The Flippin’ Birds are heading to West Virginia for the NCAA regionals because of course they are.
“This is what I figured,” head coach Scotty Bauman said. “You take the small school with a small budget and you send them the farthest away. That’s been our history. But we were seeded this year, and had we not been we probably would have been going to the Seattle Regional. To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to make that big of a difference.”
No. 18 Southern Utah will compete in the Morgantown Regional on April 1 against No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Michigan, George Washington, West Virginia and Kent State. The top two teams will advance to the national championship meet in Saint Louis beginning April 14.
Southern Utah has never made it the national championships and it will be a tough task to accomplish that feat this season. Alabama has made it to 34 straight nationals and Michigan is also consistently at the top collegiate meet, missing it just three times since 1993. The Wolverines, though, didn’t qualify last year.
“With this sport, it comes down to who is hitting their landings and who is attacking their gymnastics on any given night,” Bauman said. “If we go out there and just stay calm, stay loose and go after our gymnastics and stick our landings, I think we can beat anybody on any given night.”
While the Flippin’ Birds haven’t made a national meet, they have become a regular at the regional competitions. The SUU seniors have never missed a regional meet and Bauman is hoping that experience will help the Flippin’ Birds in West Virginia.
“They have been there four times, they know what they are doing, they know how to compete in that environment,” Bauman said.
Those experienced upperclassmen are why Bauman is confident in his team’s chances in Morgantown.