The Flippin’ Birds take second place in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet

In the Rio Tinto Best of Utah, Southern Utah University’s Flippin’ Birds came home with a second place finish. SUU’s 196.175 points trailed only the University of Utah Red Rocks’ 197.750. 

The Utah State University Aggies scored 195.800, which placed them third. They were followed by the Brigham Young University Cougars’ 195.050 points.


Utah had a score of 49.350, led by senior Jaedyn Rucker’s 9.250. Junior Lucy Stanhope was right behind her with a score of 9.900 for the Red Rocks. 

The Flippin’ Birds finished second with a score of 48.825. Sophomore Ellie Cacciola scored SUU’s team-high 9.825, just ahead of Karley McClain’s 9.800.

With a score of 48.800, the Cougars found themselves in third. Sophomore Sydney Benson scored a 9.825 and was followed closely by freshman Kylie Eaquinto’s 9.800 points. 

Junior Brianna Brooks was the leading scorer for the Aggies in this category. She added 9.825 for Utah State, who rounded out the bunch with a score of 48.625.


The Red Rocks seemed to control the meet and led all teams on the bars with a score of 49.350. Sophomore Grace McCallum scored a near-perfect 9.975 out of 10. Makenna Smith had an impressive meet for the Red Rocks and put up 9.875 points. 

BYU barely edged out the Flippin’ Birds 49.175-49.150. Senior Anyssa Alvarado scored a team-high 9.900 for the Cougars. Graduate student Shylen Murakami kept it close for Southern Utah by scoring 9.875. 

Senior Jessica Gutierrez and freshman Avery Bibbey each scored 9.825 for the Aggies. Utah State finished with a combined score of 49.025. 


Again, the Red Rocks took charge of an event by scoring 49.975. The most impressive score of the night came from sophomore Kara Eaker, who scored a perfect 10 out of 10 for Utah. This was followed by senior Maile O’Keefe’s 9.950 points. 

Utah State found themselves second with a score of 49.025. Senior Sofi Sullivan scored a team-high 9.900 for the Aggies and was trailed by Brooks’ 9.825. 

Another close finish between BYU and SUU fell in favor of the Cougars 48.875-48.850. Senior Elease Rollins had 9.850 points for the Cougars, and Sophie Dudley followed with a score of 9.825. For the Flippin’ Birds, McClain led the way with 9.800 points. Cacciola and Murakami followed with 9.775 each.   


The Flippin’ Birds came the closest to knocking off the Red Rocks but fell just short 49.375-49.350. Utah was led by McCallum’s 9.925 points. Junior Jaylene Gilstrap was right behind her with 9.900 points, while three other Red Rocks finished with a score of 9.850. 

McClain continued to lead Southern Utah with another amazing 9.925 on the floor. Right behind her were a pair of 9.875s from juniors Aubri Schwartze and Hailey Vultaggio. 

USU finished with a floor score of 49.125. The Aggies had 9.850 each from sophomore Amari Evans and seniors Ariel Toomey and Alivia Ostendorf. 

The Cougars’ 48.875 was not enough to get them out of fourth place in the event and meet. Senior Rebekah Bean Ripley scored a team-high 9.850 for BYU, and that was followed by 9.800 points from Dudley. 

Next up

The Flippin’ Birds will be at home to take on the Aggies on Friday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.


Article by: Chevy Blackburn

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