LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State gymnast Madison Ward was named the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending on Sunday, March 19, it was announced Monday. The award is voted on by a state-wide media panel.
It is the fourth time this year and fourth time in Ward’s career that she has been named USU’s student-athlete of the week.
The sophomore from Rexburg, Idaho, earned first-team all-Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference honors on both vault and floor as Utah State place second with a 196.100 in the league championships last Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Ward tied for first on floor with a career-high-tying 9.900 and tied for third on vault with a 9.800. She also tied for 17th on bars with a 9.750. The Aggies’ 196.100 was their third-highest team total of the season, including its best-ever score in a conference championship. It was also its fifth-best home score in school history and the ninth-best overall.
The second-place finish was Utah State’s best placing at a conference championship meet since 2005, when the Aggies captured the WAC crown.
Ward has now captured a team-leading 11 individual titles, including eight on floor. She ranks first in the MRGC, tied for fourth in the North Central Region and tied for 29th nationally on floor with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.900. She is currently averaging 9.875 on the event, which ranks second all-time in school history behind Liesel Kohler (9.877 in 2004).
Ward, who has placed in the top three a team-leading 19 times throughout the season, and the Aggies have qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships a fourth consecutive time.
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.
Nominees from other sports for USU Student-Athlete of the Week included:
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL – Freshman forward Shannon Dufficy (Preston, Victoria, Australia) recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds in Utah State’s 64-57 Women's Basketball Invitational road loss at Idaho last week. Against the Vandals, Dufficy shot 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from the field and 40.0 percent (2-of-5) from the 3-point line.
SOFTBALL – Junior catcher Brina Buttacavoli (Marysville, Calif.) led Utah State to a 2-1 Mountain West home record last weekend against UNLV with a 10-2 win and a 6-2 win, before dropping the series finale 8-5. In the first game of the series, Buttacavoli went 3-for-3 at the plate, including one double and one home run as she had four RBIs to go along with one defensive putout. Buttacavoli went 0-for-3 in the second game of the series, but had four putouts and one assist. In the series finale, Buttacavoli was 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, while scoring one run. She added five putouts and one assist. On the week, Buttacavoli hit .556 (5-of-9) with three doubles and one home run, to go along with two runs scored and four RBIs. She was also second on the team defensively with 10 putouts and three assists.
MEN’S TENNIS – Junior Jaime Barajas (Woodland Hills, Calif.) posted a perfect 4-0 record last weekend in singles and doubles to lead No. 49 Utah State to a pair of home wins against Pacific (4-0) and Idaho (7-0). Against the Tigers, Barajas teamed up with junior Andrew Nakajima for a 6-3 win at the third position to clinch the doubles point. Then, Barajas swept his opponent at the No. 2 spot (6-3, 6-3) to clinch the match. Against the Vandals, Barajas and Nakajima again clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win at the second position. Then, Barajas finished the day with a three-sets win at the No. 1 spot (6-4, 6-7 (7), 10-6).
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD – Redshirt freshman Sindri Gudmundsson (Kopavogur, Iceland) won the javelin title and set a school record with a throw of 72.24m (237-0) last weekend at the UC Irvine-hosted Spring Break Collegiate Classic in his first collegiate meet. Gudmundsson's mark ranks first in the Mountain West and third in the nation this season.
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD – Senior Mia Estes (Anaconda, Mont.) won the javelin last weekend at the UC Irvine-hosted Spring Break Collegiate Classic with a throw of 47.93m (157-3), a mark that ranks first in the Mountain West and 15th in the nation this season.
2016-17 Utah State Athlete of the Week Winners
Aug. 28 - Hannah Gleason, Volleyball
Sept. 4 - Devante Mays, Football
Sept. 11 - Hannah Gleason, Volleyball
Sept. 18 - Hannah Jones, Women's Tennis
Sept. 25 - Jessica Brooksby, Soccer
Oct. 2 - Dillon Maggard, Men's Cross Country
Oct. 9 - Kai Wehnelt, Men's Tennis
Oct. 16 - Dillon Maggard, Men's Cross Country
Oct. 23 - Kai Wehnelt, Men's Tennis
Oct. 30 - Dillon Maggard, Men's Cross Country
Nov. 7 - Lauren Harmon, Soccer
Nov. 14 - Dillon Maggard, Men's Cross Country
Nov. 21 - Dillon Maggard, Men's Cross Country
Nov. 28 - Eliza West, Women's Basketball
Dec. 5 - Rachel Brewster, Women's Basketball
Dec. 26 - Jalen Moore, Men's Basketball
Jan. 1 - Shannon Dufficy, Women's Basketball
Jan. 8 - Koby McEwen, Men's Basketball
Jan. 15 - Brenn Flint, Women's Track & Field
Jan. 22 - Madison Ward, Gymnastics
Jan. 29 - Samuel Serrano, Men’s Tennis
Feb. 5 - Madison Ward, Gymnastics
Feb. 12 - AJ Boully, Men’s Track & Field
Feb. 19 - Madison Ward, Gymnastics
Feb. 26 - AJ Boully, Men’s Track & Field
March 5 - Victoria Saucedo, Softball
March 12 - Dillon Maggard, Men’s Track & Field
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