WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Utah State recorded a 194.150 in its season opener Saturday night in the inaugural Rio Tinto Best of Utah Gymnastics Meet in front of 6,542 fans at the Maverik Center.
The Aggies (0-3, 0-0 MRGC), who were tied for second heading into the final rotation, finished fourth behind No. 5 Utah (197.000), No. 23 BYU (195.575) and Southern Utah (194.650).
“This was an amazing event and we are so excited to be a part of it,” said third-year USU head coach Amy Smith. “To have the four Division I gymnastics teams in the state of Utah come together like this, in front of 6,000 people, is an incredible opportunity for our athletes. To be on the floor with the three other Utah teams, it is an incredible event.
“We appreciate Rio Tinto for putting it on and sponsoring and supporting gymnastics, because we are a great event. We are incredibly grateful and appreciative for the opportunity.”
Utah State recorded a 48.975 on vault in the third rotation and was tied for second place with SUU (1-3, 0-0 MRGC) at 146.500. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they had to count two falls on bars and finished with a 47.650 on the event.
The Cougars (3-1, 0-0 MRGC) recorded a 49.200 on vault in their final rotation to jump two spots from fourth place to second.
“We did great on three events,” Smith said. “Kudos to Amanda Wellick. She has done a phenomenal job with the vault team and it showed tonight. I’m super proud of her for stepping up being a first-year coach and doing what she did. I’m also proud of the athletes for getting it done.
“It’s hard, sometimes, when you are a young team and you haven’t been in that position. You start looking at the scoreboard, which I think is what kind of happened, and we got a little hyped up. We went into that last rotation and we let it get away, but I told the team afterward, ‘What we did there is not who we are on that event.’ It just goes to show how great of a team we are going to be.”
Utah State’s top event score was on vault with its 48.975. Freshman Sofi Sullivan led the Aggies on the event with a 9.850 to tie for third. Junior Autumn DeHarde and freshman Rebecca Wells each had a 9.800 to tie for 12th.
The Aggies opened their season on beam with 48.625. DeHarde tied for second with a 9.875, while Sullivan tied for fourth with a 9.850. USU moved to floor in the second rotation and tallied a 48.900 on the event. DeHarde and fellow junior Leighton Varnadore tied for sixth with matching 9.850s, and freshman Ariel Toomey tied for 14th with a 9.800.
In Utah State’s final event of the night, freshman Maia Fishwick led the Aggies with a 9.875 on bars to tie for second. Sophomore Grace Rojas tied for seventh with a 9.825.
“We started on beam and, overall, we did okay,” DeHarde said. “We had some mishaps, but we came back from that. Moving to floor and vault, we brought it back. Those two were very strong events for us, and then we kind of let it go on bars, even though we have so much more potential on that event. I’m excited to come back and do better on that event.”
BYU’s Abbey Miner won the all-around with a 39.250, while Southern Utah’s Karley McClain took second with a 39.175. Maile O’Keefe had a 39.125 to place third for the Utes (4-0, 0-0 Pac-12).
Sullivan finished fifth in the all-around with a 38.325 and Varnadore took sixth with a 38.300.
Utah State returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 18, when the Aggies travel to Provo to face BYU and No. 4 UCLA at the Marriott Center. The tri meet is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
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.
Utah State at Rio Tinto Best of Utah Meet – West Valley City, Utah – Maverik Center – Jan. 11, 2020
Team Results: 1. Utah – 197.000 (vault: 49.175, bars: 49.225, beam: 49.275, floor: 49.325); 2. BYU – 195.575 (vault: 49.200, bars: 48.700, beam: 48.475, floor: 49.200); 3. Southern Utah – 194.650 (vault: 49.050, bars: 49.250, beam: 48.150, floor: 48.200); 4. Utah State 194.150 (vault: 48.975, bars: 47.650, beam: 48.625, floor: 48.900).
Vault: 1 Sadie Miner – BYU, 9.900; 2. Cammy Hall – UU, 9.875; T3. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.850; T3. Kim Tessen – UU, 9.850; T3. Shannon Evans – BYU, 9.850; T3. Abbey Miner – BYU, 9.850; T3. Madison McBride – SUU, 9.850; T12. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.800; T12. Rebecca Wells, 9.800; T17. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.775; T21. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.750; 24. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.650.
Bars: 1. Kim Tessen – UU, 9.950; T2. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.875; T2. Cristal Isa – UU, 9.875; T2. Stephanie Tervort – SUU, 9.875; T2. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.875; T7. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.825; T20. Annie Beck – USU, 9.650; 22. Brittany Jeppesen – USU, 9.200; 23. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.100; 24. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 8.925.
Beam: 1. Abby Paulson – UU, 9.900; T2. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.875; T2. Cristal Isa – UU, 9.875; T4. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.850; T15. Taylor Dittmar – USU, 9.675; 17. Tori Loomis – USU, 9.625; T18. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.600; 23. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.050.
Floor: 1. Kim Tessen – UU, 9.900; T2. Cristal Isa – UU, 9.875; T2. Adrienne Randall – UU, 9.875; T2. Briana Pearson – BYU, 9.875; T2. Abbey Miner – BYU, 9.875; T6. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.850; T6. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.850; T14. Ariel Toomey – USU, 9.800; T19. Elle Golison – USU, 9.700; T19. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.700; 22. Hadley Hamar – USU, 9.125.
All-Around: 1. Abbey Miner – BYU, 39.250; 2. Karley McClain – SUU, 39.175; 3. Maile O’Keefe – UU, 39.125; 4. Abby Stainton – BYU, 38.775; 5. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 38.325; 6. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 38.300.