LOGAN, Utah – Utah State gymnastics was picked tied for fourth in the preseason Western Athletic Conference coaches’ poll, as voted on by the six head coaches in the league and announced Wednesday by the conference office.Utah State earned 13 points, tying Sacramento State for fourth.”We had a strong finish last year by finishing third at the WAC Championships and we were picked sixth in the preseason poll last season. We hope to build off of last year’s performance and we have a talented freshmen class that will make us even better,” third-year USU head coach Jeff Richards said. “Preseason polls are fun to see where everybody is picked, but they don’t mean nearly as much as how you finish at the WAC meet. One of our goals is just get better each week as we get closer to the conference meet and contend for the conference championship.”Boise State, the 2008 and 2009 WAC champions, was selected as the favorite to win this year’s WAC title, earning the top spot with 23 points, collecting four first-place votes. Defending WAC champion Southern Utah garnered the other two top votes and finished one point behind Boise State with 22. San Jose State was in the third spot with 14 points, followed by USU and Sacramento State in a tie for fourth. Cal State Fullerton was picked sixth with five points.The 2011 Western Athletic Conference gymnastics championship will take place at the Event Center in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, March 19.Richards and the Aggies have eight letterwinners returning from last year’s squad that placed third at the WAC Championships, tying for USU’s best WAC finish in the Aggies’ five years in the league, matching the 2007 third-place finish. Utah State’s two seniors Lyndsie Boone and Jackie Dillon are also the squad’s two returning NCAA Regional participants. Junior Rebecca Holliday is USU’s lone returning all-WAC honoree from last season, earning second-team honors on both the bars and beam. The Aggies also welcome back three-time second-team all-WAC performer Nicole Simoneau, who redshirted last season. Richards and the Aggies also have six talented newcomers on the roster, who are expected to contribute right away.USU officially opens the 2011 season on Friday, Jan. 7 hosting No. 18 Southern Utah in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Friday is also Kids Night, as all kids age 14 and under get free admission.After the home-opener on Jan. 7, the Aggies will stay at home for their second meet of the season, hosting a tri-meet including BYU and No. 20 Arizona. For USU gymnastics ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the “buy/renew tickets” under the “tickets” drop down menu. Fans can follow the Aggie gymnastics program at twitter.com/USUGymnastics, or on facebook at UtahStategymnastics Aggies. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.2011 WAC GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES POLLRank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points 1. Boise State (4) 23 2. Southern Utah (2) 22 3. San Jose State 14 4. UTAH STATE 13 4. Sacramento State 13 6. Cal State Fullerton 5-USU-
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