely her favorite.

“I just grew up loving it, I guess,” she said. “I just know how to swing on bars, and it feels so natural to me.”

Floor and beam are are both challenging for Click “because I don’t do backwards tumbling, so I work around it by doing little skills that meet the requirements,” she said.

She does not compete in vault this season, but is working on improving her vault.

Her school record on bars helped SUU to a 195.95-195.35 victory over Brigham Young.

“It was just so exciting,” Click said. “When I hit the dismount, I didn’t just hit it; I stuck it — and I just felt like, ‘That was a good routine.’ I love the feeling of knowing that I just did what I can do.”

Southern Utah — which competes in the Horizon League in most sports — has been assigned to an NCAA Regional hosted by West Virginia on April 10 in Morgantown.

“Our goals are still the same: hit our routines,” Click said. “We have nothing to lose. All we have to do is go out there and do our best, and we have a possibility of going to nationals.”

Dixson, Alvarez place at Stanford

Two freshman field competitors from Clark County placed in events Friday and Saturday at the Stanford Invitational track and field meet.

Concordia’s Gabi Dixon, a homeschool graduate who competed for Battle Ground High School, placed fourth in the discus, sixth in the hammer throw and ninth in the shot put in collegiate division competition. Seattle Pacific’s Amanda Alvarez, a graduate of Columbia River High, was seventh in the triple jump.

Camas’ Gallagher notches first win

Zach Gallagher pitched six strong innings in an 8-2 Hawai’i victory over Long Beach State on March 24 Long Beach, Calif. In his second start of the season, the junior right-hander allowed a run and six hits with no walks and three strikeouts to lead the Rainbows to their fifth consecutive win at the time.

Gallagher (1-1) left the game leading 3-1 after six innings.

Briefly

• Linfield College senior decathlete Josh Lovell (Columbia River High School) broke the school record in the event Tuesday at the Linfield Multi-Events meet March 23. Lovell scored 7,125 points to break the old standard of 7,113 set by former Wildcats All-American Ken Weinberg in 1992. Lovell’s twin brother Jeremy Lovell was runner-up with 6,688 points.

• Central Washington’s Lauren Hadenfeld (Evergreen High School) has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference pitcher of the week for the third time in four weeks. She was an all-tournament selection at the Tournament of Champions in Turlock, Calif.

• Yakima Valley Community College sophomore shortstop Brittany Dorn (Evergreen High School) homered in the second game of a March 15 doubleheader against Green River Community College.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or by e-mail at kurt.zimmer@columbian.com