Utah State gymnastics scores 195.150 in MRGC opener against No. 16 Boise State

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s gymnastics team opened Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (MRGC) action with a 196.625-195.150 loss to No. 16 Boise State on Friday night in front of a season-high 1,973 fans at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

“We had a solid meet. We made improvements tonight, and it was pretty solid across the board. You can’t complain about the performance,” said first-year USU head coach Amy Smith.

The Aggies (2-3, 0-1 MRGC) claimed a season high-event total on floor with a 49.075. It marks the third straight week Utah State has set a season-best score on the event.

Autumn DeHarde was a big reason why Utah State excelled on floor as the freshman from Sussex, Wis., recorded a career-high 9.925 on the event, a score that ranks tied for 10th all-time in school history.

“First of all, I just had fun,” said DeHarde, who placed first on floor and now has three event titles to her name this season. “Last week at Denver, and in our previous meets before that, I focused on landings and that kind of stuff. I just wanted to get out there and have fun today. It really paid off. I even added in a little wink at the end. It felt good. It was one of my best routines, obviously.”

DeHarde became the first Aggie since Megan Tschida in 2008 to notch a 9.925 on floor.

“She got a little sassy with her wink and we like that,” Smith said. “You have to play with the judges, play with the crowd and work it a little bit. She absolutely did that tonight, so that was fun to see her break out of her shell a little bit and do that.”

With a buzz still in the crowd, junior Madison Ward followed DeHarde on floor and closed the meet for the Aggies with a career-high-tying 9.900. It marked the seventh time in her career she has tallied a 9.900.

“I saw Autumn’s 9.925,” Ward said. “I told (assistant coach) Whitnee (Johnson), ‘I can’t let her beat me.’ But, it’s all in fun and we are competitive. It pushed me and I know it pushes the rest of the team, and I was striving to get a good score, as well.”

Utah State opened the meet on vault, where Ward claimed third place with a career-high-tying 9.850. The Aggies finished with a 48.675 on the event.

On bars, a pair of Aggies placed in the top five as Utah State notched a 48.775. Sophomore Jazmyn Estrella took fourth with a 9.825, while freshman Leighton Varnadore tied for fifth with a personal-best 9.800.

Junior Emily Briones led the Aggies to a 48.625 on beam as the junior from San Antonio, Texas, had a 9.825 to finish fourth. DeHarde added a 9.800 to earn fifth place.

“I keep telling this team that I appreciate the fact that they’re scrappy,” Smith said. “We did have a fall early on in beam, but the back end of the lineup did their job. Once again, we came out with a pretty solid score there. I just keep telling them I’d like them to not lose the scrappiness, let’s just win it and go from there. But, that is nice to have a team that can pick it up like that.”

The Aggies closed the MRGC dual meet on floor. Besides the electrifying performances from DeHarde and Ward, freshman Faith Leary tied for fourth with a 9.850.

“All around, we did pretty well and I was super proud of the team, especially on floor,” Ward said. “We just had so much fun. We weren’t worried about the scores; we were just having fun.”

Utah State opens a season-long four-meet road swing beginning on Friday, Feb. 9, at a tri meet hosted by UC Davis in Davis, Calif. The meet will feature the two Aggies, as well as Sacramento State, which USU defeated earlier this season at home.

Fans can follow the Aggie gymnastics program at twitter.com/USUGymnastics, on Facebook at Utah State Gymnastics, and on Instagram at USUGymnastics. Fans can also follow the USU athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at UtahStateAthletics.

<strong>No. 16 Boise State at Utah State – Logan, Utah – Dee Glen Smith Spectrum – Feb. 2, 2018</strong>

<strong>Team Results:</strong> Boise State – 196.625 (vault: 49.150; bars: 49.125, beam: 49.175; floor: 49.175); Utah State – 195.150 (vault: 48.675; bars: 48.775; beam: 48.625; floor: 49.075).

<strong>Vault:</strong> 1. Mary Frances Bir – BSU, 9.950; 2. Ann Stockwell – BSU, 9.875; 3. Madison Ward – USU, 9.850; 4. Tatum Bruden – BSU, 9.800; 5. Rachel Obmann – BSU, 9.775; T-6. Faith Leary – USU, 9.750; T-6. Shani Remme – BSU, 9.750; 8. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.725; T-9. Jazmyn Estrella – USU, 9.675; T-9. Elle Golison – USU, 9.657; 11. MaKayla Bullitt – USU, 9.525; 12. Sarah Means – BSU, 9.300.

<strong>Bars:</strong> 1. Shani Remme – BSU, 9.900; T-2. Courtney McGregor – BSU, 9.850; T-2. Emily Muhlenhaupt – BSU, 9.850; 4. Jazmyn Estrella – USU, 9.825; 5. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.800; 6. Sandra Collantes – BSU, 9.775; T-7. MaKayla Bullitt – USU, 9.750; T-7. Sarah Means – BSU, 9.750; 9. Madison Ward – USU, 9.725; 10. Brittany Jeppesen – USU, 9.675; 11. Ann Stockwell – BSU, 9.025.

<strong>Beam:</strong> T-1. Alex Esmerian – BSU, 9.875; T-1. Sarah Means – BSU, 9.875; T-1. Shani Remme – BSU, 9.875; 4. Emily Briones – USU, 9.825; 5. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.800; T-6. Taylor Dittmar – USU, 9.775; T-6. Isabella Amado – BSU, 9.775; T-6. Courtney McGregor – BSU, 9.775; T-9. Elle Golison – USU, 9.725; T-9. Sandra Collantes – BSU, 9.725; 11. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.500; 12. Annie Beck – USU, 9.150.

<strong>Floor:</strong> 1. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.925; T-2. Madison Ward – USU, 9.900; T-2. Sandra Collantes – BSU, 9.900; T-4. Faith Leary – USU, 9.850; T-4. Mary Frances Bir – BSU, 9.850; 6. Shani Remme – BSU, 9.825; T-7. Ann Stockwell – BSU, 9.800; T-7. Abby Webb – BSU, 9.800; 9. Courtney McGregor – BSU, 9.775; T-10. Emily Briones – USU, 9.700; T-10. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.700; 12. Elle Golison – USU, 9.650.

<strong>All-Around:</strong> 1. Shani Remme – BSU, 39.350 (vault: 9.750; bars: 9.900; beam: 9.875; floor: 9.825).

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