The Aggies return to 11 gymnasts from last year’s team who enjoyed one of their best seasons in the program’s history, as the Aggies competed in their 26th NCAA Regional Championship, including the first since 2017.
When the dust finally ran out, the state of Utah finished the year in 25th place in the country, its best place since finishing 15th in 1999. The Aggies also tied for 25th place in 1998.
Also, the Aggies welcome the junior back Sofi Sullivan, which opted for its second season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve never been more excited about an official first day of training since I’ve been here,” the 50-year-old head coach said. Amy Smith, who won the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (MRGC) Coach of the Year awards in 2020. “Last Thursday we had the best day of testing and everyone on the team has raised their level, from way we’re starting far beyond what we’ve had in years past, which is beyond exciting.
“We also just came out of the most productive retirement weekend we’ve ever had. The team has bought completely, from top to bottom, which was a very welcome nuance from years past. The energy in the gym was intentional, focused and fun, it was amazing. We look forward to another stellar year for Aggie Gymnastics. “
The state of Utah achieved 49 or better rounds in six consecutive games last season, which set a school record. The Aggies set a school record of 49,005 at the event, marking the first time in program history that they have averaged 49 or more. USU achieved three of its best results in school history with 49,225 (tied for third) at the Denver meet and a pair of 49,175 (tied for fifth) at both BYU and Utah.
At the 2021 NCAA Regional Championships in West Valley City, the Aggies recorded their highest lap score in a regional meet with 49,075, improving on the 48,950 set at the 2017 NCAA Seattle Regional.
Grace Rojas, one of the team’s three seniors this year, led the state of Utah to the bars in 2021, averaging 9,809 at the event, ranking third in school history . As a team, the Aggies averaged 48,877, good enough to get the fourth-best in school history. The state of Utah scored a 49,025 bar at the NCAA Regional Championships, which is the second best score the team has ever achieved in a regional meeting.
The Aggies achieved 49 or better in Rays in nine straight games, setting a school record, and averaged 49,032 in the event, which ranks second in school history. The state of Utah recorded three of its best scores in school history in 2021 with a 49,400 (third) at the Denver meet, a 49,275 (tied for fifth) against southern Utah and a 49,225 (tied for eighth) in southern Utah.
As a team, the Aggies averaged 49,036 on the floor, which ranks fourth in school history.
The state of Utah recorded three of the best team scores in the school’s history in 2021 with a 196,775 (third) at the Denver meet, a 196,600 (tied for fifth) at BYU and a 196,500 (seventh) ) in Utah. Within the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum friendly limits, the Aggies had 196,250 at the MRGC Championships and 196,225 against southern Utah, which ranks seventh and eighth at home.
The state of Utah achieved four of its best results in school season history with 196,775 (third) at the Denver meet, 196,600 (fourth) at BYU, 196,500 (fifth) at Utah and 196,250 (seventh) to Boise State.
In addition to Rojas (VT, UB, BB) and Sullivan (AA), the State of Utah also welcomes seniors back Carley Bayles (UB, BB) i Anique Grenier (UB), juniors Lexi Aragon (UB, BB), Maia Fishwick (AA), Jessica Gutierrez (UB, BB, FX), Ariel Toomey (AA) i Rebecca Wells (AA) and sophomores Brianna Brooks (AA), Eve Jackson (AA) i Angel Stuart (VT, UB, FX).
“We had a great start,” Rojas said of the team’s first practice of the season. “We provided energy and the gym looks great, but we still have a long way to go. We are ready to attack the preseason to put us in the best position of the season. We are delighted with what is to come.”
Utah State welcomes seven newcomers to the team this year in freshman Molly Arnold (VT, UB, FX), Trinity Brown (AA), Brie Clark (AA), Amari Evans (VT, UB, FX) , Danika Kirstine (VT, UB), BB), Kielyn McCrieght (UB, BB, FX) and Brooke Wilson (AA).
For more information on the Utah state gymnastics program, follow Aggies on Twitter at @USUGymnastics, on Facebook at UtahStateGymnastics and on Instagram at USUGymnastics.