Five Utah State gymnasts qualify to NCAA regionals

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Five Utah State gymnasts have been selected to compete in the NCAA North Central Regional Championships, held on Saturday, April 2 at Denver, Colo., announced by the NCAA on Monday. Seniors Jackie Dillon and Lyndsie Boone along with freshman Rachel Vaske were selected in the all-around, while junior Nicole Simoneau qualified on both bars and beam, and freshman Paige Jones qualified on both vault and floor. Junior Rebecca Holliday was named the alternate on bars while freshman Cammi Muhr was the floor alternate. “Having five individuals qualify is about as many as you can get without the whole team going. While we’re disappointed that we’re not going as a team, we’re excited that these five individuals get to continue their seasons, especially for our two seniors, Jackie and Lyndsie, who get to extend their final seasons,” USU head coach Jeff Richards said. Utah State ended team competition at Saturday’s Western Athletic Conference Championships at San Jose, Calif., placing fifth. USU is ranked No. 47 in this week’s rankings and only the top 36 teams advance to the NCAA Regionals. This is the fourth year in a row and fifth in last six that USU did not qualify for regionals as a team, but the Aggies have sent at least three individuals in each of the last four years, and this season’s five matches 2009, but this year is the most events that USU has qualified in. “We have a nice mix of veterans and freshmen going, so it will be nice for the younger gymnasts to get some pointers and advice from the older ones. They will also bring back everything they learn to the team to help us get there as a team next year,” Richards said. This is will be Boone’s fourth regional trip after qualifying on beam as a freshman in 2008 and in the all-around the last two seasons. It is Dillon’s third regional trip, but first in the all-around after making it on bars last year and on vault in 2009. It will be Simoneau’s second trip on bars, qualifying in 2009, and first on beam. The Aggie gymnasts will be joined by six teams at the North Central Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Denver at Hamilton Gymnasium (2,500) on Saturday, April 2 at 6 p.m. (MT). Florida, No. 1 in this week’s Troester/GymInfo Women’s Gymnastics Coaches Poll, is the top seed and the field also includes No. 12 Arkansas, No. 13 Boise State, No. 19 and host Denver, No. 20 Arizona and No. 27 Brigham Young. USU will be familiar with three of the teams, having competed against WAC foe Boise State, along with Arizona and BYU during the regular season. Aggie gymnasts swept the individual at-large event specialist spots, while Dillon, Boone and Vaske will be joined by Brittany Dutton of Air Force and Christa Booman of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the all-around. Dillon, a native of Anderson, S.C. (Greenbrier HS/Hayden’s International Gymnastics Academy) has a 38.720 regional qualifying score (RQS), with a season-average of 38.423. In just her first season competing in the all-around, Dillon logged five scores of at least a 38.500 in competing in the all-around in 11 of USU’s 12 meets, including a 38.600 on Saturday at the WAC Championships, tying for seventh. Dillon’s career-high of 39.150 came in her final home meet as an Aggie in USU’s home finale against Cal State Fullerton on March 4, in helping lead USU to its first WAC win of the season. This season Dillon set new career-best marks on bars (9.825) and floor (9.850), while her 9.771 season average on floor is currently tied for the No. 15 spot in the USU record books for season averages. Boone, a Winthrop Harbor, Ill. (Zion Benton HS/Scamps Gymnastics), native, qualified with a 38.360 RQS, with a season-average of 38.463. Due to a mid-season injury, Boone saw limited action this year. Boone competed in the all-around in three of the first five meets of the season and the last three, joining Dillon in notching her career-high of 38.975 on Senior Night, for one of her three scores better than a 38.800 in those six all-around meets. On Saturday at the WAC Championships, Boone registered a 38.100, placing 11th. Boone posted career-high marks this season on both vault and bars, both 9.825’s, and was .025 shy of her beam and floor career-best marks. With a 9.738 season vault average, Boone is currently No. 16 on the Aggies’ top list. Vaske, a native of Hugo, Minn. (Mahtomedi HS/Midwest Gymnastics), posted a 38.155 RQS, registering a season average of 38.233. At the WAC Championships on Saturday, Vaske was ninth in the all-around with a 38.250. She competed in the all-around in six meets, logging a top mark of 38.625 also in the home finale vs. Cal State Fullerton. Vaske recorded at least a 38.000 in each of last five meets she competed in the all-around. She has season-averages of 9.588 on vault, 9.632 on bars, 9.361 on beam and 9.615 on floor. Simoneau, a Manchester, N.H. (Manchester Central HS/Gymnastics Village) native, qualified with a 9.835 bars RQS and a 9.710 RQS on beam. Saturday at the WAC Championships, Simoneau was tied for 15th with a 9.725 on bars and a tied for 21st on beam with a 9.650. She had a 9.765 average on bars, posting eight scores of a least a 9.800, highlighted by a season-best 9.875 in the Boise State dual. Simoneau won the bars title in seven of USU’s 12 meets. For her career, she has scored a 9.800 or higher in 33 of her 40 career meets, including 20 with at least a 9.850. Simoneau’s 9.765 bars average this season is No. 8 in school history, her third mark on the Aggies’ season list as she holds the No. 2 spot (9.822 in 2008) and No. 3 spot (9.800 in 2009). Simoneau has a 9.584 beam average with a season-high of 9.750, which she also recorded in the Boise State dual and matched at the BYU quad meet, two of her five beam scores of at least of a 9.700. Jones, a native of Smithville, Mo. (Smithville HS/Edge Gymnastics), has a 9.740 RQS on vault and a 9.775 floor RQS. On Saturday at the WAC Championships, Jones was tied for 15th on vault with a 9.725 and 34th on floor with a 9.050. She had a 9.702 season average on vault, logging a 9.700 or better in nine meets, led by a season-high 9.825 at the Sacramento State, for her first and only win of the season. Jones has a 9.644 average on floor, posting eight scores of at least a 9.700, highlighted by a season-best 9.850 set in the Boise State dual. Holliday, an Orange, Calif. (Foothill HS/South Coast Gymnastics) native, has a 9.715 bars RQS, with a season-average of 9.650. She has six postings of least a 9.700, hitting her season-high of 9.725 in four different meets. Holliday was tied for 23rd on bars at the WAC Championships with a 9.600. Her 9.650 season average on bars is just shy of USU’s top 20 mark, as the No. 20 spot is a 9.700 average. Muhr, a native of Grand Junction, Colo. (Grand Junction HS/Grand Junction Gymnastics), has a floor RQS of 9.745, with a season average of 9.663. She logged at least a 9.700 on floor in five meets, including the last three meets of the season, posting a 9.775 on Saturday at the WAC Championships to tie for 11th. Muhr registered her season-high of 9.800 twice, in the Boise State dual and the Cal State Fullerton dual. Tickets for the NCAA North Central Regional Championships are currently on sale and available through TicketMaster.com or through the Ritchie Center Box Office. Reserved seating tickets are available for $15 in the lower level and $10 in the upper level. Children and senior tickets are available for $8 in the upper level. For more information, visit www.DenverPioneers.com. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Cleveland, Ohio, April 15-17, hosted by Kent State University and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. In addition, the event winners at each regional will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier. For more information regarding the National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships, log on to www.NCAA.com. Fans can also get meet updates as well as 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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