March 24, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - With its first team bid since 2007, Utah State gymnastics will compete as the fifth seed at the NCAA Regional Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on Saturday, April 5. Action from Arkansas' Barnhill Arena will get underway at 3 p.m. (MT).
The Aggies will face No. 5 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, No. 17 Arkansas, No. 24 Arizona State and No. 34 UC Davis in the meet, as announced by the NCAA Monday. Joining the teams will be 14 individual competitors from Missouri, Texas Women's, Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State and Illinois-Chicago. The top two teams and top finishers on all events that are not on the top-two teams will advance to the 2014 NCAA Gymnastics National Championships beginning on Friday, April 18.
"The confidence for the girls is going to be through the roof. They know they can hold their own and go into that arena with those teams. We just need to keep doing what we're doing. We don't need to reinvent the wheel because what we've been doing has gotten us this far," said head coach Nadalie Walsh. "They're a great group of young ladies who have done a great job this year. I couldn't be more excited for them to get to represent Utah State on the regional stage."
The NCAA Regionals are held at six sites around the country, featuring the top 36 teams, as well as the top individuals who compete for non-qualifying teams. The top 18 teams are seeded nationally, based on RQS, and placed into the bracket. Teams 19-36 are organized into three pods (19-24, 25-30 and 31-36) and placed geographically at one of the six sites, beginning with teams 19-24 followed by teams 25-30 and then finally teams 31-36.
The last time Utah State participated at NCAA Regionals as a team was in 2007 at the Denver University site. The Aggies finished sixth in that meet with a 192.525. Overall, USU has competed at NCAA Regionals 26 times as a team.
Three current Aggies have experience on the Regional level. Senior Paige Jones will be making her fourth appearance, having competed on the individual level as an all-around competitor in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, she finished 20th with a 35.400, while notching a 38.950 to finish 11th in 2013. As a freshman in 2011, she competed on vault and floor, notching a 9.550 and 9.425, respectively. Junior Sarah Landes has competed as an all-arounder twice, finishing 12th with a 38.325 in 2012 and 11th with a 39.325 last season. Joining Landes and Jones in 2013 was sophomore Stefanie Daley who competed on beam. She finished 37th with a 9.550 at the Ohio State Regional.
The Aggies have already competed against UCLA and UC Davis this season. USU met the Bruins in a tri-meet in Los Angeles on March 16. There, the Aggies finished second with a 196.000 to UCLA's 197.075. UC Davis hosted Utah State in a quad-meet on Jan. 26, edging USU 195.875-194.400. The meeting against the Arkansas Razorbacks will be the first for Utah State. However, the Aggies do have a long history of competition against both Utah and Arizona State.
The Aggies ended the 2014 regular season Saturday at the inaugural Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships where they finished fifth with a season-best 196.075. Utah State notched a 49.150 on vault, a 49.125 on bars, a 48.625 on beam and a 49.175 on floor. Four Aggies earned all-conference accolades for their performances at the meet.
Fans can follow the USU Gymnastics' Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages - Twitter:@USUGymanstics, Facebook: Utah State Gymnastics and Instagram: @USUGymnastics. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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