LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State’s gymnastics team looks to build off of its best meet of the season when the Aggies hit the road to compete in a quad meet hosted by BYU on Friday, March 9, at 7 p.m. at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo.
Penn State (7-5, 1-4 Big Ten) and Texas Woman’s (7-7, 5-0 MIC) will join the Aggies (6-7, 1-3 MRGC) and 21st-ranked Cougars (8-5, 4-1 MRGC) at the meet.
“We are all very pumped and ready to compete at BYU this weekend,” Utah State junior Madison Ward said. “We are more than ready to compete what we have been training this week and are eager to get another 196. We have worked very hard throughout the week and are ready to carry the momentum to do even better on Friday.”
The quad meet will be televised live on BYU TV, as well as streamed live at https://www.byutv.org/livetv. Additionally, live stats will be available on BYU’s page at statbroadcast.com, while meet updates will be provided through USU’s various social media platforms.
“We can't wait to compete this weekend for several reasons,” said first-year Utah State head coach Amy Smith. “First off, this team finally hit their stride last weekend and is chomping at the bit to get back out there and put together another awesome meet. Secondly, we get another shot at BYU. It was so close last weekend and the girls are pumped to get another crack at them.
“Much like last weekend,” Smith continued, “we are coming into this meet being seven or eight deep on each event, which takes some pressure off, but at the same time also pushes the line-ups. We are just in a really good place right now and ready to make the most out of this next opportunity.”
Utah State and BYU met last Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Cougars finished first with a 196.200, but the Aggies enjoyed their best meet of the season and recorded a season-high 196.100.
“I know we are capable of doing what we did in the Spectrum,” said sophomore Jazmyn Estrella. “We have so much more in us and competing against BYU always brings our competitiveness out.”
Estrella returned to both the vault and bars lineups last week after missing the previous three weeks with an injury. The native of Allentown, Pa., earned a career-high 9.875 on bars to place second.
“I’m so excited to be back,” Estrella said. “I love helping my team and being a part of big team scores. I was waiting a long time to compete, and last weekend was the best feeling. I expect to see another 196 from the team.”
Faith Leary was honored by the MRGC for her efforts against the Cougars. The freshman was tabbed the co-Vault Specialist of the Week, as well as the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week, after capturing the vault crown with a career-high 9.900.
Leary’s 9.900 on vault ranks tied for sixth all-time in school history and it helped Utah State register a season-high 49.100, which is tied for sixth all-time in program history. Leary also placed second on floor with a 9.850 against the Cougars. The 5-foot-3 Leary currently ranks tied for 33rd in the North Central Region and 16th in the MRGC with a 9.760 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on vault.
Utah State enters Friday’s quad meet ranked 38th nationally and eighth in the North Central Region with a 195.240 RQS. As a team, the Aggies are 42nd in the nation on vault (48.770), 46th on bars (48.640), 28th on beam (48.920) and 27th on floor (49.105).
Individually, freshman Autumn DeHarde is tied for 57th nationally on both floor (9.865 RQS) and beam (9.855). Ward is also tied for 57th in the nation on floor (9.865) and tied for 95th on vault (9.815). Junior Emily Briones is tied for 73rd on beam (9.840), freshman Mikaela Meyer is tied for 71st on vault (9.830) and Leary is tied for 75th on floor (9.855).
Utah State is 48-74-1 all-time against BYU, including 25-23 at home, 10-31-1 on the road and 13-20 at a neutral site. The Aggies have won three straight against the Cougars in Provo, including a 195.300-195.200 victory on Jan. 20, 2017.
Utah State is 1-9 all-time against Penn State, including 0-3 at home, 1-2 on the road and 0-4 at a neutral site. This is the first meeting between these two programs since April 14, 2007, when they met at the NCAA North Central Regional Championships in Denver, Colo. The Nittany Lions placed third with a 195.775, while the Aggies took sixth with a 192.525.
“I am also excited for this competition because I get to see my former athlete, Sarah Shire Brown, who is the new head coach at Penn State,” Smith said. “She is doing phenomenal things with that program and will only continue to make Penn State stronger in the future. It is going to be great to be on the floor with her tomorrow.”
Utah State is 8-3 all-time against Texas Woman’s, including 3-0 at home, 3-3 on the road and 2-0 at a neutral site. These two teams met last year at a tri meet hosted by Arizona, which the Wildcats won with a 194.025. The Aggies were second at 191.600 and the Pioneers were third at 189.500.
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. -USU-
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