With a weekend free to clear their minds, SUU came back before the home crowd Feb. 6 and set a new school record.
When senior Danielle Ramirez hit her floor exercise routine and the judges scored a 9.925, it was good enough to give the 20th-ranked Flippin’ Birds a 196.700 for the night, beating No. 12 Denver’s equally strong 196.500 before an appreciative Monday night crowd of 2,120 fans at the Centrum.
The score broke the Birds’ old mark of 196.575 that they set against Eastern Michigan in 2004 and matched at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship meet last season.
“I was really impressed with the way the girls came back,” SUU head coach Scott Bauman said. “We gave them the weekend off (after Boise State) and they had the right frame of mind coming into the meet. They warmed up and competed really good, particularly on beam. That was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen and SUU gymnastics team do after probably one of the worst ones.”
The meet began well for Southern Utah with a 48.975 on the vault, but Becky Rozsa started the second rotation with a fall.
It wouldn’t carry over as the team got 9.875 from Ramirez and Sydney Townsend to go with 9.825s from Memory Shettles, Madison McBride and Amber Heltemes for a 49.225, tied for fourth-best rotation in school history.
The memory of the balance beam nightmare from the weekend disappeared quickly as SUU got 9.900s from Ramirez and Kamryn Boyer to complete a 49.300 and put them well within range of the school record.
To Stacie Yee, it was a simple matter of believing they were good.
“Knowing we were at home again, the whole team went back into the gym, grouped up, and knew we are a stellar beam team,” she said. “We came back strong and that really helped.”
Ramirez added: “Coming back from the meet on Friday, we all felt like we needed to stand behind each other more. That really helped me feel like we’re all in it together, just go out there and have fun.”
When Ramirez completed her floor routine, it was her second of three personal bests on the night, and her 39.475 score on the all-around was fifth-best in school history. The T-Birds finished the night with a 49.200 and broke the school’s meet record by a full .125.
“It’s really special to have the record,” Yee said. “We’ve been fighting with everything we have in our bodies just to get to that point again. It’s really great to know we can get the 196.7 because that means we’re one step closer to the 197 mark, which we all know we can beat.”
On Feb. 10, the Flippin’ Birds managed to top their mark again with a 196.725, beating Utah State by a full point (195.725). The win was costly, though, as Ramirez suffered a season- and career-ending injury during a tumbling pass on her floor exercise routine.