Utah State’s gymnastics team is back in action this weekend when the Aggies welcome 16th-ranked Boise State to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for their Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (MRGC) opener on Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.
The MRGC dual meet featuring the Aggies and Broncos will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network as a USU Athletics Production. Additionally, live stats will be available online on USU's website, and meet updates will be provided throughout the competition on the team’s social media platforms.
This is the league opener for Utah State (2-2, 0-0 MRGC), while Boise State sits atop the conference standings with a 2-0 ledger, having already defeated Southern Utah once at home (196.225-194.350) and once on the road (195.475-193.475).
“I am expecting the team to go out and have fun,” said junior Madison Ward, who is from Rexburg, Idaho—the only gymnast on either team that hails from the Gem State. “We are all super pumped to get out there and go against the three-time defending conference champions. It is always good to go against the Broncos. They are a really good gymnastics team, so it pushes us more to be better. I think we are going to do really well because we have had some great practices this week, where we have tightened things up a little bit more.”
Friday’s meet against Boise State is USU Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day. The first 100 fans and first 100 students through the doors receive a pair of free Utah State mittens.
Utah State leads the all-time series against Boise State, 55-43, including 27-12 at home, 17-16 on the road and 11-15 at a neutral site. However, the Broncos have won 16 straight in the series and 29 of the last 30 meetings.
USU’s last victory against BSU came on January 27, 2012, a 194.050-193.525 triumph at the Spectrum. Since then, the Aggies have lost five-straight meets at home against the Broncos but are looking to buck that trend Friday night.
“We just have to go out and do our job, and we talked about that this week,” said first-year USU head coach Amy Smith said. “Everybody has to show up at the same time. We’ve had little glimmers of greatness, but we need one through six in each lineup to show up and build those scores and put it together. If we do that, we’ll come out with a win this weekend.”
Utah State is coming off its best road meet of the young season as the Aggies recorded a 195.000 last weekend at then-No. 13 Denver, which placed first with a 196.675. The Aggies finished with a season-best 49.050 on floor, highlighted by freshman Faith Leary’s career-high 9.875 to tie for third.
“Friday is going to be a lot of fun,” Leary said. “We need to keep up our energy throughout the meet. We need to do what we do in practice every day, which is stay calm and slow and be energetic.”
The last time the Broncos visited the Spectrum was for the MRGC Championships on March 18, 2017. Ward and then-senior Hayley Sanzotti each collected an individual event title to help the 23-ranked Aggies take second place with a 196.100.
No. 11 Boise State captured its third-consecutive MRGC championship with a 197.050, while Southern Utah took third with a 196.075 and BYU placed fourth with a 194.675. The second-place finish was Utah State’s best placing at a conference championship meet since 2005, when the Aggies captured the Western Athletic Conference crown.
Utah State’s 196.100 was its third-highest total of the 2017 campaign. Furthermore, it was the best score the Aggies had ever produced in a conference championship meet, the fifth-best home score in school history and the ninth-best overall.
The Aggies enter Friday’s dual meet ranked 39th nationally—up one spot from a week ago—and seventh in the North Central Region with an average score of 194.475. As a team, the Aggies are tied for 36th in the nation on vault (48.792), 53rd on bars (48.083), 27th on beam (48.742) and tied for 34th on floor (48.858).
Individually, freshman Mikaela Meyer and Ward are tied for 76th and 87th nationally on vault with average scores of 9.808 and 9.800, respectively. Freshman Autumn DeHarde ranks 90th in the nation on beam (9.800).
Boise State is ranked 16th in the nation and fourth in the West Region with an average score of 195.850. As a team, the Broncos are 16th in the nation on vault (48.967), tied for 17th on bars (48.900), 16th on beam (48.950) and 21st on floor (49.033).
Individually, Shani Remme is 24th nationally on bars (9.867), tied for fifth on beam (9.900) and tied for 24th on floor (9.875). She ranks 11th in the nation in the all-around (39.408). Fellow Bronco Sarah Means is tied for 13th nationally on vault (9.875).
“Boise State is very clean and precise with each of their movements and skills,” Ward said. “We have been honing in on our details and the small things that really add up in the end, so I think we are going to go out and do what we have been training.”
Following Friday’s meet, Utah State will open a season-long four-meet road swing beginning on Friday, Feb. 9, at a tri-meet hosted by UC Davis in Davis, California. The meet will feature the two Aggies, as well as Sacramento State.