Flippin’ Birds Finish Fourth at MRGC Championship

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The Flippin’ Birds of Southern Utah University concluded their 2021 gymnastics season in Logan, Utah against Brigham Young University, Boise State University, and Utah State University at the Mountain Region Gymnastics Conference championship on Saturday. 

At the end of the meet, SUU recorded 196.225 points, putting them in fourth place overall. Utah State ended with 196.250 points, while Boise State had 196.725. BYU logged 196.925 and claimed the championship.

The Thunderbirds kicked off their final meet of the season on the beam. 

Junior Shylen Murakami competed first and ended her routine with a score of 9.613.

Rachel Smith started off her evening with 9.775 points while Hannah Nipp landed a 9.825. Karley McClain claimed the team high of 9.875, putting her in second place. 

Boise State’s Adriana Popp finished with a 9.900, putting her in first place overall for the event.

Helody Cyrenne from BYU concluded her evening on the beam with 9.800 points. Abbey Miner Alder scored a team high for the Cougars with a score of 9.850.

The Thunderbirds headed into the floor routine with 49.025 overall points.

BYU’s Miner Alder impressed the judges with a vault routine that awarded her with 9.900 points. Teammate Avery Bennett clinched a 9.850 for her performance. 

Utah State’s Leighton Varnadore ended her time on the vault with a 9.825. Leighton’s twin sister Logan Varnadore earned a 9.800. 

Maddi Nilson from Boise State earned a 9.825 for her vault routine. Teammate Courtney Blackson claimed the first spot in the event with an overall meet high of 9.950 points.

SUU vault specialist Morgan Alfaro finished her season with a 9.825, setting her in fifth place overall in the event. 

Caitlin Kho scored a 9.825 for the Thunderbirds, tying her for seventh overall with Leighton Varnadore.

McClain and Stephanie Tervort collected 9.750 scores at the conclusion of their vault routines.

The Thunderbirds finished on vault with a score of 48.950.

Autumn DeHarde scored a 9.875 for the Aggies during her floor routine. Eve Jackson, Ariel Toomey, and Rebecca Wells all racked in 9.850 points.

Nilson placed third in the event with 9.900 points for the Boise State Broncos. 

BYU had a successful try on the floor with Miner Alder tying Blackson from Boise State with a 9.950 and Brittney Vitkauskas scoring a 9.925.

Aubri Schwartze led the Thunderbirds during the floor routine and nailed a score of 9.800. Following her was Smith who claimed 9.775 points.

McClain finished her floor routine with 9.825 points. Sophomore Kayla Horton and Nipp both earned a team-high with 9.875, claiming  the second highest score in the event with DeHarde.

Emily Muhlenhaupt from Boise State earned herself an event high with a score of 9.925 on the uneven parallel bars.

BYU’s Anyssa Alvarado, along with teammate Abby Stainton finished their routines with 9.900 points each. 

Utah State’s Grace Rojas received the highest team score on the bars with 9.825 points.

Concluding the Thunderbirds evening in Logan, Nikki Thomas, Aubri Schwartze, and Nipp all landed a 9.800.

Murakami finished her meet with a team-high score of 9.850.

Mayson Bentley rounded out the Thunderbirds with a routine that rewarded her with a score of 9.850 points, tying her with Murakami. 

The Thunderbirds finished their season third in the Mountain Region Gymnastics Conference, and No. 20 in the NCAA national rankings.

Story by: Lainie Hallows
Photo by: Mitchell Quartz