LIVE BLOG: No. 21 BYU at No. 18 Southern Utah

It’s the first intra-MRGC dual meet of the season and I’m here to live blog it all! (Un-honorable mention to Boise State at Utah State that was cancelled due to COVID protocols in the Broncos’ program.)

BYU makes the short drive south to Cedar City to take on Southern Utah. The Cougars’ second meet went somewhat better than their first meet of the season thanks to returning gymnasts from COVID protocols. It still wasn’t a perfect meet, but the Cougars are heading in the right direction. Beam scores were particularly tight last week in Lincoln, so that 195.750 could arguably be a few tenths higher. Sadie Miner-Van Tassell returned to competition last week for BYU, and she did so in grand fashion by competing all around for the first time in her career and taking the all around title. That was made possible by her competing bars (scoring a 9.800), the only event she had yet to compete in her collegiate career. Notably missing last week was floor phenom Brittney Vitkauskas—today should (hopefully) give us a better idea if it is something to be concerned about or just COVID protocols.

Southern Utah also rebounded last week to score a 196.550 after a less-than-ideal performance at the Best of Utah meet. Though an improvement from week one, beam in particular left room for more improvement for the Thunderbirds, as did landings in general. It’s unclear why Karley McClain was limited to floor, but I’d expect to eventually see her work her way back into the all around. She did have some struggles week one, so it’s not entirely surprising to see her have a small break last week. Caitlin Kho also debuted her Yurchenko one and a half last week after years of training it and notched a 9.900 for her performance.

In random, non-gymnastics related news, Southern Utah is apparently giving away an Oculus Quest 2 to a lucky individual who attends three athletic events this weekend and scans the QR code, including this meet.

Anyways, this meet is being streamed on ESPN+, the new home for Southern Utah athletics following its main conference’s switch from Pluto TV. Live stats can be found here.

SUU’s in this leo:

Rotation 1: SUU VT, BYU UB

BYU bars lineup:

Cacciola (SUU): yfull, slightly short, step forward. Not her best. 9.6

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): goof first hs; solid gienger to bail; slightly short final hs; ftdt hop forward. Solid overall! 9.7

Tervort (SUU): nice yfull, large-ish step back. 9.75

Mason (BYU): great first hs; pretty Maloney to pak, good; hits pirouette; slightly achy final hs but holds on; dlo nearly stuck. Pretty good, minus that final hs. That’s her collegiate bars debut, and it was a good one—I’ve been waiting for her to show a competitive routine since her freshman year! 9.75

Alfaro (SUU): her trademark yfull, tiny hop in place and some chest. 9.775

Hunter (BYU): great first hs; straddled tkatchev, nice; good bail hs; slightly short final hs; dlo tiny hop. 9.825

Smith (SUU): yfull on pike, think she hopped on the landing. 9.85

Beeston (BYU): slightly short first hs; gienger to bail, tiny bit of legs but good overall; milks final hs; dlo with the tiniest of hops. 9.825

C Kho (SUU): does the 1.5 again, just a step. 9.875

Alvarado (BYU): good first hs; Maloney to pak, pretty; good final hs; dlo stuck. Definitely good to have her back after missing week 1. 9.925. DESERVED. Ties her career high.

Horton (SUU): yhalf on tuck, some form and a step. 9.8

Pitou (BYU): great first hs; straddled jaeger; bail hs, good; nice final hs; ftdt with the pull your heels together stick. Great way to end the rotation! 9.9

AFTER 1: BYU 49.225, SUU 49.050

Impressive first rotation for BYU. With some more slight clean up work, this is truly a great lineup for the Cougars. Southern Utah has some landing work to do on vault. It’s still early in the season, so that should come with time. They’ll also want Karley McClain back in that lineup eventually.

Rotation 2: BYU VT, SUU UB

BYU on vault:

Mason (BYU): yfull, kind of a crunchy, short landing but minimizes the landing deduction the best she can. 9.55

Thomas (SUU): Maloney to pak, nice; good hs; dlo, stuck. Smart routine construction to minimize deductions, tbh. 9.875

Griffith (BYU): her 2022 competitive debut. yhalf, pretty form and a controlled landing. 9.875

Nipp (SUU): good first hs; straddled jaeger, good; good next hs; transitions good; another stuck DLO. what they lost on vault landings they’re making up on bars landings so far. 9.825

Pitou (BYU): solid yfull, small hop back. 9.8

C Kho (SUU): Maloney to pak, caught close but works through it; solid next hs; ftdt step. 9.75

Rollins (BYU): y half on tuck half, step. 9.675

Bentley (SUU): solid first hs; ray fleet feet to bail, some legs; short next hs; dlo, step. 9.75

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): y1.5, step. Good. 9.875

Murakami (SUU): beautiful blind change straddled jaeger, straight to bail; good final hs; ftdt STUCK. 9.95. Here for it. That ties her career high and the school record.

Benson (BYU): yfull, good distance but a good-sized hop back. 9.775

Tervort (SUU): good first hs; pretty gienger to bail good; nice final hs; dlo, leg sep and a step forward. 9.8

AFTER 2: SUU 98.250, BYU 98.225

Boy, do we have ourselves a meet! Just 0.025 currently separating these two teams. Southern Utah definitely brought it on bars, while some of BYU’s vaults left much to be desired; The Cougars were at least able to hit 49 on vault and are definitely highlighted by Miner-Van Tassell.

Rotation 3: SUU BB, BYU FX

BYU floor:

Murakami (SUU): pretty mount; bhs loso bhs, pretty; solid leaps, slightly off but barely flinches; side aerial to tuck full with a good landing. 9.775

Millar (BYU): opening double pike, small scootch. Front lay front full good; nice extension on her leaps; double tuck to solid lunge, maybe want a little more control. Good leadoff. 9.725

Smith (SUU): ro loso, secure; leap series, small check; ro 1.5 step. Little tentative, but a hit routine, which is what Southern Utah always needs. 9.825

Beeston (BYU): Front lay Rudi good; solid leaps; great double tuck to close. 9.775

Wissman (SUU): I missed her series at the beginning, but she stayed on; front toss beat jump solid; cartwheel gainer full with a step back. 9.8

Rieder (BYU): fhs front double full front tuck good; did her leaps as I was typing that, they were good; fhs Rudi, solid. 9.7

Vultaggio (SUU): bhs loso loso, hit and gorgeous; switch split, good; small check on full turn; ro 1.5 small hop. She’ll be happy with that. 9.775

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): opens with a double tuck—she’s capable of a DLO though, playing it safe is probably the move this time of the season; nice double pike; leap pass to drop to floor good; ro 1.5 front full, squatty landing but pulls it around. 9.725, yeah, they really dinged that last pass.

Nipp (SUU): front aerial beat, solid; bhs loso, off but saves it with a check; good control on leaps; gainer full, stuck but chest slightly low. Not her best. 9.725

Long wait for Dudley to go on floor.

Dudley (BYU): bouncy double pike to open; switch side wolf full, good; front full front lay better landing; double tuck, slightly short, step forward. 9.7, probably accurate but seems high in comparison to other scores.

Cacciola (SUU): first career beam routine; bhs loso, pretty good; standing loso direct to beat jump, secure; switch switch split, good; ro 1.5 small step to the side. 9.775

Vitkauskas (BYU): she’s baaaack! front double full, good; ro 1.5 to lay, solid; nice leap combo; closes with a nice Rudi. Good to have her back! 9.9. THAT’S what BYU needed to close this rotation.

AFTER 3: SUU 147.200, BYU 147.050

SUU hit beam, which in-and-of itself is an accomplishment. Kind of 9.7y, but hit regardless. I was impressed with Cacciola’s debut in particular. BYU had a solid floor rotation. There were some iffy landings which probably led to the lower scores. Vitkauskas returned, which is a definite highlight and good thing for BYU overall.

Rotation 4: BYU BB, SUU FX

BYU on beam:

Ono (BYU): bhs bhs loso, nice; pretty scale; straddle jump small pause straddle 3/4, good extension, questionable connection. gainer full, solid landing. 9.875

Horton (SUU): ro 1.5 front full good; Rudi, would like slightly more control; switch side popa, solid; ro 1.5 lay good. 9.825. I have…questions. This is fine in a vacuum. But compared to BYU? Heck no.

Pitou (BYU): bhs loso, big wobble but doesn’t come off; hitch kick straddle 1/4 good; cat leap side aerial solid. Stuck gainer full. 9.7. I guess the gifts are at least going both ways right now?

Vultaggio (SUU): double pike OOB. leaps good extension but slightly out of control; fhs front full front lay good; double tuck, barely stays in bounds. 9.575

Millar (BYU): bhs bhs loso secure; straddle straddle 3/4, good; the standalone cartwheels always throw me off; front full small hop. Good rebound routine for BYU. 9.875. I have real scoring questions rn. These make no sense in comparison to one another. UPDATE: after inquiry, this score went up to 9.875. BETTER.

McClain (SUU): her only event tonight. just a double pike to open tonight, we know she can easily put the full-in in at any time; ro 1.5 to lay good; switch half wolf full, solid; closing double tuck, good landing with a tiny front foot scootch. 9.925

McClelland (BYU): her signature mount-wolf turn combo; bhs loso, secure; secure straddle jump; beat jump double stag good; bhs tuck 1.5 small hop. 9.875

Smith (SUU): whip to double tuck, good; fine leaps, would like front foot higher on wolf positions; good Rudi. 9.85

Rollins (BYU): switch straddle 1/4 with a gorgeous straddle; front aerial bhs loso gorg; bhs lay full nearly stuck. 9.85

Nipp (SUU): nice double pike to open; fhs front full lay, kind of drags back foot forward on landing but controlled otherwise. switch ring to a leap I missed while typing, but good split positions; double tuck, controlled landing. 9.925, yeah, we’ve officially gone to the what are scores territory.

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): side aerial split jump good; bhs loso, secure; full turn, small lean; switch split. back 1.5 dismount, good. 9.7. UPDATE: after inquiry, her score has been raised to a 9.775. UPDATE 2: score was again raised from 9.775 to 9.8.

Cacciola (SUU): double tuck, large lunge, I think she went oob; solid leaps; combo pass, good; closing Rudi to a bouncy lunge. 9.725. More reasonable.

FINAL: SUU 196.450, BYU 196.425

Certainly a good meet for both teams. BYU looked good on beam to close, but still slightly confused at the distribution of scores…Southern Utah had the benefit of home floor and used it to finish with a hit rotation.

Event Winners

VT: C Kho (SUU), Griffith (BYU), Miner-Van Tassell (BYU), 9.875

UB: Murakami (SUU), 9.950

BB: Ono (BYU), McClelland (BYU), 9.875

FX: McClain (SUU), Nipp (SUU), 9.925

AA: Miner-Van Tassell (BYU), 39.100

Live blog by Tara Graeve

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.