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Gymnastics flips to win over Sacramento State

By Emily Duke
On March 3, 2014

Utah State University gymnastics put its second home victory in the books Friday when the Aggies took down the Hornets of Sacramento State 195.100-193.650.

This is the second time that the Aggies have scored above a 195 this season. Utah State logged five individual season-highs and two career-high scores.

Freshman Bailey McIntire was enthusiastic about the high level of performance.

“(Reaching 195 was) so exciting because we’ve only gotten one this season so what we’ve been aiming for was to get another 195,” McIntire said. “So that was really exciting and we even could have done better so it shows all of our potential.”

Utah State finished the meet with a 48.850 on vault, 48.850 on bars, 48.750 on beam and a 48.650 on floor. Sacramento State notched a 49.025 on vault, 48.050 on bars, 48.075 on beam and 48.500 on floor.

“It was nice to see them make sure that they all hit all of the events,” said head coach Nadalie Walsh. “When we had a mistake we didn’t fall apart so that was huge. We weren’t perfect tonight, we’re striving for that excellence, but I feel like this is a really good step forward.”

Junior Sarah Landes competed in the all-around for the Aggies notching her season high score and defeating Jesse Williams of Sacramento 39.250-38.425 for the title.

“It’s awesome to be able to trust Sarah because she trusts herself,” Walsh said. “She thrives on the energy of the crowd and the people and I think that that has been making her a great competitor.”

McIntire echoed Walsh’s praise of Landes.

“She is so reliable,” McIntire said. “Every time she goes up I’m never like, ‘oh is Sarah going to make it?’ I know Sarah is going to make it. She just is really good at picking our team up.”

USU started out strong on the vault in the first rotation. with a 9.7 from Jillian Chapel. Landes contributed the highest score with a 9.85 followed closely by senior Paige Jones and junior Miranda Kerr who both notched 9.80.

The Hornets finished the first rotation on the bars with a 48.050, giving the Aggies a slight lead.

The Aggies moved to the bars for their second rotation where they started out struggling. After a low performance from JoAnna Cuba, Landes came out and turned the event around with a score of 9.825.

“I honestly don’t watch the person going before me for that reason because I don’t want to know how they did,” Landes said. “No matter how they did I still want to go out there and do my routine.”

Jones and Belliston rounded out the event strong matching Landes with a 9.825 each giving the Aggies a three-way tie for first place.

“That was huge,” Landes said. “That’s one of the biggest things in gymnastics is that when you have a fall everybody knows that you can drop that score, but at the same time that puts pressure on your last people because you absolutely have to hit your routines. I’m proud of our bar line-up because for us to go out and do that is awesome and it feels great.”

The Hornets hit a 49.025 on the vault keeping them in the race, but the Aggies continued to lead with a running score of 97.700-97.075.

Utah State continued on to the beam for their third rotation. Freshman Katie Brown competed first for the Aggies notching a 9.700. After a couple of shaky performances and a long wait Landes mounted the beam to pull the Aggies back on track receiving a 9.800. Sophomore Stephanie Daley finished off the event leading USU with a season-high score of 9.825.

“It’s good to see Stephanie do what she’s capable of,” Walsh said. “She had a little slump but she has so much potential and we are really proud of her.”

“She is injured so she doesn’t actually do that many routines in the gym, so for her to get up there and nail that routine was amazing. I’m pretty sure that everyone was more excited for that routine than anything else.”

The Aggies finished off the night on the floor. Freshman Bailey McIntire took the floor title for the second week in a row tying her career-best score of 9.90. Landez followed close behind nailing her routine for a 9.825.

“I’ve worked all season to do that, but it helps being home because I can really play to the crowd and get them involved which helps a lot,” McIntire said. “I just have fun doing my routine.”

Utah State will continue their homestand next week when they take on former Western Athletic Conference rivals San Jose State on their Alumni night, welcoming back former USU gymnasts. The meet will take place Friday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

Twitter: @emily_seamqueen

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