USU gymnastics opens with a 194.350 at Best of Utah meet

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Utah State gymnastics opened its 2021 season on Saturday night, scoring a 194.350 at the Best of Utah Meet, featuring the Aggies, the University of Utah and Mountain Rim Gymnastic Conference-foes BYU and Southern Utah. USU finished third at the meet, trailing Utah (196.900) and BYU (195.700), but finishing ahead of Southern Utah (194.325).

“It was great to get out on the floor with the team,” Utah State head gymnastics coach Amy Smith said. “We are so fortunate that we get to compete because so many other teams got it taken away, again. We really wanted to make it a celebration tonight that we get to do this and get to be on the floor together as a team and do what we love. I thought we did that, the girls had a great time out there.”

Utah State opened the competition on floor as sophomore Rebecca Wells led the Aggies on the event with a career-best 9.775. She was followed by senior Leighton Varnadore with a 9.725 and sophomore Ariel Toomey with a 9.700. USU’s team score of 48.525 was rounded out by sophomore Maia Fishwick with a career-best 9.675, in her first-ever collegiate floor routine, and senior Mikaela Meyer with a 9.650.

The Aggies then moved to vault, scoring a 48.875 in the second rotation with Meyer leading the way with a 9.825, tying for fourth on the event. Senior Logan Varnadore, competing in her first meet since the 2019 season because of injury, finished just behind with a 9.775 and was matched by her twin sister Leighton, also with a 9.775. A pair of 9.750s from Wells and junior Grace Rojas rounded out the Aggies’ team score.

Utah State recorded its best team score of the night on bars during the third rotation, finishing with a 48.975 as the top three Aggies all scored a 9.800 or better on the event. Freshman Eve Jackson led the way in her collegiate debut, tying for second on the event with a 9.850 and was followed closely by Rojas with a 9.825 and Fishwick with a 9.800. Freshman Brianna Brooks, fresh off of her collegiate debut on vault (9.725), scored a 9.775 in her first collegiate bars routine, while sophomore Jessica Gutierrez rounded out the team score with a 9.725.

USU finished the meet on beam and was led by senior Taylor Dittmar with a 9.800 as the team finished with a 47.975 on the event. She was followed by Wells with a 9.775, as the sophomore scored a 9.750 or better on all three events she competed. 

“I felt pretty good,” Wells said after the meet. “There are still things I can improve and I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym and fix those little things and get ready for our next meet. I’ve really been working on getting my beam more consistent and it really paid off.”

Leighton Varnadore was next for the Aggies on beam with a 9.700, recording a 38.775 in the all-around to finish fifth. Brooks and sophomore Lexi Aragon rounded out the Aggies’ team score, making their collegiate debuts on the event and scoring a 9.650 and 9.050, respectively.

Utah State is back in action on Friday, Jan. 22, hosting Southern Utah in its 2021 season opener at 7 p.m., inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

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