Utah State’s gymnastics team returns to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to host No. 7 Boise State on Friday, Feb. 17. The Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference dual meet is slated to begin at 7 p.m., and will stream live on FloGymnastics.
“We’re excited to be back in our stadium and to compete in front of our fans,” said fourth-year head coach Nadalie Walsh. “We want to perform some really good gymnastics to show the whole community that gymnastics is fun and it’s exciting.”
Following the conclusion of the meet, Utah State will honor its four seniors: Katie Brown, Bailey McIntire, Keri Peel and Hayley Sanzotti.
“This is a special class to my heart because when I took over the program, three of them were freshmen,” Walsh said. “Even though I didn’t recruit them, it was the biggest blessing to have every single one of them because they all fit exactly what I needed and what the program needed.”
Brown, McIntire and Peel have all been in the program since 2014, while Sanzotti began her Aggie career in 2013. Due to an injury, though, she redshirted the following season.
“I’m really excited to see all of them finish out the year and do really well,” Walsh said. “These are tremendous young ladies that are going to make really strong marks on the world. They are well-rounded, super motivated and they’re all leaders in their own way. I’m excited to see where life takes these girls, but with that said, we have half of our season left, so I need them to stay engaged and they will.”
Utah State (5-3, 2-1 MRGC) is hosting its Senior Night earlier than normal due to the fact the next home meet on March 10 against Southern Utah falls during Spring Break.
Friday is also Superhero Night, and the first 100 fans will receive a Utah State superhero cape.
The Aggies come into the meet fresh off a 196.725-195.725 setback at then-No. 16 Southern Utah last weekend. Despite the loss, Utah State’s team score was its highest on the road this season and second-highest overall.
Boise State (6-3, 2-0) is the highest-ranked opponent to visit the Spectrum since No. 1 Utah on Feb. 9, 2009. Other than Utah, the last team ranked in the top 10 the Aggies hosted was No. 8 BYU during the 2005 campaign.
“I’m excited for the fans to see us and Boise State compete because Boise State is definitely the kind of team that we can look up to and say that we want to be that one day, and I think we’re definitely well on our way,” Walsh said. “Regardless of a win or a loss, I just expect my team to show up and give a great performance and get a great team score.”
The Broncos come into the meet fresh off a 197.125-197.025 loss at then-No. 12 Denver on Feb. 11. Prior to facing the Pioneers, Boise State recorded a 197.025 at home against Southern Utah, marking the first time in school history that BSU has scored better than 197 in back-to-back meets.
The Aggies are seeking their first win over the Broncos since the 2012 campaign, when the Utah State posted a 194.050-193.525 home victory on Feb. 27.
Utah State, which is ranked 32nd in the nation, and Boise State are competing against one another for the 96th time on Friday in what is the Aggies’ second-oldest rivalry, trailing only BYU. The Aggies lead the all-time series, 55-40, including a 27-10 mark at home.
Madison Ward leads the Aggies as she is tops in the MRGC, sixth regionally and 36th nationally on floor (9.862). The sophomore from Rexburg, Idaho, has recorded three personal-best 9.900s on the event and won the floor title in the Aggies’ first five meets. She has won seven titles overall this season and finished in the top three nine times.
Freshman Elle Golison has also finished in the top three nine times on the year, including four second-place finishes and five third-place finishes.