LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State's gymnastics team registered its highest score of the season, but came up short against No. 24 BYU in a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference dual meet, 196.200-196.100, in front of 1,708 fans on Friday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies' 196.100 is tied for the sixth-best home score in school history and the ninth-best overall.
"These last couple weeks, we've had a lot of injuries and girls that couldn't compete in their event, but this week we put everything together, and it went really well," sophomore Jazmyn Estrella said. "We always want to beat BYU, and tonight was really close. We came up short, but we got our season-high score, so we're proud of that."
Estrella was back in both the vault and bars lineup on Friday after missing the last three meets due to an injury. She placed second on bars with a career-high 9.875, helping lead the Aggies (6-7, 1-3 MRGC) to a season-high 48.925 on the event.
Faith Leary, fresh off of recording a pair of career-high scores on vault (9.775) and floor (9.900) last weekend at the Elevate The Stage meet in Toledo, Ohio, notched another personal best against BYU (8-4, 4-1 MRGC) on Friday. The freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, had a 9.900 on vault to place first on the event.
"My vault is a Yurchenko full, and I pretty much just thought about being as tight as possible and keeping my hips flat, and then the landing just came with it," Leary said.
Leary's 9.900 on vault ranks tied for ninth all-time in school history. Fellow freshman Mikaela Meyer anchored USU on the event and recorded her own personal best, a 9.875, to place second. As a team, the Aggies registered a season-high 49.100, which ranks tied for sixth all-time in program history.
"Vault was awesome. Mikaela and Faith have been working on sticking this week, so to see them just put it in play like that was amazing," said first-year Utah State head coach Amy Smith. "That just ignited everything. We got Jaz back on vault, and we got her back on bars, too. We've kind of been weathering the storm on bars, so tonight, being able to put up seven on three events and eight on beam, took the pressure off a little bit, and they were able to go out and do what they've been capable of doing. It was a lot of fun tonight."
n the third rotation, the Aggies scored a 48.950 on beam. Freshman Autumn DeHarde had a 9.850 to place third, while junior Emily Briones and freshman Leighton Varnadore each had a 9.800 to tie for fifth.
The Aggies closed the dual meet on floor, finishing with a 49.125, highlighted by junior Madison Ward's 9.875 to capture first. Leary had a 9.850 to tie for second and three other Aggies - Varnadore, Briones and sophomore Elle Golison - tied for fourth with 9.800s. For Briones and Varnadore, the 9.800 equaled their career bests.
"Tonight we put the stamp on what we are really capable of doing and it was fun to see this team see what they can really do," Smith said. "We've just been waiting to put it all together. We've had some injuries and we've had people out, but we've consistently grinded our way through it. We've had good scores before, but to get into that 196-range is great. We're so excited for the next three meets coming up."
Utah State and BYU will square off again next weekend as the Aggies head south on Friday, March 9, to compete in the Cougars' quad meet at 7 p.m. at the Smith Fieldhouse. Joining USU and BYU in Provo will be Penn State and Texas Woman's.
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. 24 BYU at Utah State - Logan, Utah - Dee Glen Smith Spectrum - March 2, 2018
Team Results: 1. BYU, 196.200 (vault: 49.025; bars: 49.175; beam: 49.050; floor: 48.950); 2. Utah State, 196.100 (vault: 49.100; bars: 48.925; beam: 48.950: floor: 49.125).
Vault: 1. Faith Leary, USU - 9.900; 2. Mikaela Meyer, USU - 9.875; 3. Avery Bennett, BYU - 9.850; T4. Madison Ward, 9.825; T4. Shannon Evans, BYU - 9.825; T7. Elle Golison, USU -9.775; 11. Jazmyn Estrella, USU - 9.725; 12. Autumn DeHarde, USU - 9.650.
Bars: 1. Brittni Hawes, BYU - 9.925; 2. Jazmyn Estrella, USU - 9.875; 3. Shannon Hortman-Evans, BYU - 9.850; T4. Abby Boden, BYU - 9.825; T4. Angel Zhong, BYU - 9.825; 6. Brittany Jeppesen, USU - 9.800; 7. Madison Ward, USU - 9.775; T8. MaKayla Bullitt, USU - 9.750; 10. Leighton Varnadore, USU - 9.725; 12. Mikaela Meyer, USU - 9.450.
Beam: 1. Natasha Marsh, BYU - 9.900; 2. Abby Boden, BYU - 9.875; 3. Autumn DeHarde, USU - 9.850; 4. Briana Pearson, BYU - 9.825; T5. Leighton Varnadore, USU - 9.800; T5. Emily Briones, USU - 9.800; T5. Cheyenne Hill, BYU - 9.800; T8. Elle Golison, USU - 9.750; T8. Taylor Dittmar, USU - 9.750; 11. McKinley Pavicic, USU - 9.400.
Floor: 1. Madison Ward, USU - 9.875; 2. Faith Leary, USU - 9.850; 3. Natasha Marsh, BYU - 9.825; T4. Leighton Varnadore, USU - 9.800; T4. Emily Briones, USU - 9.800; T4. Elle Golison, USU - 9.800; T4. Jill Van Mierlo BYU - 9.800; T4. Abbey Miner, BYU - 9.800; 11. Autumn DeHarde, USU - 9.725. All-Around: 1. Shannon Evans, BYU - 39.000 (vault: 9.825; bars: 9.850; beam: 9.650; floor: 9.675).
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