BOISE, Idaho – No. 25 Utah State captured its first-ever Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship as the Aggies recorded a 197.025 Saturday night at ExtraMile Arena.
With their season-high-score, which ranks second all-time in school history, the Aggies (14-9) captured their sixth conference title overall, including their first since 2005 (Western Gymnastics Conference).
“I’m speechless,” said fifth-year Utah State head coach Amy Smith. “The coaches have known what this team has been capable of all year, and to put it together tonight is so incredibly special. I don’t even have words to describe how proud, how happy, and just how relieved that they were able to do this for them, to realize the potential that they could get to.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better night than what we got. I am just so happy for these girls. They have worked so hard and to be able to compete at this level, and to understand what it takes, is really cool.”
No. 24 Boise State (9-7) placed second overall with a 196.500, Southern Utah (9-10) finished third with a 196.500 and No. 21 BYU (13-7-1) rounded out the team scoring in fourth with a 196.375.
Junior Rebecca Wells led the Aggies as she became the third Utah State gymnast to win the MRGC all-around title with a 39.400, which is the second-best score for a conference championship meet and tied for 11th all-time in school history.
“It felt amazing to just do what we normally do in practice,” said Wells, whose six all-around titles in 2022 is tied for third in single-season school history. “After being here for three years, I’m so happy and proud of our team that we finally won conference tonight. It’s just surreal. I can’t believe it.
“I’ve been thinking about this night for a while, but I feel like, especially today in our team meetings, and all the talks that we’ve had with our team, it’s been super motivating. We all just got so pumped up, and I just knew tonight was our night.”
Wells has captured 14 titles overall in 2022, which is tied for third in single-season junior class history.
Utah State had an individual champion in three of the four events, as junior Maia Fishwick earned a share of the bars title with a career-high-tying 9.950, senior Carley Bayles won beam with a career-high-tying 9.925, and freshman Brie Clark had a career-high-tying 9.950 to capture the floor crown.
In total, Utah State had six top-three finishes and scored a 49.325 or higher on three events.
“My emotions are all over the place,” admitted Clark, who was tabbed the MRGC Floor Specialist and Freshman of the Year. “It still doesn’t feel real. Also, getting those two awards was a shock to me, and I teared up whenever they said my name. It feels surreal. It doesn’t feel real, but I know this whole team deserves every bit of this moment.”
Clark now has eight floor titles on the year, which is tied for second in a single season. Her 10 titles overall is tied for fifth in freshman class history.
“I was very happy that I could do what I know how to do for the team,” Clark said. “We always talk about bringing our best when our best is needed, and everybody brought their best today, and it really showed up. It’s just so amazing because this is such a special team.”
Utah State began the meet on beam, its best event – the Aggies were ranked 13th nationally on the event coming into the championships. USU did not disappoint as the team scored a 49.375, which ranks sixth all-time in school history and the best-ever for a conference championship meet.
Junior Sofi Sullivan tied for second on beam with a 9.900, while Wells, Clark and sophomore Brianna Brooks had matching 9.850s to tie for seventh. Following the first rotation, Utah State was in the lead, where it would stay for the duration of the meet.
“We were super excited that we were starting on beam,” Wells said. “It’s one of our strongest events, and we went out there and did what we were supposed to do. Vault went great, floor went great, and then ending on bars was awesome. We really capitalized on it.”
The Aggies carried their momentum from beam to floor, where freshman Molly Arnold opened the rotation with a 9.825 to tie for 12th. In fact, all six of Utah State’s gymnasts recorded a 9.825 or better. Sophomore Eve Jackson, along with freshmen Trinity Brown and Amari Evans, tied for fifth with identical 9.850s.
Utah State finished with a 49.325 on floor, bringing its team total to 98.700 at the midway point of the meet.
The Aggies moved to vault in the third rotation, where they recorded their lowest team score of the night with a 48.950. Wells tied for second with a 9.850 and Brooks tied for fifth with a 9.825.
Closing the meet on bars, where it had to count a fall in each of its last two meets, Utah State turned in one of its best performances in school history on the event to slam the door on Boise State, BYU and Southern Utah.
“All year long, all we’ve talked about is attitude and energy, and if we control our attitude and energy, our gymnastics is there,” Smith said. “We had an incredible intrasquad on bars this last Tuesday, and the attitude and energy was there. They just took that, and they brought it into this meet. I don’t know if I’ve had more fun on the floor with the team than I did tonight. It was just absolutely incredible. I can’t believe it.”
Junior Jessica Gutierrez led the Aggies off on bars with a 9.800, while Wells followed with a 9.875. Senior Grace Rojas, seeing action in just her fifth meet of the season due to injury, had a career-high 9.900 in the third spot to place sixth. Brooks notched a 9.850 in the fourth spot, setting the tone for Fishwick and her stellar 9.950 to give Utah State its 49.375 on the event, which ranks second all-time in school history and is the top score for a conference championship meet.
“It was so cool to finish the meet on bars, because that’s the event we struggled with the past couple of weeks, so to be able to win the meet on bars is just amazing, and just means so much for this team,” Clark said. “It’s only up from here, because I know we have more room in the tank.”
Utah State will learn where it is headed for regionals when the NCAA announces qualifiers and locations on Tuesday, March 22.
For more information on the Utah State gymnastics program, follow the Aggies on Twitter at @USUGymnastics, on Facebook at UtahStateGymnastics and on Instagram at USUGymnastics.
MRGC Championships – Boise, Idaho – ExtraMile Arena – March 19, 2022
Team Results: 1. Utah State – 197.025 (vault: 48.950, bars: 49.375, beam: 49.375, floor: 49.325); 2. Boise State – 196.550 (vault: 48.925, bars: 49.475, beam: 49.125, floor: 49.025); 3. Southern Utah – 196.500 (vault: 49.000, bars: 49.250, beam: 49.125, floor: 49.125); 4. BYU – 196.375 (vault: 49.175, bars: 48.750, beam: 49.225, floor: 49.225).
Vault: 1. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell – BYU, 9.950; T2. Courtney Blackson – BSU, 9.850; T2. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.850; T2. Sydney Benson – BYU, 9.850; T5. Emily Lopez – BSU, 9.825; T5. Emily Lopez – SUU, 9.825; T5. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.825; T8. Morgan Alfaro – SUU, 9.800; T8. Rachel Smith – SUU, 9.800; T8. Caitlin Kho – SUU, 9.800; T8. Haley Pitou – BYU, 9.800; T8. Allix Mason – BYU, 9.800; T13. Samantha Smith – BSU, 9.775; T13. Hailey Vultaggio – SUU, 9.775; T13. Brie Clark – USU, 9.775; T13. Lexi Griffith – BYU, 9.775; T17. Maddi Nilson – BSU, 9.750; T17. Anna Hartley – SUU, 9.750; T17. Trinity Brown – USU, 9.750; T17. Molly Arnold – USU, T17. 9.750; Eve Jackson – USU, 9.750; T22. Hope Masiado – BSU, 9.725; T22. Alyssa Vulaj – BSU, 9.725; 24. Elease Rollins – BYU, 9.700.
Bars: T1. Maia Fishwick – USU, 9.950; T1. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.950; T1. Emily Muhlenhaupt – BSU, 9.950; T4. Anyssa Alvarado – BYU, 9.925; T4. Emily Lopez – BSU, 9.925; 6. Grace Rojas – USU, 9.900; T7. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.875; T7. Courtney Blackson – BSU, 9.875; T7. Alexis Stokes – BSU, 9.875; T7. Mayson Bentley – SUU, 9.875; T11. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.850; T11. Allix Mason – BYU, 9.850; T11. Maddi Nilson – BSU, 9.850; T11. Talia Little – BSU, 9.850; T15. Abby Beeston – BYU, 9.825; T15. Caitlin Kho – SUU, 9.825; T17. Jessica Gutierrez – USU, 9.800; T17. Lindsey Hunter – BYU 9.800; T17. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.800; T17. Aubri Schwartze – SUU, 9.800; 21. Hannah Nipp – SUU, 9.600; 22. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell – BYU, 9.350; 23.Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.125; 24. Haley Pitou – BYU, 9.025.
Beam: 1. Carley Bayles – USU, 9.925; T2. Sofi Sullivan – USU, 9.900; T2. Adriana Popp – BSU, 9.900; T4. Allix Mason – BYU, 9.875; T4. Elease Rollins – BYU, 9.875; T4. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.875; T7. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.850; T7. Brie Clark – USU, 9.850; T7. Brianna Brooks – USU, 9.850; T7. Lauren Ono – BYU, 9.850; T7. Emily Lopez – BSU, 9.850; T7. Emma Loyim – BSU, 9.850; T7. Hailey Vultaggio – SUU, 9.850; T14. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell – BYU, 9.825; T14. Aubri Schwartze – SUU, 9.825; T16. Sophia McClelland – BYU, 9.800; T16. Hope Masiado – BSU, 9.800; T16. Shylen Murakami – SUU, 9.800; T19. Mina Margraf – BYU, 9.775; T19. Rachel Smith – SUU, 9.775; 21. Talia Little – BSU, 9.725; 22. Kielyn McCright – USU, 9.550; 23. Alexis Stokes – BSU, 9.175; 24. Hannah Nipp – SUU, 8.650.
Floor: 1. Brie Clark – USU, 9.950; 2. Brittany Vitkauskas – BYU, 9.900; T3. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell – BYU, 9.875; T3. Aubri Schwartze – SUU, 9.875; T5. Trinity Brown – USU, 9.850; T5. Eve Jackson – USU, 9.850; T5. Amari Evans – USU, 9.850; T5. Elaina McGovern – BSU, 9.850; T5. Adriana Popp – BSU, 9.850; T5. Adeline Rieder – BYU, 9.850; T5. Karley McClain – SUU, 9.850; T12. Rebecca Wells – USU, 9.825; T12. Molly Arnold – USU, 9.825; T12. Hannah Nipp – SUU, 9.825; T12. Hailey Vultaggio – SUU, 9.825; T16. Courtney Blackson – BSU, 9.800; T16. Abby Beeston – BYU, 9.800; T16. Sydney Benson – BYU, 9.800; T19. Hope Masiado – BSU, 9.775; T19. Lindsey Hunter – BYU, 9.775; T21. Blake Pascal – BSU, 9.750; T21. Rachel Smith – SUU, 9.750; 23. Kayla Horton – SUU, 9.700; 24. Emma Loyim – BSU, 9.450.
All-Around: 1. Rebecca Wells – USU, 39.400; 2. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell – BYU, 39.000.