April 5, 2014
An afternoon of mixed performances made for a tough competition for Utah State gymnastics at the NCAA Regional Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday afternoon, where the fifth-seeded Aggies finished sixth with a score of 191.875.
With the top seed and the fifth-place rank nationally, the University of Utah won Saturday's meet with a 197.300. No. 8 UCLA finished second with a 196.600, just ahead of host No. 17 Arkansas who notched a 196.025. No. 24 Arizona State finished fourth with a 194.425, while No. 34 UC Davis finished fifth with a 193.725.
With their finishes, Utah and UCLA will advance to the NCAA Championships scheduled for April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala.
Utah State notched a 48.725 on vault, 46.300 on bars, 47.775 on beam and 49.075 on floor.
Freshman Bailey McIntire continued to show power and consistency in her floor routine, notching a 9.875, putting her in a three-way tie for fourth-place. Additionally, she and junior Sarah Landes were part of a five-way tie for sixth on vault as they each notched a 9.800. Sophomore Michelle Yasukochi finished seventh on beam, notching a 9.775.
Landes was the sole all-around competitor for the Aggies as she finished eighth with a 38.350. UCLA's Samantha Peszek won the all-around with a 39.700.
With a different bars set-up than the team was adjusted to, the opening rotation was a tough one for the Aggies. Landes had the top score for Utah State on that event, notching a 9.500. The team scored a season-low 46.300 on the event.
"I wasn't the least bit upset or disappointed. I'm proud of how they hung in there and fought their way through it. They picked it up on each event and finished strong. They're Aggies and they fight," said head coach Nadalie Walsh. "The experience they are going to have for next year is priceless. It's not going to be new again. Anytime something is not new, you're better at it."
It was an uphill battle as the Aggies moved to beam. Freshman Katie Brown opened with a 9.425, while freshman Charly Belliston notched a 9.675. Junior Susie Miller earned a 9.075, followed by Landes who notched a 9.250. Sophomore Stefanie Daley earned a 9.650, while sophomore Yasukochi wrapped up the rotation with a 9.775. Overall, USU notched a team beam score of 47.775, for a total of 94.075 at the mid-point of their competition.
The Aggies sat out the third rotation on a bye before moving to floor for the fourth rotation where things started to look up. Miller started the event with a 9.825, while Landes landed a 9.800. Sophomore Destiny Ezell notched a 9.725, followed by senior Paige Jones who hit a 9.850. McIntire secured a 9.875, while sophomore Miranda Kerr concluded the event with a 9.050. With one event left, the Aggies had a total score of 143.150, having notched a 49.075 on floor.
With one event and two rotations to go, Utah State moved to vault. Sophomore Jillian Chappel landed a 9.750, followed by McIntire who notched a 9.800. Brown landed a 9.700, while Landes hit a 9.800. Jones gave the last performance of her collegiate career, notching a 9.650 and Kerr finished with a 9.675. The Aggies scored a 48.725 on vault before sitting out the final rotation of the meet.
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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