Flippin’ Birds best BYU with season-high team performance

Southern Utah University’s gymnastics team hosted conference team Brigham Young University on Feb. 3. Despite falling behind in the first half of the meet, the Flippin’ Birds emerged victorious. 

The win not only kept SUU at No. 1 in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference, but with a final score of 196.925-196.475, Southern Utah also earned a new team high score for the 2023 season. 

All-around gymnast Karley McClain also claimed her spot as Gymnast of the Week for the fifth week in a row with a score of 39.475, as well as Floor Specialist of the Week for the fourth week in a row.


SUU had a slow start on the vault, falling behind almost instantly with a total score of 48.900 while BYU stretched ahead with a 49.225. MRGC’s previous Vault Specialists of the Week, Kayla Pardue and McClain, tied for SUU’s high score on the vault with a 9.825. Another previous Vault Specialist of the Week, Ellie Cacciola, followed with a 9.775. BYU gymnast Sydney Benson took the high score with a 9.875.


Southern Utah closed the gap considerably on the bars, scoring a 49.250 against BYU’s 48.975. Shylen Murakami earned a 9.900, giving her the second highest score on the bars. McClain took third with a 9.875. BYU’s Lindsey Hunter scored a 9.925, earning her Bar Specialist of the Week. 


After two events, BYU led the Flippin’ Birds by a narrow margin of 98.200-98.150; however, with excellent performers, SUU was able to pull ahead. Cacciola and Hailey Vultaggio tied for the second highest score with a 9.900. Aubri Schwartze followed with a 9.850. BYU’s Mina Margraf earned both the meet’s high score and Beam Specialist of the Week with a 9.925.


SUU began their strongest event ahead at 147.425-147.200, and there was no stopping the Flippin’ Birds. Each performance was full of energy and crisp landings. McClain earned a 9.950, the meet’s floor high score. Schwartze followed with a 9.925, and Vultaggio earned a 9.900, the gymnasts claiming second and third high score of the meet. 

Looking Ahead

For the next meet, the Flippin’ Birds will travel to BYU in hopes of maintaining their perfect conference record. The meet will take place on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. MST. 


Article By Audrey Gee


Photos courtesy of SUU Athletics