LIVE BLOG: No. 23 Southern Utah at No. 19 BYU

Happy Friday MRGC dual day!

We should be in for another close meet, folks. The MRGC is currently the only conference to have all of its teams in the top 25; further, all of them occupy four of the seven spots from No. 19 to No. 25. Talk about close!

BYU has found its groove in the mid-196s and will look to its home crowd to give it an extra boost. Both of the team’s two highest scores came at home; can this be the day the Cougars go 197? I’m not counting it out at home, but it will likely take slightly better and more put together meets than the Cougars have been having. Senior Sadie Miner-Van Tassell continues to excel in the all around, while Anyssa Alvarado is having a quietly excellent season on bars. Don’t forget to tune in for the entire meet to catch BYU’s floor routines—you won’t want to dip out early!

Southern Utah is coming off a near-197 at home last week. That last 0.025 is the difference between 2 judges disagreeing by 0.05. The 197 is within reach for the Thunderbirds, they just need to perform to the best of their abilities. Shylen Murakami performed her stunning bar routine to the tune of a 9.975 last week, which ties the conference bars record and surpasses Southern Utah’s school record (9.950) that she previously held. Karley McClain also went 9.925 on floor and is returning to form; she still hasn’t made her all around debut but is slated for all but vault per the team’s meet notes. Southern Utah hasn’t come out on top in Provo since 2016. Will this be the night?

BYUtv has this meet, and scores can be found here.

Rotation 1: BYU VT, SUU UB

BYU VT lineup:

Pitou (BYU): yfull, tiny hop on landing. 9.8

Thomas (SUU): Maloney to pak, some leg sep but solid; good final hs; clean dlo, hop back. Good leadoff! 9.85

Rollins (BYU): yfull on tuck half, step back. More like a 3/4 on and finishes rotation in the air…9.825

Schwartze (SUU): pretty piked jaeger, hits next hs; bail hs solid, arguably the tiniest bit short of vertical; hits the final hs, though; blind full double tuck tinyyyy hop. 9.8

Mason (BYU): clean yfull, small hop back. 9.825

Nipp (SUU): nails first hs; blind change straddled jaeger, works through a close catch; stuck dlo. 9.925

Griffith (BYU): yhalf, drills the landing this time! 9.875

Bentley (SUU): solid first hs; ray to bail, hit; slightly short final hs; dlo, drills the landing for a stick. SUU’s bringing it tonight! 9.925 – career high!

Benson (BYU): clean yfull, tiny slide back. 9.9

Murakami (SUU): arches first hs but saves it and brings it in well; straddled jaeger to bail good; hits final hs; ftdt STUCK. WOW. These landings. 9.9

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): y1.5, tiny hop forward. Great way to end the rotation. 9.875

McClain (SUU): clear hip gienger, nice; solid bail; hits final hs; DLO, hop forward.

Tervort went in exhibition on bars for SUU, I missed most of the routine not knowing there was an exhibition, but she had a nice dismount.

Another SUU exhibition that we didn’t get an ID of…solid first hs; straddled tkatchev, good; stalder connected to bail, something you don’t see very often, dlo, hop back with a slightly low chest.

AFTER 1: SUU 49.450, BYU 49.300

All I can say is WOW Southern Utah. That was quite the way to start the meet, and the score reflects it! That 49.450 is a program record on bars. I’m slightly shocked to see BYU’s vault come in with that high of a team total with the amount of low 9.8s, but the Cougars will be happy with that start to the meet.

Rotation 2: SUU VT, BYU UB

BYU on bars:

Vultaggio (SUU): yfull, pretty clean in air, just a hop back. 9.725…that wasn’t that much worse than any of the BYU vaults, none of which went below 9.8.

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): good first hs; clean gienger to bail; Solid final hs; ftdt hop back. Nice way to start off for BYU! 9.8

Tervort (SUU): yfull, preflight leg sep but drills the landing, slightly low chest. 9.825

Mason (BYU): Maloney, peels off on the catch. She’s rattled. Repeats the skill to get connection, straight to pak, good this time! dlo, tiny hop. She’s such a pretty bars worker – really a shame about the initial fall! 9.325

Alfaro (SUU): yfull, hop back, but clean otherwise. 9.825

Hunter (BYU): straddled tkatchev, good; hits bail; nails final hs; dlo, takes a couple of steps back but good for her for not sitting it. Definitely looked like the was about to sit it. 9.775

Smith (SUU): yfull on pike, solid landing. 9.85

Beeston (BYU): clean gienger directly to bail; nice final hs; dlo, hop step back. That’s the routine BYU wanted. 9.775

C Kho (SUU): y1.5, normal sized step forward. 9.825

Alvarado (BYU): great first hs; Maloney to pak gorg; hits final hs; dlo with tiny foot movement. There we go! 9.925

Barney (SUU): yfull, lands with low chest and ends up taking a step back. Went for the stick and couldn’t quite get it. 9.7

Pitou (BYU): normally great on this event, coming off a fall last week. She’ll need to put that behind her. straddled jaeger clean; next hs good; hits bail hs; ftdt, nearly stuck but ends up taking a last-minute tiny step. 9.875

Benson (BYU, exh): misses a foot on her toe on but doesn’t let it get to her; straddled tkatchev, bail fine; dlo step back.

AFTER 2: SUU 98.500, BYU 98.450

We’ve got a close one! SUU wasn’t near as good on vault as it started on bars, but it was a solid rotation. I would still like to know, where is Karley McClain on vault? The Thunderbirds did just enough to be on 197 pace after 2. BYU didn’t have the bars rotation that it’s used to, either; the Cougars will want to find consistency on the event going forward.

Rotation 3: BYU BB, SUU FX

BYU beam lineup:

Ono (BYU): bhs bhs loso, check with a hip bend; straddle straddle 3/4, solid; cartwheel gainer full, small hop forward. 9.575

Horton (SUU): wolf jump full, solid; ro 1.5 lay full, nice; rudi, slightly bouncy landing; switch side popa, good positions overall; ro 1.5 to lay, shows intentional control but does end up bringing her front foot back. 9.825

We’ve got a judges conference on beam.

Commentators are saying the Big 12 commissioner has been on the BYU campus for the past 2 days. BYU will be moving to the Big 12 starting in the 2024 season (official move comes in July 2023).

McClelland (BYU): hits wolf turn; bhs loso, secure; straddle beat double stag jump, small pause between beat and stag; hits her dismount well enough. 9.8

Smith (SUU): starting with some Beyonce music! whip to double pike, lots of power and lifts front foot a few inches in the air after her initial lunge; triple leap series, nice; clean rudi for her last pass. 9.825

Margraf (BYU): moving calmly so far; front aerial back tuck, secure; Guard Young calls the beam the “beamfense” of gymnastics since there is no defense in gymnastics; solid split positions; front full, holds onto landing. 9.775

McClain (SUU): big double pike to open, well controlled; ro 1.5 to lay, very clean; leaps good; double tuck, stuck before bringing it to a controlled lunge. 9.9

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): side aerial to split jump, slightly slow connection; bhs loso, rock solid; oh, apparently she wasn’t sure if she would come back this year – her husband is wrestling at Nebraska and it’s a big sacrifice for the family for her to be here. Glad she stayed! ro 1.5 stuck. 9.9

Schwartze (SUU): fhs double full, lots of power – kind of drags foot after landing; great positions on her triple leap-jump series; fhs rudi loso, great extension that makes her gymnastics so pretty! 9.875

Rollins (BYU): switch straddle 1/4, good; front aerial bhs loso, secure; bhs gainer full, tiny foot movement. 9.95

Nipp (SUU): great double pike to open; fhs front full front lay, good control; gorgeous split positions; double tuck, holds onto the landing. Another nice set for SUU. 9.9

Millar (BYU): bhs bhs loso, small check – less severe than Ono’s; another check on her full turn; good split positions; front full, small hop forward. 9.675 UPDATE: raised post-meet to 9.725

Vultaggio (SUU): double pike, barely in bounds; solid leaps; fhs front full front lay, well-controlled; double tuck, slightly short with a step forward. 9.825

Mason (BYU, exh): bhs loso secure; cat leap side aerial beat, good; switch split, solid; ro 1.5 small hop. That’s a routine you wouldn’t mind in the lineup if needed.

K Kho (SUU, exh): front lay front full, slightly short of rotation and takes a couple steps back; solid leaps; short double pike, hands down. Not her best.

AFTER 3: SUU 147.825, BYU 147.550

SUU extends its lead going into the final rotation. The 197 is very much within reach at this point; all that stands in the Thunderbirds’ way is beam. BYU didn’t have any falls on beam, but a couple shaky routines led to a not-ideal rotation. Rollins’ 9.950 was the definite highlight.

Rotation 4: SUU BB, BYU FX

BYU floor lineup:

Murakami (SUU): very pretty mount sequence that shows her flexibility; bhs loso bhs, small lean; split jump sheep jump, secure; side aerial lay full, slightly off to side but stuck. 9.775

Hunter (BYU): double stag jump full to open; rudi loso, good; leap combo solid; SWEET CAROLINE music; back 1.5 front lay, clean landing. 9.9 – career high for her.

Smith (SUU): ro loso series, rock solid; leap combo, secure; ro 1.5, small step. She’ll be happy with that! 9.925

Beeston (BYU): they call her routine “the evolution of dance”. Cue that one YouTube video, lol. front lay rudi good; solid leap combo; double tuck, absorbs the landing well. 9.925

Vultaggio (SUU): bhs loso loso, tiny check; hits the rest of her elements well; ro 1.5 small hop. 9.9

Benson (BYU): clean double tuck to open; good extension on her leaps; front lay front full, sits it; double pike, hands down. Not ideal for BYU. 8.325

Nipp (SUU): front aerial beat, secure; bhs loso, her hips are crooked but she somehow saves it – just a check; beautiful split positions; stuck gainer full. 9.725

Rieder (BYU): fhs double full front punch to open, I’m always impressed that she does the front punch out of the double full! solid enough leap connection, maybe slightly out of control if I’m being picky; ro loso for her back tumbling req; fhs rudi, slightly tentative landing. 9.875

Schwartze (SUU): bhs loso, she’s crooked and comes off; beat jump loso, good; split jump sheep jump, secure; side aerial tuck full stuck. 9.3

Miner-Van Tassell (BYU): dlo, good; double pike, another great pass with nice control; solid leaps; ro 1.5 front full, very nice. 9.950

Cacciola (SUU): let’s see if she can hit this routine! bhs loso, secure; standing loso to beat jump, solid; switch switch split, slight hesitation before the split jump; ro 1.5, step forward. Nice way to close for SUU, and big props to the freshman for hitting under pressure! 9.85

Vitkauskas (BYU): opening front double full, good; back 1.5 to front lay solid as ever; switch side popa, good positions; closes with a clean rudi. 9.975

Ripley (BYU, exh): short double pike, hands down; missed the beginning. She apparently exhibitioned vault too.

K Kho (SUU, exh): solid leaps, we missed the beginning; stuck gainer pike.

Heaton (BYU, exh): front lay front full front tuck, barely pulls it around; ro double tuck, solid. Nice exhibition for her.

FINAL: BYU 197.175, SUU 197.000

BYU used a massive floor total to inch ahead of SUU. We love BYU home floor. Beam wasn’t perfect for SUU, but it did just enough to hit the elusive 197. We’ve got our first 2 MRGC 197s, folks!

Event Winners

VT: Benson (BYU), 9.900

UB: Nipp, Bentley (SUU), Alvarado (BYU), 9.925

BB: Rollins (BYU), 9.950

FX: Vitkauskas (BYU), 9.975

AA: Miner-Van Tassell (BYU), 39.525

Live blog by Tara Graeve

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