FULLERTON, Calif. - March 27 - Southern Utah swept each individual title with the exception of floor en route to its first ever Western Athletic Conference gymnastics championship on Saturday night. In addition to the team title, Scott Bauman was named WAC Coach of the Year, Elise Wheeler Gymnast of the Year and Alyssa Click Freshman of the Year.
"This is the greatest night of my career," head coach Scott Bauman said after the meet. "I'm so proud of what the girls have accomplished this year and look forward to our chances at regionals in a few weeks."
Southern Utah began the meet on bars and was off to a rocky start with its lowest team score of the night with a 48.525. Wheeler led the T-Birds on the event with a 9.875 to claim the individual title and collect first-team all-WAC honors. Jenna Vogt (9.700), Ari Lamb (9.700), Click (9.675) and Melissa Johnson (9.575) rounded out the team score for the T-Birds.
SUU then moved to beam, scoring the first of three 49's on the night with a 49.075. Freshman Caitlin Kennedy bounced back from a rough bar set (9.000) to capture the individual title with a 9.875, tying Sacramento State's Cayla Boyce and Boise State's Amy Glass as the group garnered first-team all-conference honors. Wheeler and Lamb collected second-team all-conference honors, finishing fourth and sixth with marks of 9.850 and 9.825.
Following a bye, Southern Utah returned to competition on floor and matched its best score of the night with a 49.100. Wheeler finished as the top T-Bird with a 9.875, earning first-team all-conference honors while finishing tied for second. Lindsey Schultz also garnered all-conference honors with second-team accolades after finishing in fifth place with a score of 9.850. Shannon Coughlin (9.800), Bailey Baker (9.800) and Click rounded out the team score with a 9.775.
The Thunderbirds finished on vault and matched the 49.100 to finish strong as Johnson matched a career-high with a 9.925 to win the event. Baker was named second-team all-conference with a 9.850, fourth-place finish to place as the second-best 'Bird on the event. A trio of 9.775's by Kennedy, Schultz and Wheeler rounded out the team score to give the T-Birds their final score of 195.800.
Boise State suffered a fall on bars early in the meet, proving the be the difference at the end as the Broncos finished second with a team score of 195.700. Utah State (193.675), San Jose State (193.600), Cal State Fullerton (193.175) and Sacramento State (192.650) filled out the rest of the team finishes.
Wheeler finished the meet, claiming the all-around title with a mark of 39.375 en route to her second consecutive WAC Gymnast of the Year title.
Southern Utah will now turn its attentions to the NCAA Regionals which will take place during the second weekend of April. The venue where the T-Birds will compete is yet to be determined, but will be announced in the coming weeks.