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How to watch or listen to the Best of Utah gymnastics meet between Utah, BYU, Utah State and Southern Utah

Southern Utah’s Hannah Nipp reacts after her bars routine during the Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA gymnastics meet at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Southern Utah, BYU, Utah and Utah State will compete in the third annual Best of Utah meet Friday night.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet

When: 7 p.m. MST

Venue: Maverik Center (12,000 capacity), West Valley City

TV: BYUtv

Radio: ESPN 700

The teams

  • No. 4 Utah
  • No. 19 BYU
  • No. 25 Southern Utah
  • No. 26 Utah State

The history

The stakes

BYU: The Cougars are the reigning Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference champions, and — under the guidance of head coach Guard Young — are in the midst of one of the most successful runs in program history. BYU has finished second behind Utah the last two seasons at the Best of Utah.

Southern Utah: The Flippin’ Birds have been a consistent threat to qualify for NCAA Regionals under head coach Scotty Bauman, who over the course of three decades has turned SUU’s program into one of the most respected in the nation. Southern Utah has finished third in the MRGC in each of the last three seasons and finished in third (2020) and fourth place (2021) in the previous two Best of Utah meets.

Utah: The Red Rocks boast arguably most successful gymnastics program in the country and entering this season are considered one of the chief contenders to win the national title. Utah finished No. 3 at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships last season and has handily won each of the previous Best of Utah competitions.

Utah State: Similar to BYU under Young, Utah State is the midst of arguably the most successful stretch in program history under head coach Amy Smith. Utah State qualified for NCAA Regionals in back to back seasons, and last season the Aggies recorded three of the top 10 team scores in program history. Utah State has finished in fourth (2020) and third place (2021) in the first two seasons of the Best of Utah.

Gymnasts to watch

For BYU: The Cougars have one of the larger rosters in the country with 25 gymnasts, but will be led this season by a collection of seven seniors, including event captains Elease Rollins, Brittany Vitkauskas, Haley Pitou and Sadie Miner-Van Tassell.

For Southern Utah: The Flippin’ Birds boast 29 gymnasts in total, including nine seniors. Most notable among that group are standouts Karley McClain, Hannah Nipp and Shylen Murakami. SUU also has the reigning MRGC Freshman of the Year in Aubri Schwartze.

For Utah: The Utes have arguably their most talented team in program history. Maile O’Keefe, a two-time national champion and the reigning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year, leads the way, but the Red Rocks are loaded. Olympic medalists Grace McCallum and Amelie Morgan are notable, as is U.S. Olympic alternate Kara Eaker, not to mention All-Americans Alexia Burch, Abby Paulson, Cristal Isa and Sydney Soloski.

For Utah State: With 19 gymnasts, the Aggies have their fair share of athletes to mind, including key returners like Maia Fishwick, Sofi Sullivan, Rebecca Wells and Angel Stuart. USU also has some intriguing freshmen, highlighted by Brie Clark and Trinity Brown.