Meet Notes: Utah State Gymnastics Continues Homestand Hosting Sacramento State Friday
Feb. 26, 2014
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME - Utah State gymnastics is set for the second of four-straight home meets this weekend as it hosts Sacramento State. The Aggies welcome the Hornets to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
HAVE YOU HURD?- Friday's meet is HURD Night. In appreciation for the Utah State student section, drawings will be held between each rotation for students to win prizes provided by the HURD.
THANKING THE TEACHERS - Friday is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. Each Aggie gymnast has selected a professor or mentor who will be announced and recognized during the USU march-in at the beginning of the meet. All Utah State faculty and staff can purchase their ticket to the meet for $3.
TUNING IN - Friday's meet will be streamed live and at no cost for fans. Additionally, live scores will be available. Links to both will be posted on the Utah State Athletics website on Friday. Fans can also follow the Utah State gymnastics social media outlets for meet updates.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS RQS - At this point in the collegiate gymnastics season, all rankings and qualification scores are based on the team's Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). Each week, the RQS will be recalculated as it eliminates the season-best score while averaging the next five top scores.
The teams with the 36 best RQS numbers will qualify as a team for the NCAA Regional meets which will be held at six different locations. Additionally, five all-around competitors and one specialist from each event who are members of non-qualifying teams will be selected to compete at each Regionals meet.
LUCKY NUMBER 36 - For a team to qualify for NCAA Regionals, it needs to be in the Top 36 of the Troester/Gym Info rankings. This week, with the switch to RQS rankings, Utah State has jumped to No. 35, its highest ranking since Jan. 17, 2011. Right now, each of the five teams in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics alliance are in the Top 36. Utah State has not participated in NCAA Regionals as a team since 2007, though individual Aggies have participated each season since.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION - Sacramento State comes to Logan with a 4-11 record and an RQS of 193.445. The Hornets notched a season-best 194.900 two weeks ago in a tri-meet against California and San José State. Sacramento State is led by junior Kalliah McCartney who is averaging a 38.592 in the all-around. Kim Hughes is in his 31st year at the helm of the Sacramento State program, with Randy Solorio (26th season) and Tanya Ho (second season) as his assistants.
HISTORY AGAINST THE HORNETS - As former members of the Western Athletic Conference, Utah State and Sacramento State have a long history of competition. The Hornets lead the all-time series, 14-7. USU is 2-5 at home, 1-5 in Sacramento and 4-4 at neutral sites.
THE TOP 100 CLUB -With the success the team has seen this season, four 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 RQS of 9.820 to rank 74th, while senior Paige Jones is tied for 98th, with an RQS of 9.795. On floor, freshman Bailey McIntire is tied for 45th, with an RQS of 9.840, while Jones is tied for 94th with a 9.785 RQS. Junior Sarah Landes is among the top all-arounders nationally, ranked 49th with an RQS of 38.740.
THE LAST TIME OUT - With the second-best team score of the season and several individual bests, Utah State gymnastics fell to No. 18 Denver at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Feb. 21. With a total score of 194.650, the Aggies extended their 194-point scoring streak to six meets.
Utah State notched a 48.475 on vault, 48.900 on bars, 48.100 on beam and a season-high 49.175 on floor, contributing to the 194.650 total. Denver registered a 49.000 on vault, 49.225 on bars, 48.825 on beam and a 48.825 on floor, contributing to its winning score of 195.875.
Junior Sarah Landes represented the Aggies in the all-around competition Friday, notching a 38.900. Freshman Bailey McIntire had the only event win for the Aggies Friday night, claiming the floor title with a career-best 9.900. Senior Paige Jones tied for third on vault and bars, notching a 9.775 and 9.850, respectively, while Landes and freshman Charly Belliston tied for third on beam with scores of 9.800.
Utah State had a season-best floor performance, notching a 49.175. The Aggies swept the top three positions on floor, as McIntire took first, sophomore Miranda Kerr placed second with a 9.875 and Jones finished third with a 9.850.
BY THE NUMBERS - Utah State was picked fifth in the unofficial Mountain Rim Conference preseason Coaches' poll, while Denver was picked second. Utah State is at No. 38 in the Troester/GymInfo rankings with an average score of 193.871. Denver is No. 18, averaging 195.646 on the season.
INDEPENDENT TEAMS UNITE - When Utah State Athletics moved to the Mountain West, 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 - No. 17 Boise State continues to lead the MRGC with an 11-3 overall record and 6-1 against alliance members. At 6-7 and 2-3, Utah State is in third-place this week. The team is in fifth-place in each event except for bars where it has jumped to second.
Several Aggies are making their mark in the MRGC, with five gymnasts in the top 10 of each event. Sophomore Miranda Kerr is fifth on vault, junior Sarah Landes is in ninth on bars, freshman Charly Belliston is tied for ninth on beam and freshman Bailey McIntire is tied for second on floor. Junior Paige Jones is leaving her mark her final season, as she is tied for eighth on vault, eighth on bars and sixth on floor.
UP AGAINST THE RANKS - The majority of USU's competition this season has all garnered attention from the national Troester/GymInfo poll. UCLA (9), Oregon State (11), Stanford (12), Boise State (16), Denver (18) and Southern Utah (25) are each in the Top 25. Several others are in the Top 36, the number required to qualify for Regionals as a team. San José State, and BYU are ranked at Nos. 28 and 29, while Utah State holds the No. 35 spot.
UP NEXT - The Aggies will continue its month-long homestand next week, hosting former Western Athletic Conference rival San José State. The March 7 meet will start at 7 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. That weekend will be the annual alumni celebration. All returning Aggie gymnastics alumni will be recognized at the meet, while there will be a mixer that night and a banquet the following afternoon.
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 five. 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 and against Denver with a career-best 9.900. 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.