McBride Twins Lead SUU Gymnastics into 2020 season

Posted: December 01, 2019 | Author: Connor Aste | Read Time: 5 minutes

Madison and Megan McBride

If you were to see Madison and Megan McBride competing in the floor routine at a Southern Utah University gymnastics meet, you would probably have a tough time telling them apart. The identical twins are in their final year competing for the SUU gymnastics team, and despite their striking similarities, it’s their vastly different personalities and individual success that makes them stand out.

Entering his 29th year as SUU Gymnastics head coach, Scotty Bauman knows natural gymnasts when he sees them and he took notice of the twins long before their time at SUU. In middle school the pair participated in SUU’s summer gymnastics camps and in high school they competed for the club All American Gymnastics in their hometown of Orem, Utah.

“We’ve been impressed with them as gymnasts for years, but what really won us over was that they have impeccable integrity,” said Coach Bauman. “They are the hardest working individuals you’ll ever meet.”

The sisters have been competing together their whole lives and made an immediate impact for the program their first two years at SUU. As a freshman, Madison set the second highest all-time score on bars in school history, while Megan was named Mountain Rim Vault Specialist of the Week three times during her sophomore season.

But at the close of their sophomore seasons in 2018, they faced adversity they hadn’t seen before at SUU. Megan had a fluke injury and tore her ACL warming up to compete before the last home meet of the season. Surgery to repair the injured knee would mean that Megan would have to redshirt and miss her junior season. That led to a challenging offseason for both twins. Madison trained that summer without her sister, and suffered an elbow injury in practice a week before the season started that threatened to keep her from competing that year as well.

The Flippin’ Birds started the 2019 season with both twins sidelined due to injury. It was evident that the team was deeply impacted by the loss. Only three meets into the season, Madison braved her injured elbow and jumped back in to help the team rebound from the slow start.

“I offered to let Madison redshirt her junior year, but she knew that we absolutely needed her,” said Coach Bauman. “For her to choose to compete and do everything she could for her teammates was beyond awesome and just showed her unwavering loyalty to our program.”

While Madison continued to compete, Megan took on a different role while she went through rehab on her knee. Receiving praise and gratitude from her teammates for her uncompromising support, Megan was determined to still have a positive impact on the team.

“It was so hard to not be out there competing,” said Megan. “But it was cool for me to take a step back and play the role of supporter. There are things I learned about myself that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t injured.”

Madison especially acknowledged the role that Megan still played on the team, “It definitely felt weird at first when Megan had to sit things out, especially when we traveled to meets. We all missed her, but she was so supportive and always cheering that it felt like her impact was the same.”

With the support of Megan and elite scoring from Madison, the Thunderbirds had a tremendous season that resulted in finishing second at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship. Two weeks later, the team placed fourth at the NCAA Regional Championship Meet.

With Megan healthy and Madison coming off three strong seasons, the expectations for the T-Birds in 2020 are sky-high. “We know what’s expected of us coming into this year, but we have those expectations for ourselves too and we’re prepared for a fast start,” said Megan.

Not only has the bar been set for performance in competition, but also in the classroom. During his tenure, Coach Bauman has heavily stressed academic excellence within the program and the team has placed in the top three for academic performance in the nation for 25 of his 28 years at the school. The team took first place 13 of those years and the overall average GPA of the team over that span is an impressive 3.72.

When the twins were being recruited, they recall that one of the first things Coach Bauman said to them was, “Academics are the priority. We expect your education to come before anything else and if you do that then you’re part of the SUU family.”

Balancing school and competing is no easy task. Between practice, travel and actual competition the McBride twins still managed to earn Academic All-MRGC all three years at SUU.

It’s easy to see what Madison and Megan have meant to the SUU Gymnastics program, but they are much more than just incredible athletes. As diligent students they have big plans for the future.

After graduating from SUU this Spring, Madison will have her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and Spanish. Her plans for the future include service and living abroad, but she’ll always be grateful for her years in Cedar City.

“SUU has helped me to find myself,” said Madison. “The people here are so supportive and it’s become home to me.”

Megan is leaving the door open for the possibility of competing in 2021 as a redshirt senior, but as of now, 2020 will be her final season. She is studying exercise science with aspirations of becoming a physician assistant.

“SUU has helped to shape me into more than just the athlete I saw in myself when I first came here,” said Megan.

The Flippin’ Birds will begin the 2020 season when they host Nebraska on January 9th. For scheduling and roster information please visit the SUU Women’s Gymnastics homepage.

Tags: Athletics