LOGAN, Utah – Senior Mikaela Meyer captured Utah State’s lone event title with a career-high 9.900 on vault as the 21st-ranked Aggies lost a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference dual meet to No. 12 BYU in front of 1,476 fans at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Cougars placed first with a season-best 196.425, while the Aggies finished with a 195.175.
“It was not our best showing,” said fourth-year Utah State head coach Amy Smith. “We started out the meet trying way too hard instead of trusting the training that we’ve done. It just continued through the meet. We had a little bright spot on beam. Mikaela on vault was huge, and that was awesome to see.
“We were just kind of banging our way through it, and we never really settled in. Even with the rhythm of the meet, there was a lot of weird stuff happening. We just never got going. We will use this meet as a learning tool and be better for it.”
Meyer now has four-career vault titles under her belt. The 9.900 is tied for the eighth-best score in school history.
“It was amazing,” Utah State senior Autumn DeHarde said of Meyer’s vault. “Her vaults are amazing all the time. She works so hard in the gym, so to have it pay off like it did tonight is really exciting to watch.”
Another bright spot for the Aggies (1-4, 1-3 MRGC) was the performance of freshman MiKelle Ballard on the beam. Though it was just an exhibition, Ballard scored a 9.725 on the event to the delight of her coaches and teammates alike.
“MiKelle had a phenomenal beam,” DeHarde said. “That’s how she practices, so she got the opportunity to exhibition and she did really well. She deserved that.”
“She did phenomenal,” Smith said. “That was so cool to see.”
The Aggies started on vault with a 48.650, while the Cougars (3-3, 3-1 MRGC) opened with a 48.975 on bars. Joining Meyer with a top-five placing on the event for Utah State was senior Leighton Varnadore, who tied for fifth with a 9.775.
In the second rotation, Utah State recorded an uncharacteristic score of 48.525 on bars. Freshman Eve Jackson tied for third with a 9.800 to lead the Aggies on the event, while sophomore Jessica Gutierrez and freshman Brianna Brooks tied for sixth with matching 9.750s.
BYU notched a 49.050 on vault in the second rotation and led 98.025-97.175 at the midway point of the meet.
“It definitely wasn’t our best meet, and we could have done better,” DeHarde said. “We were just trying too hard. We just need to come out here and do our normal gymnastics that we do every day in the gym, because it’s phenomenal. When we can do that, I know we’ll score way better.”
Utah State’s best event of the night was on beam, where the Aggies tallied a 49.150, highlighted by a pair of personal-best 9.875s from Brooks and sophomore Rebecca Wells to tie for third. DeHarde placed fifth with a 9.850.
In their third rotation, the Cougars scored a 49.250 on floor.
The Aggies ended the meet on floor, where they notched a season-best 48.850. DeHarde and Wells each had a 9.825 to tie for fourth on the event. BYU ended with a 49.150 on beam to record the dual-meet win.
“It was really nice and really fun,” said DeHarde, when asked about making her season debut on floor. “I just like to get out there and have fun. Even though it wasn’t my best floor performance, it was good to get back out there. I can’t wait to compete more and fully put my routine back together, because it’s not all there yet.”
UP NEXT: Utah State heads to the Gem State for an MRGC dual meet against No. 20 Boise State on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m., at ExtraMile Arena.
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. 12 BYU at No. 21 Utah State – Logan, Utah – Dee Glen Smith Spectrum – Jan. 29, 2021
Team Results: 1. BYU – 196.425 (Vault: 49.050, Bars: 48.975, Beam: 49.150, Floor: 49.250); 2. Utah State – 195.175 (Vault: 48.650, Bars: 48.525, Beam: 49.150, Floor: 48.850).
Vault: 1. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.900; T2. Avery Bennett – BYU, 9.850; T2. Abbey Miner Alder – BYU, 9.850; T5. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.775; 8. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.750; 10. Angel Stuart – USU, 9.625; 11. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.600; 12. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.575.
Bars: T1. Haley Pitou – BYU, 9.850; T1. Abby Stainton – BYU, 9.850; T3. Eve Jackson – USU, 9.800; T3. Angel Zhong – BYU, 9.800; T6. Jessica Gutierrez – USU, 9.750; T6. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.750; 8. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.725; 10. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.500; 11. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.150.
Beam: T1. Elease Rollins – BYU, 9.900; T1. Abby Stainton – BYU, 9.900; T3. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.875; T3. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.875; 5. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.850; T6. Carley Bayles – USU, 9.825; T10. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.725; T10. Taylor Dittmar – USU, 9.725.
Floor: T1. Abby Stainton – BYU, 9.875; T1. Brittney Vitkauskas – BYU, 9.875; T1. Abbey Miner Alder – BYU, 9.875; T4. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.825; T4. Autumn DeHarde – USU, 9.825; T7. Ariel Toomey – USU, 9.800; T10. Hadley Hamar – USU, 9.700; T10. Mikaela Meyer – USU, 9.700; 12. Leighton Varnadore – USU, 9.625.