Feb. 4, 2014
Utah State at BYU Smith Fieldhouse (5,000) Provo, Utah Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 - 7 p.m. (MT)
ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Utah State gymnastics continues its month-long roadswing Friday as they travel to Provo to face in-state rival BYU for the second time in three weeks. The Aggies and Cougars will compete in the Smith Fieldhouse on the campus of BYU on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
VAULTING TO NEW HEIGHTS - The Aggies have had a strong showing in the vault portion of the competition this season. In a quad-meet at UC Davis on Jan. 26, the team scored 49.275, the second-highest in program history. In that same meet, senior Paige Jones landed a career-best 9.925, tying for the fourth-best score in the USU record books. Sophomore Miranda Kerr also landed a spot in the Aggie record books that day, landing a 9.900 to tie for fifth-place in program history. The following week in a tri-meet at Air Force, the Aggies again crossed the 49-point barrier, notching a team score of 49.075. This season marks the first time the team has scored 49 points on a single event twice in one season since 2005.
The vault team is climbing the ranks with their performance, as they are currently at No. 19 in the Troester/Gym Info Rankings. Individually, sophomore Miranda Kerr is representing the Aggies in the Top 100, presently ranked 60th, averaging a vault score of 9.835.
HISTORY AGAINST THE COUGARS - As in-state rivals, the Aggies and Cougars have a long history of competition. BYU leads the all-time series, 68-40-1. Utah State's only advantage comes in the home series, leading 23-21 from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies and the Cougars have met once already this season and have one more meet scheduled at the end of the year. BYU made the trip to Logan just two weeks ago for the Aggies' home-opener on Friday, Jan. 24. Utah State came out victorious, topping BYU, 193.200-192.900 for the first win over the Cougars since 2009.
The two teams will meet in Provo again on Saturday, March 22 in the inaugural Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION - BYU has had a strong start to its season, evident by the scores, not the season record. The Cougars are averaging a score of 194.638 on the year, most recently notching a 196.425 in a second-place finish to No. 17 Denver. The Cougars' sole win of the year came in the season-opening quad-meet at Utah where they finished third over Southern Utah.
The team is led in the all-around by sophomore Makenzie Johnson, who is averaging a 39.075 and senior Raquel Willman with an average score of 38.931. Brad Cattermole has been at the helm of the BYU gymnastics program since 1988. He is assisted by his wife Dawn Cattermole and Shauna Mertz.
THE LAST TIME OUT - Season-best scores in three events gave Utah State gymnastics a 195.225 to finish first in a tri-meet against Air Force and Seattle Pacific at the U.S. Air Force Academy Saturday.
The Aggies' total score was the highest the program has seen since Feb. 23, 2007 when USU landed a 195.675 against Southern Utah. Additionally, USU crossed the 49.000 barrier on a single event for the second week in a row, making 2014 the first season with multiple 49-point events since 2005. Utah State notched a 49.075 on vault, 48.925 on bars, 48.550 on beam and a 48.675 on floor, contributing to the 195.225 total. Air Force finished second with an overall score of 192.875, landing a 48.275 on vault, 48.050 on bars, 47.900 on beam and 48.650 on floor. Seattle Pacific came in third-place with a total score of 190.225, notching a 48.450 on vault, 47.850 on bars, 45.625 on beam and 48.325 on floor.
Junior Sarah Landes represented the Aggies in the all-around competition, finishing first with a season-best 39.100. She had season-best scores in all but one event, landing a 9.800 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.750 on beam and 9.725 on floor.
The Aggies had a strong showing on the event leaderboards, claiming three of the four titles. Sophomore Miranda Kerr tied for first-place on vault with a 9.850, while sophomore McKinzey Martinez claimed the bars win with a 9.850. Freshman Bailey McIntire got her fourth event win of the season, finishing first on floor with a 9.825.
BY THE NUMBERS - Utah State was picked fifth in the unofficial Mountain Rim Conference preseason Coaches poll, while BYU was picked fourth. Utah State is at No. 36 in the Troester/GymInfo rankings, it's highest ranking since the week of Jan. 16, 2012. BYU is currently ranked at No. 27 with an average score of 194.638. In the North Central Regional rankings, USU is No. 7, while BYU is at No. 4
INDEPENDENT TEAMS UNITE - When Utah State Athletics moved to the Mountain West Conference, the gymnastics team was left without an affiliation as the sport is not sponsored by the Mountain West. Upon the departure of Utah State and San José State, the Western Athletic Conference dropped gymnastics.
The now-independent gymnastics programs of Utah State, Denver, Southern Utah, Boise State and BYU have come together to form an informal conference. The five entities will compete multiple times throughout the season and will have an end-of-year meet featuring all five teams at the end of the season. BYU will host the meet, while the gymnastics media relations contact at Southern Utah will run the administrative side of the group.
The Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship is not a formally recognized conference by the NCAA. Referring to it as such would be erroneous. Media entities are encouraged to use the term "alliance" when referring to the group as a whole. The teams are taking the necessary steps to have the conference made official for the 2015 season.
AROUND THE ALLIANCE - The Aggies maintain their first-place hold in the Mountain Rim as the only undefeated team among alliance competitors. Boise State has fallen to second-place after being dealt their first loss at Southern Utah last weekend. Denver is currently in third with a 2-1 alliance record. BYU and SUU hold the fourth and fifth-place spots, with one alliance win each.
In each event, USU's highest standing is in vault where they are third in the alliance with an average score of 48.940. The team is fourth on bars (48.590), fifth on beam (47.775) and fifth on floor (48.440). On an individual basis, three Aggie are in the top 10 on events. Sophomore Miranda Kerr is currently fourth on vault (9.835), senior Paige Jones is 10th on bars (9.760) and freshman Bailey McIntire is third on floor (9.810). In the all-around, junior Sarah Landes is fifth (38.608), just ahead of McIntire who is sixth (38.431).
UP AGAINST THE RANKS - The majority of USU's competition this season has all garnered attention from the national Troester/GymInfo poll. UCLA (9), Stanford (12), Oregon State (16), Denver (17) and Boise State (18), are each in the Top 25. Several others are in the Top 36, the number required to qualify for Regionals as a team. BYU is at No. 27, San José State at No. 30, Southern Utah at No. 31, while the Aggies hold the No. 36 spot.
UP NEXT - The Aggies are again on the road, this time in a quad-meet at No. 16 Oregon State. The team will face the Beavers, No. 18 Boise State and Seattle Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 15. Action from OSU's Gill Coliseum will get underway at 7 p.m. (MT).
LOCAL TALENT - After having just one Utah native on the roster last season, Utah State has increased that number to three. Senior Christina Nye (North Logan) has been joined by freshmen Charly Belliston (Magna) and Makayla Betz (Herriman).
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER - Freshman Bailey McIntire leads the Aggies in event wins so far this season with four. She claimed her first all-around title at Southern Utah, notching a 38.800. In her collegiate debut at Iowa, McIntire finished first on floor, landing a 9.850. In the home-opener against BYU, McIntire tied for first on floor with a 9.800, while also claiming the floor title at the Air Force Tri-Meet with a 9.825. Sophomores Miranda Kerr (vault) and McKinzey Martinez (bars) are next with two titles each, while junior Sarah Landes and senior Paige Jones each have one all-around win.
The Aggies had a season-high number of event wins against Air Force and Seattle Pacific, taking four of the five available titles. Landes earned her first win of the year with a season-best 39.100 in the all-around. Kerr tied for first-place on vault, while Martinez won the bars title, both notching a 9.850. McIntire added to her accolades with a 9.825 to win floor.
SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES - Fans can follow the USU Gymnastics' Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages - Twitter: @USUGymanstics, Facebook: Utah State Gymnastics and Instagram: @USUGymanstics. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
TICKET INFO - USU Gymnastics Tickets are available through the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu.
TURNING MORE THAN JUST CARTWHEELS - Last season, nine Aggies received academic all-WAC honors, all of whom are returning this year. Seniors Paige Jones and Christina Nye, juniors Sarah Landes and Susie Miller and sophomores JoAnna Cuba, Stefanie Daley, Hayley Sanzotti and Michelle Yasukochi all earned GPAs of 3.0 or better while competing in at least half of the season's meets. Thirteen Aggies were also honored as USU Joe E. and Elma Whitesides Scholar-Athletes, while the team was honored as a Top Three team (of less than 20 members) and as one of the most improved teams.
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