Four Top-25 Teams Set to Meet on Saturday Night
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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women’s gymnastics will continue its 2013 campaign this weekend when the Thunderbirds travel to the University of Utah and face the Utes, West Virginia and Oregon State.
“It has been a while since we’ve competed at Utah and it is a place that we have really missed,” head coach Scott Bauman said. “Utah is always really tough and West Virginia and Oregon State will also be great opponents. It will be a great meet in a great environment.”
Each of the four teams at the meet enter the weekend ranked in the top 25 with Utah at No. 15, SUU at No. 20, West Virginia at No. 22 and Oregon State at No. 23. The meet is also the second consecutive week that the Thunderbirds will face a ranked opponent, opening the year at then-No. 2 UCLA on January 6.
Fans can watch the meet online via a free video feed at www.suutbirds.com with each competitor scheduled to be shown live during each rotation. The meet will begin with a competitor on bars and then show beam, floor and vault, individually, throughout the evening.
The meet is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. with live stats also available online at www.suutbirds.com.
The University of Utah opened its 2013 season in a loss at UCLA last weekend, suffering three falls on the uneven bars to begin the meet. The Utes still scored a 195.300, led by a 9.900 on vault from Tory Wilson, a 9.875 on bars and beam from Georgia Dabritz and matching 9.850’s on floor from Nansy Damianova and Becky Tutka.
Last Time Against Utah
Southern Utah scored a season-high 196.025, but finished in third place in a meet at Utah on March 12, 2010. The Thunderbirds finished behind Utah (196.975) and Oregon State (196.650) and ahead of Penn State (195.700).
Scouting West Virginia
West Virginia opened the 2013 season with a 194.675-193.550 victory at the University of Pittsburgh on January 11. The Mountaineers were led by Alaska Richardson and Hope Sloanhoffer on vault with matching 9.825’s, Jaida Lawrence and Erica Smith on bars with 9.775’s, Kaylyn Millick on beam with a 9.775 and Richardson again on floor with a 9.900.
Last Time Against West Virginia
Southern Utah and West Virginia met at the 2010 NCAA Regionals where the Thunderbirds finished third with a team score of 195.325. The Mountaineers finished fourth with a mark of 195.100.
Scouting Oregon State
Oregon State has already competed twice this season, opening with scores of 193.600 and 195.375. The Beavers are led on vault by Hailey Gaspar and Brittany Harris with a 9.850 average, Stephanie McGregor on bars with a 9.800 average, Chelsea Tang on beam with a 9.775 average and Makayla Stambaugh on floor with a 9.888.
Last Time Against Oregon State
Southern Utah faced the Beavers at the 2011 NCAA Regionals, finishing sixth at the meet with a 193.775. Oregon State advanced to the national championship with a first-place finishing mark of 197.025.
Youth is Served
Southern Utah University will only have three upper classmen on its roster this season, in seniors Caitlin Kennedy, Michaela Chernoch and Alyssa Click. The rest of the squad will be made up of five sophomores and six freshmen.
Alyssa Click will return in 2013 as the reigning Western Athletic Conference uneven bar champion. The title is the second consecutive conference championship for the senior after having taken the title in 2011 as well.
Fellow senior Caitlin Kennedy also captured the WAC beam title in 2010.
Southern Utah University earned its 12th academic national championship in 2012, claiming the title after carrying a team cumulative GPA of 3.843. SUU hasn’t finished any lower than third in the nation during head coach Scott Bauman’s tenure of 22 years.
Season Opening Success
SUU’s season-opening score of 194.875 at UCLA on January 6 is the highest season-opening mark in school history.
Southern Utah University will be the host of the 2013 Western Athletic Conference gymnastics championships on March 23.
Follow the Thunderbirds Online
SUU gymnastics fans can follow the team online at www.suutbirds.com, on facebook (facebook.com/Southern-Utah-Thunderbirds), on twitter (twitter.com/SUUThunderbirds) and on youtube (SUU Athletics).
2013 WAC Preseason Poll
Southern Utah University was picked third in the WAC preseason coaches’ poll. SUU garnered 16 points, trailing Boise State with 25 points (five first-place votes) and Denver with 21 points and one first-place vote. Sacramento State (11 points), San Jose State (10 points) and Utah State (7 points) rounded out the list.
Head Coach Scott Bauman
Scott Bauman is in his 22nd season as head coach of the SUU gymnastics program, coming to Cedar City from Utah State. During his tenure, SUU captured the Western Athletic Conference title in 2010 along with 12 academic national championships. Bauman also coached Southern Utah’s first All-American in Elise Wheeler to three All-American citations and has led the T-Birds to NCAA Regional appearances 17 times.
Flippin’ Birds is the secondary nickname for the SUU gymnastics team and can be used interchangeably with Thunderbirds or T-Birds.
2012 Quick Recap
Southern Utah missed out on a team regional appearance for the first time in five years last season as Alyssa Click represented the Thunderbirds as an individual competitor on beam. SUU finished third at the Western Athletic Conference championships with Click capturing an uneven bar title with a school-record 9.925.