Landes takes second, USU fourth in quad meet
The Utah State University gymnastics team had a rough weekend at their first quad-meet on Saturday in Denver, coming in fourth place with a score of 192.150.
Denver came in first place with a 195.800, Boise State took second with a 194.525 and Rutgers finished third with a 193.925.
“At the meet, we warmed up slick,” said head coach Jeff Richards. “The meet itself was a very tough-scored meet. We kept some really good performances. Sarah and Paige had their best scores.”
Consistent top performers Sarah Landes and Paige Jones grabbed two all-around spots. Landes finished second with a 39.075 and Jones finished sixth with a 38.425.
The team had a weak start on beam that included two falls, with a total score of 46.600. Improvement was made on the following three events with finishing scores of 48.150 on floor, 48.800 on vault and 48.600 on bars.
“They had to fight for every tenth,” Richards said. “Vault, we had a great night. Michelle, Paige, Sarah and Kenzie all rocked vault. Kenzie did well and scored a 9.900. That was real exciting. We finished up on bars and all the girls competed well, pretty consistent with what we’ve been scoring. It was one of those meets where we weren’t completely on, but there were some good things that happened.”
Kenzie Martinez was also a top performer and had a career-best vault score, tying for second place with a 9.900. She tied for third on bars with a 9.825.
“Beam was rough for me. I fell,” Martinez said. “Vault was really good, bars was good. There are still little things I need to fix.”
Martinez said as a team they need to pay attention to details like keeping legs together and sticking dismounts.
One thing Martinez deals with daily is the pain the herniated disk in her back gives her.
“I felt like I dealt with it really well,” Martinez said about the pain. “I didn’t practice this week because of it. I went out there and tried to stay positive. I kept telling myself I knew I needed to hit it and that I know how to do it.”
Martinez isn’t the only competitor dealing with pain. Richards said he has six girls not competing right now due to injuries.
“We’ll have Amelia Montoya back and Joanna Cuba on beam next week,” Richards said. “Kaitlyn Betts has had a toe issue and hasn’t been able to compete.”
Despite their injuries, the athletes are hoping to recover in time to finish the last four meets of the season.
Richards knows his team needs higher scores to qualify for regionals, but the girls have four meets left to make those scores.
“If you take all of our high scores throughout the season, we’re potentially there,” Richards said. “We’ve got a team that can do it.”
Richards said beam is the event for the team to work on.
“I think the one thing is we scored a 46.5 — two points lower than what we should be scoring,” Richards said. “That’s what we need to focus on.”
The Aggies will take on BYU on Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. for their third home meet.
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