LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s gymnastics team recorded the third-highest score in program history and the Aggies edged No. 20 Southern Utah in a Valentine’s Day dual meet, 196.525-196.450, on Friday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Competing at home for the second straight meet, Utah State (3-6, 2-4 Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference) recorded a 49 or better on each event for the first time this season. The Aggies’ 196.525 also proved to be the second-best home score in school history.
“It was incredibly exciting, but in the same breath, we see them do this every day in practice, so it was just really cool to see them finally settle in and do what we see every day,” said third-year Utah State head coach Amy Smith. “That’s what we’ve been working on, being intentional in practice and having that show up in competition, and they did a phenomenal job of that tonight.”
For the 31st-ranked Aggies, it was their first win over the Flippin’ Birds (4-5, 2-3 MRGC) since March 24, 2018, snapping a five-meet losing streak.
“It was super exciting,” said freshman Sofi Sullivan, who won the all-around with a 39.300. “I feel like how we’ve been training in the gym really translated to tonight, but we have so much more to show, and that’s really exciting.
Sullivan also tied for first on bars (career-best 9.875), tied for sixth on vault (9.800), tied for third on beam (9.850) and tied for 10th on floor (9.775). Leighton Varnadore placed second in the all-around with a 39.300. The junior from Aiken, S.C., tied for third on vault (9.825), placed 11th on bars (9.750), finished ninth on beam (9.750) and tied for third on floor (9.875).
Utah State junior Autumn DeHarde captured the beam and floor titles with a 9.925 on each event. The lone event title that didn’t go the way of the Aggies was on vault as Southern Utah’s Caitlin Kho and Morgan Alfaro each had a 9.850 to place first.
ROTATION ONE | VAULT
Utah State started with a season-high 49.000 on vault. Varnadore, along with fellow junior Mikaela Meyer, led the team with matching 9.850s to tie for third. SUU opened on bars and scored a 49.125 on bars.
“Vault went really well,” Sullivan said. “It was a really good start to the meet, and it just put the energy in play for the rest of the meet.”
“Mik nailing that vault, and then Autumn answering, there was just so much good stuff happening, and that just accelerated it,” Smith said. “We kept pushing throughout the whole meet. I’m really proud of the team and I’m really excited for what’s to come. I’m really excited about the future of this year.”
ROTATION TWO | BARS
The Aggies kept the momentum rolling on bars, recording four 9.800s or better to notch a season-high 49.100 on the event. While Sullivan led the way with her winning score of 9.875, freshman Maia Fishwick tied for third with a 9.850, sophomore Grace Rojas finished fifth with a 9.825 and freshman Jessica Gutierrez tied for sixth with a career-best 9.800. Utah State trailed 98.250-98.100 at the midway point of the meet.
ROTATION THREE | BEAM
Utah State matched its 49.100 on bars with a 49.100 on beam, highlighted by DeHarde’s personal-best-tying 9.925. The Aggies closed the event with three-straight 9.800s or better as Fishwick had a career-high 9.800 in the fourth spot to place sixth, which was followed up by DeHarde and Sullivan. Over on floor, the Flippin’ Birds finished with a 49.250 to increase their lead to 147.500-147.200.
ROTATION FOUR | FLOOR
The Aggies’ highest team score of the was on floor, where they finished the night with a season-best 49.325. Meyer tied Varnadore for third with a career-high 9.875, while freshmen Ariel Toomey and Rebecca Wells had matching 9.825s to tie for seventh, helping USU rally past SUU in thrilling fashion.
Utah State heads to Boise, Idaho, for a quad meet against MRGC-rival Boise State, along with Sacramento State and UC Davis, on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., at ExtraMile Arena.
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.
No. 20 Southern Utah at No. 31 Utah State – Logan, Utah – Dee Glen Smith Spectrum – Feb. 14, 2020
Team Results: 1. Utah State – 196.525 (vault: 49.000, bars: 49.100, beam: 49.100, floor: 49.325); 2. Southern Utah – 196.450 (vault: 49.125, bars: 49.125, beam: 48.950, floor: 49.250).
Vault: T1. Caitlin Kho – SUU, 9.850; T1. Morgan Alfaro – SUU, 9.850; T3. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.825; T3. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.825; T3. Madison McBride – SUU, 9.825; T6. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.800; T6. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.800; T11. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.750; T11. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.750.
Bars: T1. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.875; T1. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.875; T3. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.850; T3. Stephanie Tervort – SUU, 9.850; 5. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.825; T6. Jessica Gutierrez – USU, 9.800; 11. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.750; 12. Brittany Jeppesen – USU, 9.500.
Beam: 1. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.925; 2. Hannah Nipp – SUU, 9.900; T3. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.850; T3. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.850; 6. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.800; T7. Carley Bayles – USU, 9.775; 9. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.750; 11. Taylor Dittmar – USU, 9.500.
Floor: 1. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.925; 2. Madison McBride – SUU, 9.900; T3. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.875; T3. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.875; T3. Molly Jozwiakowski – SUU, 9.875; T3. Hannah Nipp – SUU, 9.875; T7. Ariel Toomey – USU, 9.825; T7. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.825; T10. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.775.
All-Around: 1. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 39.300; 2. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 39.200.