Sports & Rec

Boise State’s five-time champion gymnastics team beats BYU at first home meet in ExtraMile Arena

BSU gymnast Emily Lopez (Photo by Mackenzie Hudson/The Arbiter)

As they ran out of the tunnel, the student-athletes of the Boise State gymnastics team were introduced at their first home meet of the season. While the team began warm-ups, their black uniforms with hints of orange and blue glimmered under the lights in ExtraMile Arena.

After an anticipated season, the team returned to the floor where they competed against Brigham Young University (BYU) on Jan. 23. Four events later and a close score, the Broncos beat the Cougars with a total score of 196.325 points.

The week prior, the Broncos traveled to Corvallis, Oregon where they upset the Beavers scoring 194.300. 

The Broncos were unable to finish their 2020 season due to COVID-19. The meet against the Oregon State was their first since the pandemic. 

Beginning on vault, redshirt senior Maddi Nilson scored a 9.800 with her pass. Shortly after, freshman Courtney Blackson scored a 9.850, where she took the second-place spot behind BYU. This was her first debut as a Bronco. 

“Courtney saw her first action as a Bronco tonight, and while I was proud of her performance, I’m looking forward to seeing her start to throw her upgraded vault here very soon,” said Head Coach Tina Bird. 

Overall the Broncos landed a 48.900 which put them just above the Cougars with a 48.875. 

[Boise State gymnast Maddi Nilson]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson| The Arbiter

Next up, the Broncos competed on bars where senior Emily Muhlenhaupt swiped the first place spot from underneath the Cougars. She scored a 9.950 and after her pass, and everyone wearing orange and blue went wild. 

The second highest Bronco to place was senior Gabriela Cavinta who tied for fourth with two opponents on BYU. She finished on bars with a score of 9.875.

Heading to their next transition, beam, the Broncos were .25 points behind the Cougars. Four student-athletes all scored a 9.825. Muhlenhaupt was the last to compete on beam and contributed to the combined total of 49.050.

The Cougars were still ahead as it came down to the final event for the Broncos — floor. Redshirt junior Tessa Otuafi stepped out after a pass and got a deduction which cost the Broncos some points. 

Junior Samantha Smith and sophomore Adriana Popp tied for fourth place (9.825 points) on floor, behind two BYU opponents. 

However, it was Nilson that put the Broncos on top with an impeccable floor routine. She scored 9.875 and tied for first place with Abbey Miner Alder from BYU. 

Nilson’s scoring pushed the Broncos ahead of the Cougars in order to win by a .75 point difference.

“Our goal was to build on our last meet, which we did in all four events,” Bird said. “I was really proud of our improvement tonight, especially on floor. We got a little bit of our depth back, and it was nice to see the improvement.”

The team will take on Southern Utah University on Jan. 29 in Cedar City, Utah.

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