Gymnastics Team Makes Final Preparations for 2017 SeasonJanuary 09, 2017
Author: Bryson Lester
The Thunderbird gymnastics team is gearing up for their 2017 season, with a chance to shake off the rust in the annual Red/White Meet on January 13 before hosting the Pac-12’s Stanford Cardinal for their first meet of the season on January 20.
The 2016 season was another banner year for the Thunderbird gymnastics program. The Flippin’ Birds spent the majority of the year in, or right around, the top-25 and qualified as a team to represent the university at the NCAA Regional competition in Salt Lake City.
Danielle Ramirez, who had a stellar junior season for the Thunderbirds, qualified to represent the T-Birds at the NCAA National Championships in the All-Around.
The Thunderbirds set several top marks during the 2016 season as well. As a group the 2016 team tied the highest score in school history, scoring a 196.575. That mark was set at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championships. Virginia Brownsell now holds the SUU record on floor, along with three other gymnasts, with a 9.950 on the event.
The 2017 Flippin’ Birds are loaded with experience. Eight gymnasts will be returning for their senior campaigns, and all eight of them have made a major impact on the program already with another year to showcase their abilities.
“This group of seniors has made it to the Regional Championships every year they’ve been here,” SUU head coach Scott Bauman said. “They’ve been in big meets enough now to know what is expected and what kind of pressures there will be. They’re experienced athletes, and they know how to compete. I feel very comfortable with their leadership.”
Ramirez and Brownsell are both part of the senior class. It also features Kirsten Yee, who is the school’s all-time record holder on bars. Madyson Blake-Howard, Tyly Bozzuto, Memory Shettles, Sydney Townsend and Stacie Webb round out the senior class, all of whom have made major contributions to the Thunderbird gymnastics program.
The Thunderbirds will also be adding in a lot of new talent to the rotations, as seven freshmen gymnasts are on the roster for the 2017 campaign.
Mixing so many returners with so many newcomers might seem like a challenge, but Bauman said the transition has been really positive.
“I honestly thought that was going to be one of the sticky parts of our season, but it has gone extraordinarily smooth,” he said. “This team works very well together, they work very hard for each other and the freshmen have come in with the mindset to work as hard as the seniors, which have always been a blue collar group.”
SUU’s first official meet of the season will be a matchup against the Stanford Cardinal out of the Pac-12 Conference. When talking about the home opener Bauman said, “It will really test our girls. We’ve been preparing for that meet all year long and we’ll have the girls ready for that meet.”
The Thunderbird’s schedule is packed with top-notch opponents, as they have an in-season home-and-home with N.C. State, a road date with the Michigan Wolverines and a home meet against Denver.
All these meets, along with their Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference schedule that includes matchups against BYU, Utah State and Boise State will challenge SUU throughout the year and be a great measuring stick for the program.
On February 13 the Thunderbirds will have their first opportunity to compete in front of the Centrum Arena crowd, when they participate in the annual Red/White Meet.
The team will split up into two different squads and compete for bragging rights, as they prepare for the season opener a week later against the Stanford Cardinal.
The event is set to begin at 7 pm and is free to attend.
The team will also be selling T-Shirts that will be available to purchase at the event for $10 with either cash or a check.
Stay Up To Date
For all things SUU Gymnastics follow @suugymnastics on Twitter and Instagram and like the SUU Gymnastics page on Facebook.
This season two of SUU’s home meets will be streamed live on FloGymnastics.com this season, starting with their home opener against Stanford. The meet on February 6 against Denver will also be streamed live on the website.
Season tickets are currently on sale for SUU Gymnastics, and can be purchased at the Centrum Box Office or online at tbirdtickets.com.
Chanel Barnews- assistant ad / strategic communications