Broncos fall short to BYU in gymnastics home opener

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The energy was high in the ExtraMile Arena as the Boise State gymnastics team appeared in their first home meet of the season on Jan. 31.

The Broncos (2-3, 0-1) lost by 1.650 points to No. 15 BYU, who noticeably outperformed them in vault and floor. By the end of the night, the final score was 194.450 to 196.100.

Despite the deficit in total score, the leaderboard of every event featured a Bronco in first place. 

Vault: Gabriela Bouza (9.850)

Uneven Parallel Bars: Emily Muhlenhaupt (9.925)

Balance Beam: Isabella Amado (9.900)

Floor Exercise: Tatum Bruden (9.850)

In each of these events, however, BYU’s team score beat out that of the Broncos, leaving them in first place overall. For example, in bars, BYU accumulated a score 49.025, while Boise trailed behind with a score of 48.775.

This has become a pattern; the same names earn titles, but the Broncos often fall short in event totals, as seen earlier in the season at University of Washington, at which they lost 193.975 – 196.275.

Boise State has several standout athletes but lacks in consistency throughout the team. 

Junior Tatum Bruden commented on this issue and explained that improving the team’s event averages is a top priority this season. 

“We have a lot of really high scorers and some big skills, but we need that overall dynamic – not just individual people,” Bruden said.

In order to facilitate an environment in which the gymnasts can further develop their skills, each athlete strives to feel and provide support. Luckily for the Broncos, they have no shortage in team chemistry.

After the meet on Friday, head coach Tina Bird expressed her appreciation for the relationships amongst the athletes. When asked what she does to increase team bonding, she simply replied: “Nothing.”

“They are the closest group of girls I’ve ever coached,” Bird said.

Throughout the meet, as each Boise State gymnast concluded their event, they ran directly into the arms of fellow teammates. Among those teammates was senior captain Courtney McGregor, who recently suffered a torn Achilles and is out for the season.

McGregor, although unable to compete, was on the sidelines supporting each Bronco with a smile on her face.

“[McGregor is] letting the kids know that we’re all in this together, even though she can’t be out there with us,” Bird said.

Although the Broncos are moving forward with a goal of team-betterment, the individual gymnasts are not void of their own personal goals. Junior Emily Mulenhaupt, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation for uneven parallel bars, continues to work toward a perfect 10.000 rating in her event. Against BYU, Mulenhaupt took home first in bars and second in beam.

Muhlenhaupt often feels pressure to uphold high standards, but finds the remedy with her team.

“It’s cliche to say they are my sisters, but they actually are,” Mulenhaupt said. “There’s nothing that describes it. We’re a sorority, but on another level.”

Overall, the consensus of the Broncos is to take gymnastics, a typically individualized sport, and utilize a group mindset to succeed.

Boise State now holds a record of 2-3 on the season, after falling to UCLA and Washington at the first two meets of the season. 

Bronco gymnastics will return home on Feb. 21, to compete against Utah State for the second time this season.

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