April 7, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah State gymnastics' three gymnasts had solid outings Saturday night at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Utah at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
"I know that we were really excited to be here, and the kids are really young," USU head coach Jeff Richards said. "Paige (Jones) was here last year, and had a little bit of a rough meet. I know she tried to recover after the first two events. I know that she wanted to shine being so close to home. It was great to see Rebecca Holliday do well. She really shined tonight, and I was really proud of her. She had a great meet. Sarah (Landes), it was exciting. Going into the last event, I couldn't even watch beam. She had a shot to be the second all-arounder to go to nationals. It just wasn't in the cards tonight."
Landes was looking like she might have a chance to go to nationals as one of the top two all-arounders not on a qualifying team, before having a wobble and fall on beam in her final event. The freshman posted 9.775's on both floor (T22nd) and vault (T19th), along with 9.700 on bars (T16th) and 9.075 on beam (T40th).
Holliday scored a 9.650 on beam (T26th), 9.575 on bars (33rd), 9.550 on floor (T35th) and 9.400 on vault (40th) for her final score of 38.175 in her last meet as an Aggie gymnast. Jones struggled in her first two events, posting an 8.700 on bars (42nd) and an 8.050 on beam (42nd), before bouncing back with a 9.200 on vault (41st) and a 9.450 floor (38th).
No. 8 Utah won the regional with a 196.825 and will be joined at nationals by No. 5 Nebraska with a 196.525.
The three USU individuals rotated with certain teams, as Holliday rotated with Iowa State, while Jones was with Minnesota and Landes was with Utah. All three Aggies got large ovations from the Utah crowd during introductions, as well as during their performances.
"I looked at it as an advantage because they are obviously an amazing team," Landes said. "So to compete with that and see them doing that, I feel like I should be doing what they are doing and getting the same scores. I really liked competing with them. They were a great team, really welcoming. By the end, I almost felt like I was part of their team. I really felt pumped up."
Holliday opened action on vault for the first rotation, while Jones and Landes had byes, and the senior notched a 9.400. For the second rotation, Holliday had a bye while Jones was on bars, posting an 8.700 while Landes was on floor, registering a 9.775.
The third rotation had Holliday on bars, where she recorded a 9.575, while Jones was on beam, logging an 8.050 and Landes was on vault, landing a 9.775, sticking her landing and tying her second-best score of the season. For the fourth rotation, Landes and Jones had byes while Holliday was on beam, registering a 9.650 and after high 10's from the Iowa State team, gave an enthusiastic fist pump to the cheering Aggie team, who made the short trip from Logan to support the USU trio and were sitting in the section just above beam.
The fifth rotation scheduled Landes on bars, posting a 9.700, while Jones logged a 9.450 on floor and Holliday had a bye. Like the third rotation, all three Aggies were in action for the sixth and final rotation, with Landes posting her 9.075 on beam, while Jones posted a 9.200. Holliday posted a 9.550 on floor in her final event as a collegiate gymnast.
Saturday was Jones' second NCAA regional, while Holliday was making her first appearance at regionals, after being an alternate last year and just missing the previous two seasons. Landes was also making her first appearance, and will join with Jones in taking the experience back to the team and practice gym to work on making it to regionals as a team next season.
Fans can follow the USU Gymnastics' Twitter and Facebook pages - Twitter: www.twitter.com/USUGymnastics and Facebook: Utah State Gymnastics. 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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