With nothing to lose, the Aggies went out and had their best outing of the gymnastics season Saturday night at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
Tabbed to finish sixth in the six-team league, Utah State finished fourth at the meet, which was hosted by Southern Utah University at the Centrum in Cedar City. The Aggies were just a few tenths behind third-place Sacramento State. USU’s 195.10 score was nearly a full point higher than its previous high for the season (194.20).
In a high-scoring meet, No. 23 Boise State emerged victorious with a 196.225. The Broncos edged No. 13 Denver, which scored a 196.125. The Hornets notched a season-high 195.50 to claim third. Rounding out the field behind USU were SUU (194.925) and San Jose State (194.70).
Boise State swept the postseason awards as Caitlin Mann was named the Gymnast of the Year, Maddie Krentz was the Freshman of the Year and Bronco co-head coaches Neil Resnick and Tina Bird were named Coaches of the Year.
Mann won the all-around title Saturday with a 39.475 score. Denver’s Moriah Martin was right behind in second with a 39.425. Another Bronco was third in Kelsey Black with a 39.325. USU’s Sarah Landes tied for fourth (39.175) and Paige Jones took seventh (39.075).
The Pioneers captured three individual event titles. Nina McGee won the uneven bars and floor exercise with 9.925 marks on each. McGee’s teammate, Kaitlin Moorhead, won the vault with a 9.95. Sacramento State's Cayla Beutler won the balance beam with a 9.85.
Three Aggies earned all-WAC accolades. Jones scored a career-best 9.90 on bars to make the first team, while Landes was second team in the all-around and freshman Michelle Yasukochi was second team on beam with a career-high 9.825 on beam.
As a team, the Aggies knew they would not be moving on to the North Central Regionals Championships. But that didn’t stop them from coming out strong. They had season-high team marks on bars (49.225) and beam (48.625).
USU actually began the meet with a bye before starting action on the floor. Jones finished off the event with the best score of 9.825. Christina Nye had a season-best 9.55.
In the second rotation, the Aggies only competed five athletes on the vault. Jones matched her season best with a 9.85, while Kaitlyn Betts recorded a 9.825. Yasukochi turned in a career-high score of 9.775.
After their second bye, the Aggies competed on bars. All six athletes came through in helping the team record its season-best mark on the apparatus.
Yasukochi and Nye each set new career highs, earning a 9.80 and a 9.85 marks, respectively. Amelia Montoya followed, matching her season-best with a 9.75, while Landes stuck a season-high 9.85. Jones kept up the momentum with a career-best score. Betts finished the rotation with a 9.825.
In the final rotation, USU was on the beam. Yasukochi led the team with her best score of the year. Stefanie Daley had the second-best mark for the Aggies with a 9.80.
While the team ended the regular season Saturday, Aggie individuals can still qualify for regionals. USU will find out Monday who will be advancing.