TOLEDO, Ohio -
Utah State’s gymnastics team will conclude its season-long four-meet road swing when it competes in the Elevate The Stage meet on Friday at the SeaGate Convention Center.
The quad meet, which is slated to begin at 5 p.m. (MT), will also feature a pair of opponents the Aggies (5-4, 1-2 MRGC) have already faced in 12th-ranked Denver (10-3, 1-0 Big 12) and Bowling Green (3-6, 1-2 MAC), along with No. 6 Michigan (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten).
The meet will be streamed live at http://live.flogymnastics.com/#/event/3950-elevate-the-stage-toledo-ncaa. Meet updates will be also provided throughout the competition on Utah State’s social media platforms.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to compete on podium this weekend,” said first-year USU head coach Amy Smith. “Several components of this meet are much like the NCAA National Championships, so it will be great exposure for this young team. Additionally, this team has been looking to bust out of being good and start competing great, so I am excited to be up against some of the top teams in the country, which will elevate us to reach our high expectations.”
Elevate The Stage is a series of podium-style gymnastics meets that include both club (level 1 through level 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.
Utah State has one gymnast on its roster from the Buckeye State in freshman Faith Leary, who is from Cincinnati.
“Being back in Ohio is always great,” Leary said. “I get to see my family and it gives my friends a chance to come see me compete, as well. I love going back to my home state.”
The Aggies traveled to Toledo on Wednesday and had a practice session Thursday afternoon on the podium setup.
“I’ve never competed on podium before, so that will be fun,” Leary said. “Also, one of my best friends, Brianna Brown, is a gymnast at Michigan, so I can’t wait to see her.”
Utah State will begin Friday’s meet on beam, then rotate through floor, vault and bars.
The Aggies are currently ranked 37th nationally with an average score of 194.821. As a team, the Aggies are 39th in the nation on vault (48.736), 53rd on bars (48.271), tied for 22nd on beam (48.854) and 27th on floor (48.961).
Individually, junior Emily Briones and freshman Autumn DeHarde are both tied for 36th nationally on beam with a 9.840 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). DeHarde and fellow freshman Faith Leary are tied for 50th on floor with a 9.840 RQS.
Junior Madison Ward ranks 68th on vault (9.805) and tied for 78th on floor (9.820). Freshman Mikaela Meyer is tied for 74th nationally on vault (9.795) and freshman Taylor Dittmar is tied for 88th on beam (9.780).
Michigan is ranked sixth in the nation with an average score of 196.593. As a team, the Wolverines rank seventh on vault (49.139), seventh on bars (49.168), tied for fourth on beam (49.207) and 20th on floor (49.079).
Denver is ranked 12th nationally with an average score of 196.250. As a team, the Pioneers rank sixth in the nation on vault (49.171), tied for 23rd on bars (48.857), 13th on beam (49.054) and 12th on floor (49.168).
Bowling Green is ranked 38th in the nation with an average score of 194.739. As a team, the Falcons rank 40th nationally on vault (48.707), 38th on bars (48.564), 36th on beam (48.618) and 35th on floor (48.850).
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.
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 Spectrum.
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.
Both Denver and Bowling Green defeated the Aggies earlier this season at their respective home venues.
After being gone for a month, Utah State finally returns to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to host in-state and MRGC-rival BYU on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. The Cougars are currently ranked 18th in the nation.
Fans can follow the Aggie gymnastics program at twitter.com/USUGymnastics, on Facebook at Utah State Gymnastics, and on Instagram at USUGymnastics. Fans can also follow the USU athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at UtahStateAthletics.
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