Aggie Gymnastics Hosts In-State Foe Thunderbirds Friday In Home-Opener

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State gymnastics will host Southern Utah on Friday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. It will be the Aggies’ season and home-opener and will also be Kids Night, as all kids age 14 and under get free admission.Utah State is starting the season at home for the first time since 2005 That was also the last time that the Aggies won a conference championship, when USU won the final Western Gymnastics Conference title before joining the Western Athletics Conference in 2006. The Jan. 7 season-opener date is the earliest start to a season since 2007 when the Aggies also opened on Jan. 7. Friday is the first of four match-ups between the Aggies and Thunderbirds this season, as Utah State will also face Southern Utah on Friday, Jan. 29 at the BYU quad meet with Iowa State, then USU will go to Cedar City the next week for a dual on Friday, Feb. 4. After back-to-back meets, the teams will have a month layoff from each other before meeting up in USU’s regular-season finale back at Cedar City with a tri-meet with Iowa, which will have special meaning for USU head coach Jeff Richards, as he was an assistant at both SUU and Iowa.USU will be opening Richards’ third season at the helm of the Aggie program. Richards and the Aggies have eight letterwinners returning from last year’s squad that placed third at the WAC Championships, tying for USU’s best WAC finish in the Aggies’ five years in the league, matching the 2007 third-place finish. Utah State’s two seniors Lyndsie Boone and Jackie Dillon are also the squad’s two returning NCAA Regional participants. Junior Rebecca Holliday is USU’s lone returning all-WAC honoree from last season, earning second-team honors on both the bars and beam. The Aggies also welcome back three-time second-team all-WAC performer Nicole Simoneau, who redshirted last season. Richards and the Aggies also have six talented newcomers on the roster, who are expected to contribute right away.Southern Utah is the defending Western Athletic Conference champion and is ranked No. 20 in the preseason GymInfo/Troester Coaches Poll. The Thunderbirds are coached by former USU assistant coach Scott Bauman.Friday’s meet features Richards facing his former boss in Bauman, who is in his 20th year and was the 2010 WAC Coach of the Year, as Richards was an assistant under Bauman at SUU from 1991-98. Friday’s meet also features a match-up between a pair of head coaches leading the opposite’s alma mater, as USU’s Richards is a 1995 Southern Utah graduate while SUU’s Bauman is a 1990 graduate of Utah State.Both Richards and Bauman began their coaching careers as student assistants for Utah State legendary head coach Ray Corn, with Richards coaching from 1988-90 while Bauman was with the Aggies through his 1990 graduation. Live results for Friday’s season-opener are available by clicking on the “Live Results” link at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics. Fans can watch the meet on Friday live online by clicking on the “Watch Live” link at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics. Fans will have to register and pay a small fee to watch. After the home-opener on Jan. 7, the Aggies will stay at home for their second meet of the season, hosting a tri-meet including BYU and No. 20 Arizona. It will mark the first time that USU has hosted a tri-meet since Feb. 14, 2008, when USU hosted BYU and New Hampshire. This also marks the first time since 1999 that USU has opened a season with back-to-back home meets.For USU gymnastics ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the “buy/renew tickets” under the “tickets” drop down menu. Fans can follow the Aggie gymnastics program at twitter.com/USUGymnastics, or on facebook at UtahStategymnastics Aggies. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.-USU-

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