LIVE BLOG: No. 21 Southern Utah at No. 37 Boise State

Don’t be fooled by that ranking for Boise State: The Broncos may have had a slow start to the season, but this is a potentially formidable team heading into its home opener. We’re still waiting to see what the Broncos can do once they really get into their groove, but at this point, it would be silly to consider this team borderline for regionals.

Southern Utah has started the 2023 season hot despite the relative absence of its strong freshman class. The resurgence of fifth-year Karley McClain has been a huge difference-maker for the Thunderbirds. They’re a heavy favorite even on the road, but keep an eye on the final score, since this is a team that conventionally hurts a little for NQS road scores. SUU’s current road high is 196.175, which is far from shabby, but exceeding that number today would be great news for the future NQS.

Rotation 1: Boise State VT, Southern Utah UB

Nakayama (BSU): NCAA debut! FTY, piked down a little with a hop to the side. 9.7

C. Kho (SUU): Maloney to Pak, leg separation throughout, late half turn on the low bar. Short on a cast handstand, toe on to FTDB with a bit of form and a tiny hop back. 9.8

S. Kho (BSU): FTY, nice and square but not the highest, slightly soft in the hips with a tiny hop back. 9.65

All three Kho sisters in action tonight, middle child Kaylee is coming up later!

Schwartze (SUU): Pike Jaeger, bit of feet, arches a handstand slightly, good bail. Shy on a handstand, blind full double back just a little short with a hop. 9.825

Vulaj (BSU): Full on pike off, nice and clean, medium hop back. 9.825

McClain (SUU): Clear hip to Gienger, tiniest leg flicker, to bail. Double layout, a smidge short but hangs onto the stick with an arm swing.

Popp (BSU): FHS pike half high and beautiful, maybe a little overcooked, pretty extensive skip-hop back. 9.725

Murakami (SUU): Blind a little late to Jaeger to overshoot, great. Nailing the handstands, full out stuck. Super clean. 9.875

Lopez (BSU): Gorgeous FTY, nice straight hips, tiny scoot back. Really good one. 9.85

Neff (SUU): Small arch on the first handstand, Maloney to bail is nice and clean, blind full double back with a pace forward.

Blackson (BSU): FTY, not doing her 10.0 vault yet. Not the highest I’ve seen from her but fine, bigger hop. 9.675

Goodman (SUU): Blind with a little bit of leg separation to pike Jaeger, little arch on a handstand, Pak with flexed feet. Blind full double back with a small step forward.

After 1: Southern Utah 49.100, Boise State 48.775

Solid, if not perfect, start from both teams. Boise is going to need a little more amplitude on vault, while SUU arched a lot of handstands: Being aggressive on handstands is great, but that’s still a deduction.

Both teams heading to strengths now. Boise bars, even in the post-Muhlenhaupt era, can be spectacular.

Rotation 2: Southern Utah VT, Boise State UB

Vultaggio (SUU): FTY, piked down a bit with a big hop back. 9.65 yeah these judges aren’t messing around.

Little (BSU): Maloney, shapey, to Pak with a little bit of feet. Solid half pirouette, maybe shy on a handstand, piked double layout with a step back.

Cacciola (SUU): Solid FTY, relatively good body position, small hop back. 9.8

Nakayama (BSU): From nothing to two events, good for her! Short on her first handstand, Maloney to Pak with leg separation, way too close and barely catches, loses form for a second and has to take an extra swing to cast out. FTDB with a hop back. 8.975

McClain (SUU): Nice high FTY, smidge of hip angle as she approaches the mat, small hop back. 9.775

McGovern (BSU): Doesn’t make the first handstand, clear hip to Gienger to overshoot with some leg form throughout. Full out, step back. 9.675

Kho (SUU): One and a half, solid amplitude, runs out of it. That was at least two large steps. 9.725

Hamby (BSU): Ray to overshoot, nice and clean. Shy on a handstand, double layout stuck. NICE. A real step up from what we’ve seen from this lineup so far. 9.85

Pardue (SUU): One and a half, good, some leg sep toward the end but just a pace forward. 9.825

Lopez (BSU): Blind to pike Jaeger, super clean, very straight bail. Pretty double layout with a tiny hop forward. 9.925

Smith (SUU): Full on tuck off, nice and clean, pace back. 9.75 oh come on. Anti-fun.

Blackson (BSU): Super clean bail, blind to Markelov fantastic, crowd goes wild. Just shy on a handstand, drills her double layout. 9.925

After 2: Southern Utah 97.975, Boise State 97.950

Razor-thin here in Boise. The Broncos got hot at the end of that bars rotation and got a great score out of their best event, while Southern Utah needed a little more control on vault landings.

Rotation 3: Boise State BB, Southern Utah FX

Vulaj (BSU): Gainer BHS to LOSO, soft knees and a medium check. Switch switch gainer LOSO, wow. Nice kickover front, one and a half twist stuck. 9.8

Vultaggio (SUU): Nice double pike. Side pass, one and a half front lay and STEPS OUT. Oh no. Double tuck, solid. 9.675

Little (BSU): BHS LOSO, pretty tentative, full turn. Switch to straddle quarter. Front aerial to beat is pretty. One and a half, little scoot forward. 9.825

Cacciola (SUU): Double tuck short, step forward. Front full front lay, slightly awkward landing, switch ring switch half. Rudi to split to close, not sure she made that split. 9.775

Elkabchi (BSU): Pretty BHS LOSO, beat jump side aerial, nice and steady so far. Tuck jump to straddle half, check. One and a half twist, medium hop forward. 9.775

Smith (SUU): Whip to double tuck. Comes in a little low, works through. Tour jete half split full Shushunova, nice and high. Rudi to split, nice and clean. 9.8

Lopez (BSU): BHS LOSO BHS, looks a little wonky but works through, solid leaps, kickover front. Gainer full… and her feet were off screen but my suspicion is there was movement. Yeah, definite scoot back.

McClain (SUU): Great double pike, nice clean landing. One and a half front lay, super clean leg form. Nailed the double back. Awesome. Scotty in the background threw his arms out and I’m pretty sure he yelled “COME ON” which is about right, that rocked. (I’m bad at lip reading, you’ve been warned.) 9.9

Loyim (BSU): BHS LOSO LOSO, nice! Full turn, an instant of hesitation but no problem, solid side aerial. Switch switch. That’s a difficult combo and the Broncos are making it work. Gainer full stuck. 9.925!

Schwartze (SUU): Lost my stream for a second, just got her Rudi LOSO which looked great. Sorry Aubri.

Popp (BSU): BHS BHS 2 foot layout, little scoot but good. Got the leaps, gainer full stuck, short and sweet.

Gull (SUU): Double pike, short with low chest. One and a half front lay a little awkward. Tour jete wolf full, just short of full rotation, nice double tuck. Not going to be a huge score but I imagine she can exceed the 9.675 from the lead off. 9.75, that’ll do nicely.

After 3: Boise State 147.250, Southern Utah 147.000

Very solid score in the making for both teams here, but WOW, Boise State beam. Magnificent rotation there from the Broncos. Just one to go to wrap up their first grown-up score of the 2023 season.

Rotation 4: Southern Utah BB, Boise State FX

Murakami (SUU): BHS LOSO BHS, really steady, split jump to sheep jump with a check. BHS gainer full stuck. No drama. 9.875

Vulaj (BSU): One and a half front full, that punch didn’t look quite right, low with soft knees but made it just fine. Switch tour jete full was CHAOTIC. Great double pike.

Smith (SUU): Round off LOSO, check. Tour jete 1/4 is nowhere near split. Full turn, check. One and a half twist with a step back. 9.8

Lucas (BSU): Double pike, maybe a touch short but lunged out fine. Switch side split full OK. One and a half front lay a tiny bit bouncy. Double tuck short, step forward. 9.725

Cacciola (SUU): Nice delicate full turn, BHS LOSO good. Beat jump to LOSO. Switch switch split, nice and easy. One and a half twist with a hop. Nice one. 9.875

Loyim (BSU): Nice whip double tuck. Front tuck for the requirements, double pike a little short with a bit of a rebound. 9.5… I might have missed something here, that last pass wasn’t THAT bad.

Schwartze (SUU): BHS LOSO, solid. Full turn. Beat to LOSO, tiny foot adjustment but no fuss beyond that. Split sheep beat, difficult and clean, gainer full drilled. NICE. 9.825

Popp (BSU): Double layout, mistimed the set, double layout super short and dives forward to stand it up. Switch half Popa underrotated. Front full front lay great. 9.325

McClain (SUU): BHS LOSO, major leg-up check. Switch to split, a little short of the positions I think, cat leap side aerial. Split to straddle quarter, full turn, one and a half twist with a hop. 9.6

McGovern (BSU): Rudi to LOSO, not the cleanest but shows off the landing. Switch half tuck one and a half is a little bit of a struggle to rotate but we got there. Solid double back. 9.825

Vultaggio (SUU): BHS LOSO LOSO, extra step. Switch to split, looked unsteady in the middle but got it, full turn. One and a half twist with a tiny scoot back. That’ll do to drop the McClain score. 9.9!!

Blackson (BSU): 9.875 is the mark for a 196 for the Broncos. I don’t think this is winnable. Front double full punch front, fabulous landing, some of the Broncos have been dropping their head back as they present and I love the drama. Tour jete half to split full, super precise rotation. NICE two and a half twist. Fabulous. 9.575 uhh I’m gonna be asking my judge friend about this one because I’m confused

FINAL: Southern Utah 196.275, Boise State 195.700

Great meet, everyone should walk away from this one happy. It’s a season high for the Broncos by a fair chunk, and a well-deserved one. The leg events will warm up as the season goes on and fitness increases, but bars and beam rocked. For Southern Utah, this is a road season high that will be very appreciated when NQS season comes around.

VT: Emily Lopez 9.850
UB: Emily Lopez, Courtney Blackson 9.925
BB: Emma Loyim, Adriana Popp 9.925
FX: Karley McClain 9.900
AA: Karley McClain 39.100 (only competitor)

READ THIS NEXT: Talia Little Overcomes Hearing Loss to Compete for Boise State

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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