MEET NOTES: Utah State Gymnastics to Close Season-Long Road Stretch at Elevate The Stage
Feb. 20, 2018

Meet Notes

Utah State will wrap up its season-long four-meet road swing when it competes in the Elevate The Stage meet on Friday, Feb. 23, at the SeaGate Centre in Toledo, Ohio. The quad meet, which is slated to begin at 5 p.m. (MT), will also feature a pair of opponents the Aggies have already faced in 12th-ranked Denver and Bowling Green, along with No. 6 Michigan.

Elevate The Stage is a series of podium-style gymnastics meets that include both club (level 1 through 10 plus Xcel) and NCAA competitions. One of the most enticing features of this competition is the equipment setup, including a raised podium. Podium setups, which offer a championship-style presentation, are used at major international competitions, including the Olympics and world championships.

Elevate The Stage meets give teams a rare opportunity during the regular season to prepare on the same equipment and podium setup that will be used at the NCAA Championships.

Freshman Autumn DeHarde captured the beam title and tied for second on floor as Utah State recorded a 194.900 in its Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (MRGC) dual meet against No. 15 Boise State on Feb. 16 at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

The host Broncos recorded a season-high 196.875 to win the dual meet in front of 1,662 fans.

For DeHarde, it was her third career beam title with a personal-best 9.925, a score that ranks tied for fourth all-time in school history. Earlier this season, junior Emily Briones also had a 9.925 on the event. That duo is just the eighth and ninth gymnasts in school history to go that high on beam.

Prior to beam, DeHarde was rewarded a 9.900 on floor as she tied for second on the event. The native of Sussex, Wis., also tallied a career-high 9.750 on vault.

Against the Broncos, the Aggies recorded a 48.725 on vault, 47.875 on bars, 49.200 on beam and a 49.100 on floor.

The sixth-ranked Wolverines are riding high this season with their lone loss coming at 14th-ranked Nebraska, 196.875-196.525, on Jan. 27. Since then, Michigan has won three consecutive meets, including a quad meet at North Carolina State last Saturday.

Against NCSU, North Carolina and Brown, the Wolverines were trailing the host Wolfpack by three-tenths heading into the final rotation. Michigan rallied for the victory, though, by matching the program's third-highest beam score (49.475) in school history.

Bev Plocki is in her 29th season as head coach of the Wolverines. During her tenure, Plocki has transformed the program into a consistent national powerhouse, leading Michigan to 22 Big Ten championships, three Big Ten regular season titles, 23 NCAA Championship appearances and 10 NCAA Super Six berths.

Plocki inherited the program in 1990 that had finished no better than fourth at the Big Ten in the seven seasons prior to her arrival. In 1989, the year before Plocki took over, the Wolverines finished last in the Big Ten with a 2-19 overall record and were a winless 0-13 in the Big Ten.

Former Utah State gymnast Kaitlyn Betts is in her first season as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan.

Betts received her master's degree in sport and physical education from Utah State in August of 2017. While in graduate school, she was the team manager for the Aggies, contributing as a spotter, and equipment and apparel manager. She also helped out with business operations such as practice logs, travel and meal arrangements, fundraising, alumni events and social media.

The native of Canton, Mich., competed at Utah State from 2011-15, receiving her business administration degree in 2015. She was a two-time academic all-Western Athletic Conference selection and qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships as an individual on vault as a junior and senior, while earning second-team all-WAC on vault in 2012.

As a senior at Utah State, Betts served as a student-athlete mentor and was also the vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Utah State is 2-2 all-time against Michigan, including 0-1 at home, 0-1 on the road and 2-0 at a neutral site. These two teams have not met since the 1997 campaign, a 196.800-195.550 win for the Wolverines.

This is the second go-round between the Aggies and Pioneers this season, with No. 12 Denver earning a 196.675-195.000 home victory on Jan. 27.

In its last time out, Denver placed third with a 195.975 at a tri meet hosted by BYU last Saturday in Provo, Utah. In the meet, Maddie Karr posted the second-highest all-around score in program history with a 39.750.

Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart is in her 20th season at the helm of the Pioneers. Since arriving in 1999, Kutcher-Rinehart has led Denver to 19-consecutive NCAA Regional Championship appearances and four NCAA Nationals team berths.

Kutcher-Rinehart's teams made program history with back-to-back appearances at the NCAA National Championships in 2007 and 2008. In her career, Kutcher-Rinehart has had at least one individual qualify for NCAA Nationals in 18 consecutive years--including the program's first-ever NCAA individual national champion: Nina McGee on floor exericse in 2016.

Utah State is 20-31 all-time against Denver, including 8-7 at home, 3-16 on the road and 9-8 at a neutral site. The Pioneers have won 16 straight in the series and 24 of the last 25 meetings. USU's last victory against DU came on Feb. 11, 2005, a 194.925-194.875 triumph at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

This is also the second go-round between the Aggies and Falcons this season, with Bowling Green notching a 194.825-192.975 home win in Utah State's season opener on Jan. 13.

Bowling Green opened the season with three consecutive victories, but has since lost six straight dual meets, including last Sunday's 195.650-195.025 loss at New Hampshire.

Kerrie Turner is in her 11th season at the helm of Bowling Green. She has amassed a 56-113 overall record with the Falcons.

Utah State is 2-1 all-time against Bowling Green, including 1-0 at home, 0-1 on the road and 1-0 at a neutral site.




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