On Jan. 21, the Southern Utah University gymnastics team beat Utah State University 196.600-193.425. This was the 112th time the Thunderbirds and the Aggies have competed against each other, and the teams are now tied all-time with 56 wins apiece.
Southern Utah outscored Utah State 49.025-48.550 in the vault event. SUU’s Ellia Cacciola and Kayla Pardue tied for the event’s top score with 9.850. This matches the top score in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference which was previously set by Pardue. Karley McClain came in just behind them with 9.825. USU’s top scorer was Brianna Brooks with 9.775.
Shylen Murakami’s score of 9.925 on bars was the Thunderbird’s best score of the season for the event. The Aggies also set their own season high with Brooks’ score of 9.875. Overall, the Thunderbirds won the event 48.950-47.825.
SUU had their highest team score of the season for the balance beam event with a score of 49.200. This topped USU’s 48.175. Cacciola set the MRGC’s highest score for 2023 with her 9.925. Aubri Schwartze followed closely behind and matched the previous conference high of 9.900. Sofi Sullivan scored USU’s best of 9.825.
The meet finished with both teams’ strongest event. On the floor, Southern Utah scored their season high of 49.425 while Utah State scored 48.875. Both McClain and Rachel Smith scored 9.925 for SUU, matching the conference high previously set by McClain. Hailey Vultaggio had the team’s third highest score with 9.875. USU’s highest score came from Ariel Toomey’s 9.825.
Next week, the Thunderbirds will head to Idaho to take on another MRGC rival at Boise State University. The meet will take place on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. MST.
Story and photos by: Anden Garfield