LOGAN, Utah –
Utah State’s gymnastics team will open the 2021 season at the second annual Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
The podium event, which will also feature in-state rivals BYU, Southern Utah and Utah, will be televised live on BYUtv at 7 p.m.
This year, No. 32 Utah State will begin on the floor, while No. 4 Utah will begin on bars, No. 17 BYU on beam and No. 23 Southern Utah on vault.
The ticket presale window for the Rio Tinto Best of Utah began Tuesday and will run through Friday, Dec. 25, until midnight. During the presale, fans will have first access to designated socially-distanced seats, receive $5 off regular price, pay no online fees and have parking included in the price.
Utah State fans wishing to purchase tickets will need to use to the promo code Aggies, to receive the discount. Click here to purchase tickets. Following the presale window, the general public sale will go live with regular-priced tickets on Saturday, Dec. 26, at 10 a.m.
The Maverik Center’s allowed capacity for the event will be around 1,700 fans based on the arena’s work with state and local health officials. To ensure proper social distancing measures, seating will be sold in pods of 1-8 tickets. Fans must purchase the correct pod size for their group.
Utah State recorded a 194.150 at the inaugural Rio Tinto Best of Utah season to place fourth in the meet. The Aggies were tied for second heading into the final rotation, but finished fourth behind No. 5 Utah (197.000), No. 23 BYU (195.575) and Southern Utah (194.650).
Head coach Amy Smith is in her fourth season at the helm of the Aggies. In 2020, Smith was named the MRGC Coach of the Year by her peers after leading the Aggies to a 7-6-1 overall record, marking the first time since 1999 that USU ended the season with a winning record.
Smith coached the MRGC Gymnast of the Year in Autumn DeHarde and MRGC Freshman of the Year in Sofi Sullivan. DeHarde also earned MRGC co-Beam and co-Floor Specialist of the Year accolades, and was named to the first team on both events. Sullivan shared the MRGC co-Beam Specialist of the Year award with DeHarde, and also earned first-team honors on the event, as well as a first-team citation in the all-around.
Under Smith’s tutelage, Leighton Varnadore earned second-team honors on vault and in the all-around.
Before the 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aggies were ranked 29th in the nation with a National Qualifying Score (NQS) of 195.915 – the highest in school history – and were poised to advance to the NCAA Regional Championships for the first time since 2017.
Utah State defeated every MRGC rival in 2020, snapping a 22-meet losing streak to Boise State (dating back to 2012), a nine-meet losing streak to BYU (dating back to 2017) and a five-meet losing streak to Southern Utah (dating back to 2018).
DeHarde, Sullivan and Varnadore are among 17 gymnasts Utah State returns from last season. The Aggies also welcome seven newcomers in 2021.
Fans can follow the Aggie gymnastics program at twitter.com/USUGymnastics, on Facebook at Utah State Gymnastics, and on Instagram at USUGymnastics. Fans can also follow the USU athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at UtahStateAthletics.