Kyle Kester

Thunderbirds Start and Finish Well at WAC Championships

March 23, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University recorded career-best marks on the first and final routine of the night as the Thunderbirds finished fifth at the Western Athletic Conference Gymnastics Championship on Saturday night with a 194.925.

Ana Jaworski opened the competition with a career-best 9.850 on the uneven bars as the team finished the event with a 48.950. Brittney Jensen capped Southern Utah's meet on vault with a career-best 9.925, the second-highest total in school history, with the Thunderbirds finishing with a season-best 49.125.

It was the middle of the meet that hurt the Thunderbirds the most as the team counted a fall on beam and scored a 48.075 on the event.

Jaworski's opening 9.850 on bars was followed by Jamie Armijo's 9.825. A pair of 9.775's from Rochelle Bernier and Arlyn Amor and a 9.725 from Michaela Chernoch rounded out the team score. Caitlin Kennedy matched Chernoch's 9.725 on bars, but because of the rotation order, her score was not counted towards the team score.

Rochelle Bernier provided Southern Utah's highlight on beam, scoring a 9.800. Southern Utah's seniors, Chernoch and Kennedy, followed with a 9.775 and 9.725, respectively.

On floor, Chernoch wrapped up her final collegiate routine in the Centrum Arena with a 9.875, earning first-team all-WAC honors for her efforts and leading the team. Jensen and Kennedy turned in matching 9.775's and Jaworski's 9.750 capped Southern Utah's total of 48.775.

The Thunderbirds wrapped up the competition on vault and finished strong with a 49.125, the fourth-highest total in school history. Four of the six routines during the rotation logged a 9.800 or higher, including a pair of 9.800's from Armijo and Bernier, a 9.850 from Arlyn Amor and Jensen's 9.925. Jensen was Southern Utah's final all-WAC honoree with a first-team nod with Kennedy rounding out the team score with a 9.750.

Boise State ultimately won the conference title, claiming the trophy on the final routine when Erin Wippermann tallied a 9.800 on bars to put BSU ahead of the University of Denver by one tenth, 196.225 to 196.125. The Broncos won the title despite flaws, with two neutral deductions and one fall on floor. None of the teams turned in a perfect 24-for-24 showing during the night with various falls on every apparatus but vault.

Despite the final outcome, Southern Utah is anticipated to receive a bid to the NCAA Regional meet by way of finishing in the top 36 in the nation with the announcement anticipated on Monday. Fans can watch the NCAA selection show live online via at 1:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon.