Photo by Robert K. Scott.
LOGAN – Utah State Gymnastics always had the goal of being conference champions. Mission accomplished. The Aggie gymnasts captured their first ever Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship scoring 197.025 last Saturday at ExtraMile Arena in Boise, Idaho. Along with their season-high-score, which ranks second all-time in school history, the Aggies notched their sixth conference title overall, including their first since 2005 when they were in the Western Gymnastics Conference.
“I’m getting goosebumps just hearing (conference champs),” said Utah State gymnastics Head Coach Amy Smith on 106.9 The FAN’s Full Court Press program. “It gives me that tingly feeling.”
She also realizes that getting to this point, has taken time – but the wait has been worth it.
“We know that it’s been a process…this is what we have been building for,” Smith added, “and to finally see it come to fruition this year is really cool and really incredible.”
Utah State now moves on to their 27th Regional, this one in Norman, Oklahoma on March 30-April 2 where the Oklahoma Sooners are hosting and ranked 1st. Other teams participating will be No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 California, No. 16 Arizona State, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 24 Boise State, Arizona and West Virginia. The nine-team field will compete at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Aggies will compete in session one of the second round on Thursday, March 31, at noon (MT) against Cal, Boise State and Minnesota.
The talk around the gymnastics program has been of freshman phenom Briel Clark, who has set USU individual school records and (pun intended) a new bar for the future of Aggie Gymnastics. But Rebecca Wells has quietly made a name for herself, too.
The 5’2″ junior out of Smyrna, Tennessee led Utah State as she became the third Aggie 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. Wells also tied for second on vault (9.850), tied for seventh on bars (9.875), tied for seventh on beam (9.850) and tied for 12th on floor (9.825). Her 14 titles overall in 2022 is tied for third in single-season junior class history.
“Working this season so hard with this team,” Wells said on the Full Court Press, “it started this preseason we had a blowup ring in our gym and kept our focus. It just seems surreal that we are finally here.”
The top two finishing teams of each semifinal will advance to the NCAA Regional Final on Saturday, April 2, at 4 p.m. Following Saturday’s competition, the top two finishers from the four regionals (Auburn, Alabama; Norman; Raleigh, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington) will advance to the 2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 14-16.
The audio of the full radio interview is below: