March 16, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - For the second meet in a row, Utah State gymnastics notched a 196.000 Sunday, finishing second in a tri-meet against No. 7 UCLA and Bowling Green State. The Bruins finished first with a 197.050, their fourth-straight score over 197. The Falcons came in third place with a 194.125.
With the score, the Aggies have secured a spot in the NCAA Regional Championships, an honor reserved for the Top 36 teams in the country. USU has not competed at Regionals as a team since 2007, though individuals have competed each season since then. Regionals are held at six sites around the United States. The location for USU's competition will be announced Monday, March 24.
Utah State notched a 49.075 on vault, a season-best 49.200 on bars, a 48.850 on beam and a 48.875 on floor. UCLA hit a 49.175 on vault, a 49.500 on bars, a 48.975 on beam and a 49.400 on floor for the 197.050 total. Bowling Green's third-place finish came with a 194.125, comprised of a 48.725 on vault, a 48.725 on bars, a 47.925 on beam and a 48.825 on floor.
"Competing at UCLA with this team was amazing. They held their own and looked great. They are composed and confident. They are steadily improving meet-to-meet and still have more yet to give," said head coach Nadalie Walsh. "This team and staff are passionate, positive and stuck together like glue."
Prior to this weekend's scores, a USU team has not scored more than 196.000 in a meet since 2004. That season, the Aggies hit that mark twice, both times being against Southern Utah. The 196.000 score ties for the seventh-best score in program history.
Junior Sarah Landes represented the Aggies in Sunday's all-around action, finishing third with a 39.250, matching her season-high. UCLA gymnasts took the top two spots with Samantha Peszek taking the title with a 39.700, while Olivia Courtney finished second with a 39.625.
UCLA nearly swept the top three positions in each event, aside from USU senior Paige Jones who tied for third on vault with a 9.850. Landes finished fourth on bars, matching her career-high with a 9.875. Sophomore Michelle Yasukochi tied for fourth on beam, with a 9.825.
The Aggies opened the meet on beam, with freshman Katie Brown leading off notching a 9.725. Junior Susie Miller landed a 9.775, while Landes notched the same score. Sophomore Stefanie Daley scored a 9.750, while Yasukochi finished the rotation with her 9.825.
USU notched a 48.850 on beam, just shy of the season-best score of 48.875.
Moving to floor, Miller opened with a 9.775, followed by Landes who landed a 9.800. Sophomore Destiny Ezell notched a 9.750, while Jones secured a 9.650. Freshman Bailey McIntire landed a 9.825, while sophomore Miranda Kerr rounded out the event with a 9.725.
Utah State maintained its second-place standing at the midpoint of the meet. The team notched a 48.875 on floor for a running total of 97.725.
The team then moved to vault, led-off by sophomore Jillian Chappel who notched a 9.750. McIntire followed, scoring a career-best 9.825. Brown landed a 9.800, followed by Landes who notched a 9.800 of her own. Jones secured a 9.850, while Kerr concluded the rotation with a 9.800.
The Aggies earned a 49.075 on vault, the fourth vault score over 49 this season. With one rotation remaining, USU had a total score of 146.800 to stay in second.
Moving to bars to wrap up the afternoon, McIntire notched a 9.825. Sophomore JoAnna Cuba followed with the same score, while Landes matched her career-high with a 9.875 and Jones secured a 9.825. Freshman Charly Belliston set a new career-best with a 9.850 to conclude the competition, giving the team a season-best total of 49.200.
Utah State will finish the 2014 regular season Saturday, March 22 in the inaugural Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship. BYU will host the event at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The meet will feature the Aggies, Cougars, Denver, Boise State and Southern Utah. Action will get underway at 1 p.m. with the meet being broadcast on BYUtv.
Fans can follow the USU Gymnastics' Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages - Twitter:@USUGymanstics, Facebook: Utah State Gymnastics and Instagram: @USUGymnastics. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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