The Flippin' Birds defended the America First Events Center once again defeating Utah State 196.600-193.425. The victory ties the all-time series between the two schools at 56 victories each. The Thunderbirds started the evening off on the vault and finished the competition with some outstanding floor routines. Graduate student Karley McClain continues to shine in the All-around competition tying her season high with an impressive 39.475 and placing first. Four different T-Birds tied for the high individual event scores of the meet including graduate student Shylen Murakami (9.925, bars), sophomore Ellie Cacciola (9.925, beam), graduate student Rachel Smith (9.925, floor), graduate student Karley McClain (9.925, floor). The Flippin' Birds swept the event scores, winning on all four apparatuses and in the all-around. Because of the performance at the meet, Flippin' Bird members were recognized by the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. Two Thunderbirds stood atop the podium on vault in SUU's result over the Aggies as sophomore Ellie Cacciola and freshman Kayla Pardue scored matching 9.850s to finish first on the event. Their effort was equaled in Provo as Boise State junior Emily Lopez scored a 9.850 on vault as the trio shared MRGC Vault Specialist of the Week honors. The award on vault is both Lopez and Pardue's second of the 2023 season. Southern Utah gymnasts were represented again on floor as seniors Karley McClain and Rachel Smith recorded 9.925s on the event. BYU senior Rebekah Bean Ripley also scored a 9.925 on floor in the Cougars' dual meet victory over Boise State making the MRGC Floor Specialist of the Week a triplet. MRGC dual meets continue this week when BYU visits Utah State in the Aggies' home opener on Friday, Jan. 27. Southern Utah will face Boise State in Boise that same day, also in the Broncos' 2023 home opener. The 2023 MRGC Championships will be hosted by Southern Utah on Saturday, March 18. You can get tickets at

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