Gymnastics Club hosts first meet

Members of the College Gymnastics Club include: left to right, standing, Josh Smith, Allison Valladao, Amanda Valone, Jenna Yamaguma, Alanna Pentz, Zachary Shiner, Andrew McMartin (the club's founder), and Kenneth Garges; on floor, Chloe Lee, Ryan Brenner, and Jack Anderson.

The College Gymnastics Club at UCSC hosted its first at-home meet on April 5. Called "The Banana Slug Salto," the event brought 12 men and 16 women gymnasts from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Oregon State, and San Francisco City College to compete in Santa Cruz.

The UCSC men's team took the first-place trophy, and the women took second. For some athletes on the team who had recently started gymnastics this was their first competition.

Josh Smith earned first-place medals in rings, vault, and all-around. David Allen edged past Smith on the pommel horse and high bar. Newcomer Zachary Shiner showed some serious altitude on floor to earn third place. Ryan Brenner earned fifth place on pommel horse. UCSC staff member Kenneth Garges made fourth place on high bar.

Allison Valladao earned a second-place finish on beam and floor and third on vault and uneven bars. Her consistent performance earned her first all around. Jenna Yamaguma, the Slug gymnasts' communications officer, vaulted into second and made fourth on uneven bars and third all around. Amanda Valone earned fifth place on balance beam.

Although this was the first time the UCSC club had hosted a meet, most felt it was well organized and ran smoothly. All the club's efforts since its inception just one year ago, including raising funds for gym rental, management, and judges fees, made for a well-received event.

With two women's and one men's events happening simultaneously, there was always something to watch. A local dance troop led by T. T. Hoffman performed aerial dance high above the floor to entertain the crowd while scores were tabulated. A computer glitch did make for some laughs when Pat Pope, a guy, was mistakenly awarded a medal for a women's event, but the awards were quickly corrected.

The meet was held at Santa Cruz Sports Central near campus. Prizes and chocolate banana slugs for all athletes were donated by Bay Tree Bookstore.

Information about the College Gymnastics Club and photos from the Banana Slug Salto can be found at