LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s 24th-ranked gymnastics team opened the home portion of its schedule with a 196.650-196.225 loss to No. 19 Southern Utah in a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference dual meet in front of 1,182 fans Friday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The 196.225 recorded by the Aggies (1-3, 1-2 MRGC) is the highest home-opening score in school history, bettering the 195.675 in the 2020 home opener against Boise State.
“That’s incredible and is really cool,” said USU head coach Amy Smith. “I feel like we started off a little sleepy, we woke up in the middle of the meet and then kind of let it slip away a little bit at the end. We just weren’t quite doing our gymnastics throughout. It’s very promising, though, to get a 196 and feel like we’re better than that.
“I’m very excited about what the rest of the season’s going to hold, and I can’t wait to get back out on the floor and show the rest of the country what this team is about, because they are incredible and they’re going to do great things this year.”
Senior Mikaela Meyer shared the vault title with a season-best 9.850, while sophomore Maia Fishwick earned the title on bars with a personal-best 9.950, which is tied for third-all time in school history. Senior Autumn DeHarde made her season debut by recorded a 9.925 on beam, which is tied for eighth in school history, to capture that event title.
“It was really exciting,” Meyer said of the meet. “Honestly, I didn’t think this day would come with COVID and everything. It was great to be back in the Spectrum and have some fans in here and actually improve our score a lot from our opening meet. That’s a big improvement for us. We still have things to work on, but we’re excited.”
DeHarde now has 22 career titles, including a school-record 13 on beam.
The Aggies started on vault with a 48.850, while the Flippin’ Birds opened with a stellar 49.300 on bars. Senior Logan Varnadore and sophomore Rebecca Wells tied for fourth on the event with matching scores of 9.775.
In the second rotation, Utah State notched a 49.225 on bars, highlighted by Fishwick’s 9.950. In just the second meet of her Aggie career, freshman Eve Jackson tied for fourth with a career-high-tying 9.850. Fellow freshman Brianna Brooks tied for sixth with a personal-best 9.825, while Meyer posted a career-high 9.775 to place 10th.
“I just did my normal gymnastics that I’ve been doing every single day in the gym,” Meyer said. “I’m pretty confident going into my last season here at Utah State, so I’m really just having fun and taking in every opportunity.”
SUU notched a 48.975 on vault in the second rotation and led 98.275-98.075 at the midway point.
Utah State bounced back from its season-opening meet on beam with a 49.275, which is tied for fourth all-time in school history, while Southern Utah notched a 49.125 on floor. Following DeHarde’s 9.925, grad student Leighton Varnadore and senior Taylor Dittmar each had a 9.850 to tie for fourth. Brooks and Wells tied for seventh with personal-best scores of 9.825.
“Getting Mikaela back on bars was incredible,” Smith said. “I feel like bars kind of got it going with a bunch of stuck dismounts, and that ignited us and we carried that over to beam. Rebecca is such a solid lead-off for us. The first meet we struggled a little on beam, and we were a little bit behind, but Leighton finally got some solid training in and getting Autumn back is huge. It was just exciting to see them put in play what we’ve been working on in practice.”
The Aggies ended the meet on floor, where they notched a season-best 48.875. Wells tied for second on the event as she matched her personal best with a 9.850, while Varnadore tied for fourth with a 9.800. Sophomore Hadley Hamar recorded a career-best 9.750 on the event.
Southern Utah ended with a 49.250 on beam to record the dual-meet win.
UP NEXT: Utah State remains at home next Friday when it welcomes No. 14 BYU to the Spectrum for another MRGC dual meet, which is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
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.
No. 19 Southern Utah at No. 24 Utah State – Logan, Utah – Dee Glen Smith Spectrum – Jan. 22, 2021
Team Results: 1. Southern Utah – 196.650 (vault: 48.975, bars: 49.300, beam: 49.250, floor: 49.125); 2. Utah State – 196.225 (vault: 48.850, bars: 49.225, beam: 49.275, floor: 48.875).
Vault: T1. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.850; T1. Morgan Alfaro – SUU, 9.850; 3. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.825; T4. Logan Varnadore – USU, 9.775; T4. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.775; 8. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.750; T10. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.700; 12. Brianna Brooks – USU, 8.850.
Bars: 1. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.950; T2. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.900; T3. Mayson Bentley – SUU, 9.900; T4. Eve Jackson – USU, 9.850; T6. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.825; T6. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.825; 10. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.775; 11. Jessica Gutierrez – USU, 9.750.
Beam: 1. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.925; 2. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.900; 3. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.875; T4. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.850; T4. Taylor Dittmar – USU, 9.850; T7. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.825; T7. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.825; 12. Carley Bayles – USU, 9.650.
Floor: 1. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.875; T2. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.850; T2. Molly Jozwiakowski – SUU, 9.850; T4. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.800; 8. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.775; 9. Hadley Hamar – USU, 9.750; 10. Ariel Toomey – USU, 9.700; 11. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.475.
All-Around: 1. Karley McClain – SUU, 39.400.