BOISE, Idaho--Behind by a quarter point entering the final rotation, the #15 Boise State gymnastics team came through with an amazing finish on floor to win the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship at Taco Bell Area tonight. The Broncos' score of 197.025, which came on the heels of a school record 197.325 last weekend, marks the first time in school history that the Boise State team posted back-to-back scores of 197 or better.
“I’m speechless, and that never happens,” said co-head coach Neil Resnick on the magnitude of the night. “Anyone who knows me knows that never happens. I really am. It’s almost like a dream.”
Thanks to a superb performance by Southern Utah, the Broncos had to battle for the win. The Thunderbirds opened up a surprising lead, 49.225 to 48.975 for Boise State, and the Broncos opened on what has been one of their best events--vault. Brigham Young had 48.800 in the opening rotation on beam, while Utah State scored 48.925 on floor. Mackenzie Bennion and Ann Stockwell led the Broncos with 9.850 scores while Mary Francis Bir added a 9.825.
Southern Utah moved to beam, while the Broncos headed to the uneven bars. The Broncos rose to the occasion, with not one performer scoring less than 9.85. Krystine Jacobsen wowed the crowd with what was thought to be a perfect "10", until it was revealed that at least one judge did not score her routine as a 10. Jacobsen wound up with a 9.975 to tie her own school record and teammate Diane Mejia chipped in with a superb performance that received a 9.925.
Natalie Trejo of Southern Utah scored a 9.925 on beam, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Broncos' score, and after two rotations, Boise State had more than made up for the difference with a sizzling 49.450 for a two-rotation score of 98.425. The Broncos' bar score of 49.450 was the fifth-highest in school history. Southern Utah was second with a team score of 98.300. BYU, which showed tremendous improvement from earlier in the year, had 98.075, while Utah State totaled 97.950.
Lest anyone thought that the Broncos had assumed command, the Thunderbirds again showed their stuff on the floor with an amazing 49.400 score. Boise State performed admirably on the beam with a 49.025, but heading into the final event, SUU retook the lead, 147.700 to 147.450 for the Broncos. BYU remained in third with a total of 147.100, with Utah State at 146.950.
In order to repeat as conference champions, the Broncos would have to make up a quarter-point in the final rotation of the day. Boise State warmed up on the floor while Southern Utah readied themselves on vault. A feeling of nervousness was evident in the hometown fans, but if the Boise State gymnasts felt it, they didn't show it.
All eyes were on the Bronco floor routines and the Southern Utah vaults.
Paige Urquhart led off with a career-high 9.875 for the Broncos while Caitlyn Kessel managed a 9.725 for the Thunderbirds. Madyson Blake posted a 9.775 on vault for Southern Utah and Boise State's Ann Stockwell scored 9.700. After the first two scores in the last rotation, the Broncos had cut into the lead. They now trailed the Thunderbirds 167.200 to 167.025.
Stacie Webb scored 9.775 for SUU on vault before freshman Shani Remme earned a 9.900 for the Broncos. Senior Maddie Krentz took center stage for Boise State coachesResnick and Tina Bird and rang up a career-high of 9.95. Boise State had made up the deficit and now led Southern Utah, 186.875 to 186.825. Two performers remained for each team with the Broncos now holding a razor-thin lead.
Virginia Brownsell scored a 9.750 for the Thunderbirds and Sandra Collantes turned in another sensational performance for the Broncos worth 9.95. Going into the final performer, Boise State led 196.825 to 196.600.
When Trejo posted a 9.625 for Southern Utah, the Broncos clinched the championship. But Jacobsen punctuated it with a 9.900 to give Boise State its first back-to-back scores of 197 or better in school history. Boise State set a school mark for team score last weekend (197.325) in a tri-meet with Southern Utah and San Jose State.
“That was the best moment of the night,” said Bird on Jacobsen’s routine. “Everyone thought we were crying because we won, but it was because Krystine had been struggling, and came through in a moment of such intense pressure. She came through and nailed her highest score of the season.”
The Broncos' clutch floor routines gave the team a school record-tying 49.575.
The championship is the second straight and sixth conference title for Bird and Resnick (two in the MRGC and four in the Western Athletic Conference). In a vote of league coaches, Bird and Resnick were named MRGC Co-Coaches of the Year, while Remme captured MRGC Freshman of the Year honors.
Seedings and regional pairings will be announced on the NCAA Gymnastics Selection Show Monday at 2 p.m. Mountain Time.