Name: Kyle Cottam
Southern Utah gymnastics made the most of a home crowd of over 5,000 in the Centrum Arena on Friday night to upset No. 5 UCLA, 194.750-194.425. The Thunderbirds were led by Brooke Cersosimo in the all-around with a career-high 39.150 and Shannon Coughlin on floor as she captured the title with a 9.850.
"This was an incredible meet tonight," head coach Scott Bauman said at the end of the night. "The crowd really made all the difference. I don't want to take anything away from our gymnasts, but that crowd was what really helped us win by three-tenths tonight."
Flippin' Birds fans are encouraged to come out in force yet again this Friday, January 21, when SUU will face off against Sacramento State in the Centrum Arena at 7 p.m.
Of the UCLA match, the Thunderbirds got off to a rocky start as true freshman Doniele Volopich landed short on her vault, scoring an 8.950. However, the team bounced back and finished the rotation 5-for-5 with Bailey Pendley leading the way with a 9.875. The Bruins also encountered a slow start, suffering a pair of falls on bars. Following the first rotation, the T-Birds had a lead of 48.825 to UCLA's 48.250.
Southern Utah recorded another 5-of-5 rotation on bars with Cersosimo recording a career-high 9.750 on the event to pace the Thunderbirds. Volopich wasn't far behind as she put her vault behind her and scored a career-high 9.700 on bars to tie with Lauren Jeffrey (9.700) for second on the team. However, UCLA bounced back on vault, scoring a 49.125 to take the lead 97.375 to 97.225. The Bruins were led by Olivia Courtney as the freshman tallied a 9.900 to win the event.
SUU suffered a third fall during the night on beam, but began the rotation with five successful routines to post a 48.625. The Thunderbirds were led by Cersosimo as the junior recorded a 9.800 and was followed by Ari Lamb with a 9.750. The Bruins had the most problems of the night on floor as a pair of gymnasts suffered falls and a third was given a neutral deduction for stepping out of bounds. In the end, UCLA would finish the rotation with a team score of 47.950 as the Thunderbirds retook the lead 145.850-145.325.
The final rotation was close as UCLA's first five gymnasts did not score anything lower than a 9.775 on beam, including a 9.875 from Courtney who ultimately took the beam title. However, Southern Utah also finished strong, going 6-for-6 on floor with Coughlin leading the way with a gold-medal performance of 9.850. The effort spelled victory for the T-Birds with the eventual 194.750-194.425 win.
Cersosimo finished second in the all-around with her 39.150 as UCLA's Olivia Courtney took the title with a 39.300.
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