Sept. 10, 2009
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State head gymnastics coach Jeff Richards released the Aggies' 2010 schedule, which consists of 12 meets with five at home.
USU, which is entering its fifth season in the Western Athletic Conference, will face each of its five conference foes at least once, as well as each in-state opponent at least once. The Aggies' ledger opens with three meets on the road, but closes with the final two at home.
Utah State will face four teams ranked in the top 20 of last season's final Troester/Women's Gymnastics National Poll, in No. 3 Utah, No. 7 UCLA, No. 18 Denver and No. 20 Boise State. The Aggies will also face No. 23 Central Michigan and No. 27 San Jose State.
"It will be a pretty good schedule. We'll face two teams that were ranked in the top 10, in No. 3 Utah and No. 7 UCLA, so those will be some fun meets for us, but will give the girls an idea of what we're trying to get to. We also face No. 18 Denver at the BYU tri-meet, and then face No. 20 Boise State twice. I think facing those ranked teams will give us really good competition for what we need to do and where we need to be to make it to regionals as a team, and eventually make it to nationals," Richards said.
USU has five home meets this season, something that Richards likes.
"Ideally, five is perfect. Six would be great to have, and we'd love to have six home meets in the future, but five is ideal for the regional qualifying score. You're in front of your crowd and you have them behind you. The team always loves being in front of the home crowd. It helps you and gives you that extra boost," Richards said. "It's important to score big both at home and on the road."
Utah State will host its annual Blue-White Intrasquad Meet on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. at the Health, Physical Education and Recreation building (HPER).
The Aggies' officially open the 2010 season on Friday, Jan. 15 in Mount Pleasant, Mich., taking on Central Michigan. The road trip continues east to Durham, N.H., to face New Hampshire on Sunday, Jan. 17. USU returns to the Beehive State to open WAC action against in-state foe Southern Utah on Friday, Jan. 22.
"It's always fun to travel to away meets and go somewhere new and different; it takes some stress off of having to perform in the early home meet," Richards said. "I think it's a little more stressful if you're in front of your fans in your first meet of the year because you want to look good and have that added pressure right out of the gate to perform strong. Even though we're away we want to start off strong, you just have a little bit of time to get those nerves out."
The Aggies' home-opener is Friday, Jan. 29 against defending WAC Champion Boise State.
USU will open a stretch of four straight meets against an in-state foe at BYU at Provo, Utah on Friday, Feb. 5, where the Aggies will be joined by Denver for a triangular meet. On Friday, Feb. 12, Utah State will take on Utah at Salt Lake City, before a quick turnaround between action, hosting Southern Utah on Monday, Feb. 15. That will be USU's annual "Flip and Stick for a Cure" meet to promote awareness for breast cancer. The team will wear special pink leotards and all fans wearing pink will receive free admission.
"That stretch of four meets in a row against in-state teams will be tough, especially the Friday meet at Utah and then turning around and facing Southern Utah at home the following Monday," Richards said. "That will be a real test for our team to test what kind of athletes we have and where our team is at as well as what kind of depth we have. That will be a real big test for our all-around kids."
BYU visits the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday, Feb. 19 on "Greek Night," as USU hosts the university's fraternities and sororities.
The Aggies' final two road meets of the regular-season will take them to Fullerton, Calif., to face WAC-foe Cal State Fullerton along with UCLA in a tri-meet on Friday, Feb. 26. A week later, USU will be at Boise, Idaho on Friday, March 5 in a dual vs. Boise State.
Utah State closes out the regular-season slate with a pair of conference duals, first against San Jose State on Friday, March 12 on "Club Gymnastics Night," coinciding with the local club meet at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The final home meet of the season is Friday, March 19 against Sacramento State, which will be "Girl Scout and Elementary Student Night," supporting the local Girl Scout chapter, as well as elementary schools. That will also be USU's "Senior Night," as the Aggies recognize their lone senior, Heather Heinrich.
"It will be great to close the season with two home meets; its great to have your crowd behind you. If you can be at home for your last two meets before conference, its that much more exciting. If you can perform well, it will really be a catalyst for the conference meet," Richards said. "Both of those teams, San Jose State and Sacramento State are tough. We will really have to be on our game to beat them. Right now we really don't have that depth, so it will be tough."
The 2010 WAC Championships will be Saturday, March 27 at Fullerton, Calif., hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
If it qualifies, Utah State will compete in the NCAA North Central Regional Championships, hosted by Utah at Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 10. The NCAA National Championships are Thursday-Saturday, April 22-24, at Gainsville, Fla., hosted by Florida.
Utah State finished the 2009 season 1-19 overall and 0-9 in Western Athletic Conference action, finishing sixth at the WAC Championships meet. While USU did not qualify as a team to the NCAA North Central Regional Gymnastics meet, the Aggies did send five individuals.
USU loses only one senior in Nicki Felley and the Aggies will return seven letterwinners. Utah State was ranked No. 47 in the final rankings.
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