On the quiet bus ride home from last year’s NCAA Regional Championship, head coach Scotty Bauman addressed the team, saying the squad was the best team he had ever coached.
It seemed a little ironic considering the Flippin’ Birds had one of their worst statistical seasons in recent history, and many looked at the season as a rebuilding year.
“In all the years I have been a coach here, I have never lost so many meets in one year, and I hate losing,” said Bauman. “I think if you’re a coach and you don’t hate that, you should probably truly look at other professions.”
After highlighting the young team’s success on that bus ride, Bauman ended the talk with something special.
“If you’re not on the same page I am when you get off this bus, you’re gonna stay off this bus. We are going to change our mentality next year and we are going to have the tools to change our mentality,” said Bauman.
Typically, collegiate gymnastics programs are built around highlighting upperclassmen. But with the competitive experience gained by a multitude of underclassman last season, the 2018-2019 SUU Gymnastics team has a different approach.
With juniors Autumn Jorgensen and Madison McBride shining in every event last season, the Flippin’ Birds will rely on the junior duo in each meet this year.
Redshirt senior Karen Gonzalez found success as an all-around competitor last year and will be expected to bring even better results this year.
Bauman and his staff have had in-gym intrasquad practices in the America First Events Center in order to prepare the team to perform in the stadium atmospheres they’ll experience throughout the season.
The preseason preparation has brought confidence to the sophomore class and has resulted in a waterfall effect onto the new freshmen. Freshmen are seeing the sophomores make huge strides and are following suit.
The strong team leadership has made this change of mindset possible for the Flippin’ Birds.
Team captain Kamryn Bayer has led the way in creating a strong and positive environment in the gym with the help of other athletes on the team. The leaders are able to bring the team up when the energy in the gym suffers.
Big things should be expected from the 2018-2019 Flippin’ Birds. The team plans to be Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Champions, place well in the Regional Qualifiers and make an appearance on the national stage.
Story by: Maddie Loomis for SUU News
Photo by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication