Boise State junior gymnast Amanda Otuafi is as close to a born gymnast as you can get.
Her mom, a former gymnast, coached at the Flips USA club in Sparks, Nev., when she was born. The owners then: Boise State co-coach Neil Resnick and assistant coach Patty Resnick.
My mom and Patty will always joke around that I was in the gym the day after I was born, Otuafi said.
Said Neil Resnick: I carried her around the gym. I think she might have christened a couple of shirts of mine.
The Resnicks coached Otuafi into junior high. When they relocated to Boise, they sold Flips USA to Suzi Otuafi Amandas mom.
The family history made Boise State an easy choice for Otuafi when she was considering her college options.
Im a homebody. I love being with my family, she said. Coming to Boise, I just felt like I was coming right back into a home.
Otuafis comfort has showed early this season shes competing in three events, a career high, and has posted solid scores on each of her six routines.
She and the Broncos will face BYU at 7 p.m. Friday at Taco Bell Arena in a Beauty and the Beast pairing with the wrestling team. The teams will combine again Feb. 10. Because of the popularity of the combined events with fans, the gymnastics coaches say they will do multiple Beauty and the Beast events whenever their schedule matches the wrestlers.
The idea, which has been replicated elsewhere, originated in 2003 at Boise State.
I love the Beauty and the Beast, Otuafi said. Its so much fun. Its a big crowd, so it brings so much more excitement.
Otuafi generated a pair of 9.85s in the Broncos last outing, last week at BYU. She competed on the vault as a freshman, on vault and floor as a sophomore and now has added beam to her repertoire. She leads off on beam the spot co-coach Tina Bird calls the most important in the lineup.
Dramatic improvement from her freshman year to her sophomore year and now just a quantum leap to the next level, Resnick said. Shes learning how to compete. She has a lot of physical abilities and now mentally shes really figuring out how to get it done at the moment of truth.
Otuafi, known for her dynamic jumping, credits her surge to improved conditioning.
She learned the value of offseason workouts when she was only able to crack the vault lineup in 2011.
I knew if I wanted to be in more events and play a bigger role, I needed to be in better shape, she said.
That required a little extra work in the sport that has dominated her life since birth.
Never, she said, has her love of gymnastics wavered.
I love it, she said. When I was younger, it was all the friends that I had in gymnastics and just the love that we had for doing it every day and the thrill of trying something new just being in the atmosphere of being in something you could call home. It was great going into that every day.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,