Feb. 12, 2014
Utah State at No. 13 Oregon State with No. 16 Boise State & Seattle Pacific Gill Coliseum (9,604) Corvallis, Oregon Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 - 7 p.m. (MT)
ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Utah State gymnastics is set to conclude its month-long roadswing Saturday in a quad-meet at Oregon State. The Aggies will take on the 13th-ranked Beavers, No. 16 Boise State and Seattle Pacific.
TUNING IN -Score updates will be available through the Aggies' social media outlets, but live scoring and a free video feed of the meet will also be available. Links to Oregon State's meet information will be posted on the Utah State Athletics website.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION - By Saturday's meet, Oregon State will have been away from the floor of competition for nearly two weeks after their last scheduled meet was cancelled due to bad weather. The last time out, the Beavers topped Stanford at home, notching a season-high 197.100 to the 195.750 earned by the Cardinal. OSU is 4-1 on the season, averaging a score of 196.088. Junior Chelsea Tang leads the 13th-ranked Beavers as the only active all-arounder, averaging a 39.231 on the season. Utah State has faced Oregon State several times in the past, with OSU leading the all-time series, 16-1.
As former Western Athletic Conference schools and new Mountain Rim alliance members, Boise State is a familiar foe for the Aggies. The Broncos have had a strong season so far, climbing the record books. The Broncos are 8-2 on the season, averaging a score of 195.720. The 16th-ranked Broncos are coming off a first-place finish at last weekend's Chicago Style Invite, where they topped North Carolina, Bowling Green and Illinios-Chicago with a season-high 196.325. In the all-time series, Utah State holds the edge, 54-32.
Seattle Pacific is the only team Utah State has already competed against this season as the two met in a tri-meet at Air Force. The Division II Falcons are 1-5 on the season, averaging a score of 191.465. The team is coming off a dual meet against Sacramento State where they narrowly fell, 192.675-192.450. USU leads the all-time series against Seattle Pacific, 8-0.
ALL IN THE FAMILY - This weekend's meet will feature not one, but two gymnasts bearing the Aufiero name. Breyanna Aufiero is a redshirt sophomore on the USU team, while her sister Erika is a sophomore on the Oregon State squad. Between the sisters, all four events of a meet have been covered this season. Erika competes on vault and bars for the Beavers, averaging 9.725 and 9.825, respectively. On the Aggie side, Breyanna has participated on both beam and floor so far this season, averaging 9.442 and 9.392 on each.
THE TOP 100 CLUB - With the success the team has seen this season, three Aggies are currently representing the Utah State program in the Top 100 nationally, reported by Troester/Gym Info. Sophomore Miranda Kerr is leading the team on vault, earning an average score of 9.813 to be ranked 98th. On floor, freshman Bailey McIntire is tied for 74th, averaging a 9.817. Junior Sarah Landes and McIntire are among the top all-arounders in the country, ranked 76th and 97th, respectively. Landes is averaging 38.750 with a season-high of 39.175. McIntire will be back in the all-around this weekend after sitting out on beam the last two meets. She has averaged a 38.431 on the season, with a season-best of 38.800.
THE LAST TIME OUT - With similar scores all the way around, the results for Utah State gymnastics came down to the end in a dual-meet at BYU Friday night, as the Cougars edged the Aggies 194.900-194.350 to split the season series.
Utah State notched a 48.825 on vault, 48.675 on bars, 48.000 on beam and a season-high 48.850 on floor, contributing to the 194.350 total. BYU finished with an overall score of 194.900, landing a 49.150 on vault, 48.475 on bars, 47.975 on beam and 49.300 on floor.
Junior Sarah Landes was the only Aggie to compete in the all-around Friday night, finishing second with a season-best 39.175. She tied for fourth on vault with a 9.800, tied for first on bars with a 9.825, tied for third on beam with a 9.775 and finished seventh on floor with a 9.775. BYU's Raquel Willman-Hatch claimed the all-around title with a 39.225, while the Cougars Makenzie Johnson finished third with a 39.225.
In addition to Landes' finishes, the Aggies were well-represented in the top five scores of each event. On vault, Landes and sophomore Jillian Chappel were part of a three-way tie for fourth-place, notching a 9.800. Freshmen Bailey McIntire and Keri Peel shared the fifth-place spot on bars with a 9.725, while McInitre also tied for second on floor with a 9.850. Sophomore Stefanie Daley matched Landes score on beam to tie for third.
DALEY'S GRAND RETURN - Utah State sophomore Stefanie Daley will return to her roots with Saturday's meet. The beam specialist and Springfield, Ore. native spent her first year as a collegiate gymnast at Oregon State. Daley was also club teammates with Oregon State junior Chelsea Tang, competing at the National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics in Eugene, Ore.
BY THE NUMBERS - Utah State was picked fifth in the unofficial Mountain Rim Conference preseason Coaches' poll. Utah State is at No. 36 in the Troester/GymInfo rankings for the second week in a row, it's highest ranking since the week of Jan. 16, 2012. Oregon State is No. 13, averaging 196.088 on the season. The Broncos are at No. 16 with an average of 195.720, while Seattle Pacific is ranked 54th with a 191.465 average.
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 - MRGC standings were shaken up this weekend with Boise State jumping to the first-place spot. Denver is ranked second while the Aggies dropped to third. BYU is in fourth-place with Southern Utah rounding things out in fifth. Aside from the fourth-place spot on bars (48.604), USU is in fifth on each event with an average score of 48.921 on vault, 47.813 on beam and 48.508 on floor.
On an individual basis, three Aggies remain in the top 10 on events. Sophomore Miranda Kerr is currently eighth on vault (9.813), sophomore Stefanie Daley is ninth on beam (9.733) and freshman Bailey McIntire is third on floor (9.817). In the all-around, junior Sarah Landes is seventh (38.750), just ahead of McIntire who is eighth (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 (10), Oregon State (13), Boise State (16) and Denver (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. 26, San José State at No. 28, Southern Utah at No. 30, while the Aggies hold the No. 36 spot.
UP NEXT - After a long month on the road, the Aggies will return to the comfort of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for a four-week homestand. The team will first welcome No. 18 Denver to Logan on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. The meet will be the annual Think Pink Night where the Aggies will join schools across the country to raise breast cancer awareness.
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. Junior Sarah Landes has notched on all-around win and tied for first on bars at BYU (9.825). Senior Paige Jones has one win, claiming the vault title at UC Davis with a career-best 9.925.
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.
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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