From SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
CEDAR CITY–The Southern Utah University gymnastics team and head coach Scotty Bauman are proud to announce the signing of four new Flippin’ Birds to the 2019 roster.
Caitlin Kho comes to Southern Utah from Rosemead, California where she attends San Gabriel High School and competes for Winners Gymnastics. She was the vault champion at the 2017 and 2015 So Cal State Championships and finished in 2nd place in the all-around at the same event. Kho has also finished runner-up on vault at the Region 1 Regional Championships for three years running.
“Caitlin brings an unlimited amount of power to our program. Her vault and floor will truly raise the level of those two events for us,” Bauman said. “She dismounts on floor with a skill that only one other member of our team has ever competed. Caitlin brings a huge punch on those two events for use and we will look to her to be an all-arounder in the next year or two.”
Karley McClain makes the trip south to Cedar City from South Jordan, Utah where she attends Bingham High School and competes for All American Gymnastics. She has made appearances at the Junior Olympic National Championships three years running, earning a floor event champion title in 2016 and finishing as the runner-up in 2017. McClain also competed at the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2015 and the Western Championships in Boise, Idaho in 2014.
“Karley is the all-around athlete. She will come in and be able to make an immediate impact on all four events for us,” Bauman said. “She has also shown that she is capable of competing in the biggest events of the year with her regionals and nationals performances. We see her as being one of the top all-arounders in our program’s history.”
Shylen Murakami comes to Southern Utah from Las Vegas, Nevada where she attends Cimarron-Memorial High School and competes for the Gymcats club team. Last year, she was event champion on the uneven bars for the second time in as many years at the 2017 Region 1 Regional Championships and finished second on beam and the all-around. Murakami also won three event champion titles at the 2017 Nevada State Championships, taking the top spot on bars, beam, and the all-around.
“Shylen has all of the ingredients to make a phenomenal floor worker and, in my opinion, is one of the best bar and beam workers in the country,” Bauman said. “Her level of difficulty is over the top and her execution and style are beautiful. She will come in and be able to make an immediate impact on our all-around.”
A two-time Junior Olympics Nationals Qualifier, Rachel Smith comes to Cedar City from Hernando, Mississippi where she attends Hernando High School and competes for Gymstars. She was the vault champion at both the Region 8 Regional Championships and the Tennessee State Championships in 2017 and finished in the top-three on beam, floor, and the all-around at both events.
“Rachel brings a solid consistency to all four events and she will be a standout on vault and beam for us,” Bauman said. “She does a very unique vault and her beam work is just beautiful. Rachel is coming here for a very specific role and she will be a great feature in the middle of our lineups for all four events.”