Flippin’ Birds start season on the right note and look forward to home opener 

Southern Utah University gymnastics kicked off the regular season with a win at the Super 16 in Las Vegas. The Flippin’ Birds were pooled in the first group with the University of North Carolina, the University of Washington and Fisk University. Southern Utah placed first with a 195.8, UW placed second at 195.475, UNC finished third, scoring a 194.625, and Fisk finished last with a 186.700. 


SUU started on the bars first. The performance was led by freshman Trista Goodman scoring a 9.900, followed closely by 9.825 scores from graduate students Karley McClain and Shylen Murakami. Overall, the team scored a 49.05, registering their highest finish of the night and scoring the highest on the bars. 


The Flippin’ Birds continued the momentum with another great rotation on the beam and collected a 48.85. This was headlined by Murakami and junior Aubri Schwartze, who both finished with a 9.800. Sophomore Ellie Cacciola followed up with a solid 9.775. SUU tied for first in the beam category. 


The Flippin’ Birds scored a 48.825 on the floor. Junior Hailey Vultaggio led the squad with a floor routine that scored a 9.875. Schwartze and McClain followed, both receiving 9.85. Southern Utah finished second on the floor. 


SUU finished strong on the vault with a 48.950. The vault section was led by freshman Kayla Purdue, who registered a 9.850. Graduate student Caitlin Kho scored a 9.8, and senior Rachel Smith and Cacciola both posted a 9.775. The Flippin’ Birds finished first on the vault. 

With the victory, SUU looks to keep the momentum going at home against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats and preserve last season’s undefeated streak at home. 

A look at the opponent 

The Wildcats finished 13-13 last season and averaged 194.898. UNH scored a season-high 196.450 last season versus Temple University and University of Pennsylvania. 

Seniors Kylie Gorgenyi and Alyssa Worthington are the ones to watch, as Gorgenyi was first-team all-conference on vault and bars while Worthington was first-team all-conference on the beam. 

The matchup 

SUU leads the all-time record 2-0 versus the Wildcats. The last time these two programs met was Jan. 18, 2020, resulting in a 195.4-194.975 victory for the Flippin’ Birds in Durham, New Hampshire. 

Game details

Southern Utah will face the University of New Hampshire on Monday, Jan. 9, and the meet will begin at 7 p.m. 

The match will be held at the America First Event Center and will be streamed on ESPN+. 


Article by: Anthony Colasuono


Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics