Clemson gymnastics announced its inaugural signing class Tuesday — the Tigers are a brand new program and will begin competition in 2024 — and it is comprised entirely of former Utah State gymnasts.
Following Clemson head coach Amy Smith from Logan, Utah, to Clemson, South Carolina — Smith was the head coach at Utah State for the last five years — are Molly Arnold, Trinity Brown, Brie Clark, Eve Jackson, Kielyn McCright and Rebecca Wells.
Each gymnast has signed a letter of intent with Clemson and intend to enroll at the university for the fall 2022 semester, spending the 2022-23 academic year in residence ahead of the Tigers’ debut in 2023-24.
In other words, the six gymnasts will take a year off before resuming competition in 2024.
“I cannot contain my excitement for the announcement of our newest Clemson Tiger gymnasts,” Smith said in a statement. “In all honesty, I did not think we would be giving this announcement this early on, but (assistant coach) Erik (Lewis) and I are beyond thrilled.
“These incredible young women will obviously be embarking on a unique year ahead, but we are so thrilled that they decided to join us at Clemson and help build this incredible program. We feel very strongly that these six will help us expedite the culture, character and integrity expectations of Clemson gymnastics and will set a very strong tone gymnastically out of the gates.
“It is such an unparalleled situation and it is so special that we get to continue to work with these amazing student-athletes, help them continue to grow, and have them be a part of the very first Clemson gymnastics team. I don’t think there is any better place out there for them to do that than here at Clemson.”
What caliber of gymnasts is Utah State losing?
Clemson has signed some of the best Aggie gymnasts from last season, a year that saw Utah State finish as the highest-ranked non-Power Five team in the country.
- Clark was a second-team WCGA All-American as a freshman in 2022 — Utah State’s lone All-American — and was also named the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference freshman and floor specialist of the year.
- Wells, a rising senior, is coming off her most successful collegiate season. She was the MRGC all-around champion, and was first-team all-conference in the all-around and on vault and second-team all-conference on balance beam.
- As a freshman in 2022, Brown competed on vault and floor, with career-highs of 9.875 (vault) and 9.925 (floor).
- Arnold was also a freshman at Utah State this past season and was a three-event specialist, competing on floor, uneven bars and vault, with career-highs of 9.850, 9.825 and 9.900 on those respective events.
- Jackson spent two seasons at Utah State and competed on all four events. She was named the MRGC bars specialist of the week during the 2022 season.
- Another rising sophomore, McCright competed primarily on beam at Utah State and was honored as the MRGC beam specialist of the week during the 2022 season.
What is next for Utah State gymnastics?
The Aggies’ official 2023 roster is comprised of 12 gymnasts, including listed all-arounders Brianna Brooks, Amari Evans, Maia Fishwick, Sofi Sullivan and Ariel Toomey.
Utah State announced the hiring of former Arizona State assistant Kristin White as the program’s new head coach on May 20, and on Tuesday morning White addressed Utah State fans via a video on Twitter, expressing her excitement about leading the Aggies going forward.
Utah State, the reigning MRGC champion, has yet to release its schedule for the 2022-23 season.