Strong regional showing for USU
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 12:04
Utah State University sent three gymnasts to the regional tournament at Ohio State on Saturday and all three brought home solid scores.
Freshman Stefanie Daley, junior Paige Jones and sophomore Sarah Landes qualified for regionals at the Western Athletic Conference Championship on March 23.
“I think they did really well,” Landes said of her teammates. “I was able to watch most of their routines. I think they both did really good. Last year we went to regionals too and we both had a rough regionals. This year was better. I saw Paige hit one of her best beam routines.”
Daley competed as an individual on the beam rotation and tied for 37th with a 9.550.
Jones finished 11th with a 38.950 in the all-around competition and Landes finished in seventh-place with a 39.125.
“I was really happy with how the three of us did as a whole,” Jones said. “We all had expectations for ourselves and we did really well with that.”
LSU took first in the competition with a 197.275 and UCLA followed closely with 196.950 to earn the second place spot. The two teams will both compete in nationals in Los Angeles.
Unlike the meets they competed in during the regular season, the girls went to Ohio competing as individuals. This meant they rotated with different teams and didn’t have the support of their fellow USU gymnasts.
Landes rotated with UCLA and Jones with LSU.
“I thought of it as a normal meet, like this was our team,” Jones said. “I went up there thinking, ‘I’m in that last spot.’ It really wasn’t much different. It was neat to be a part of the team that’s headed to nationals.”
For Landes and Jones, this wasn’t a new experience. Landes is returning from her first time last spring and this was Jones’ third visit to regionals.
“I wasn’t sure how they would do,” head coach Jeff Richards said. “Last year we felt really prepared and didn’t have a good showing. We kind of prepared for that. I just reminded them, ‘Go off of what you do in practice every day, don’t try to do anything different.’ It worked — they had a good meet and did well.”
As a freshman, it was Daley’s first time at regionals and it took some adjusting.
“Paige and Sarah were really prepared,” Richards said. “They trained that way the whole week and a half before, with the rotations, without the team. Stefanie said it was really weird for her first time.”
Landes hopes and plans for her team to make it to regionals next year.
“I have high expectations,” Landes said. “I want to be able to be there as a team. I’m expecting us to make it to regionals as a team and I’m really hoping to make it to nationals individually.”
Daley said she expects both herself and the team to begin next season where they left off this spring.
“We had a really good end to our season,” Richards said. “I’m definitely excited for next year. We’re not losing a lot of kids. We really only lost Amelia’s two routines — I’m excited about that. We’re getting really good freshman in. There are good expectations for next year.”