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Gymnastics competitive and cub camps draw to a close

Aug 17, 2016 - Posted by Kristen Kerr at 4:19 pm | Updated: August 17, 2016 4:34 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah — BYU gymnastics concluded coaching younger athletes in its final session of summer camps last week.

Competitive female gymnasts participated in the first two weeks of camp while beginning to intermediate gymnasts received instruction in four weeks of cub camps. Most weeks saw upwards of 70 or 80 participants.

“It’s a great opportunity (for the girls) to interact with young students of gymnastics and go back to their roots of getting started,” BYU head coach Guard Young said.

Sarah Hancock of Spanish Fork, Utah, signed her sons up for the final week of cub camp. Neither of them had participated in gymnastics before, but they were able to try new tricks on the right equipment in a safe environment. They both a great a time and came away with more endurance.

“They’ve learned they can push themselves farther than they thought,” Hancock said.

Ten-year-old Justin Hancock loved swinging on the higher uneven bar while his eight-year-old brother Joseph enjoyed learning how to do front flips and other jumps on the trampoline. Joseph loved camp so much that he wants to buy a gym when he grows up.

BYU senior gymnast Taylor Harward's favorite part of running camps is getting to know the campers and seeing how much they progress in a short time. Harward also loves the connection she builds with gymnasts who attend camp over the years or multiple weeks of the summer. Harward, as a high school camp participant herself, was able to get a feel of the BYU gymnastics program and see if it would be a good fit for her. 

Young is impressed with his gymnasts’ commitment this summer. In addition to running camps and working in the gym with campers, the Cougars trained on their own in preparation for next season. 

“There’s something to be said about how disciplined they are and what they give up,” Young said.

Harward described her summer routine as working out, coaching and then working out some more.

“It is tough, it wears you out,” Harward said. “It can be tiring, but the biggest thing is you know what’s ahead.”

Rachel Boaz mentioned among toughest goalkeepers to beat in 2016

Aug 17, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 10:03 am | Updated: August 17, 2016 10:09 am | Permalink

The NCAA published a list on its website of the five toughest goalkeepers to beat in women's soccer, and BYU's Rachel Boaz made the cut.

A senior, Boaz helped BYU to 14 shutouts last season, the second-most in program history (15 in 2008). Her save percentage of .907 and goals against average of 0.39 in 2015 are the best in program history by a wide margin. Her 78 saves last season are the second-most in a single season since Dana Wood's 89 saves in 1995.

Mentioned along with Boaz are two MAC Hermann Trophy candidates in Stanford's Jane Campbell and Clemson's Kailen Sheridan. Penn State's Rose Chandler, who the Cougars will face on Aug. 26 is also on the list, with Casey Murphy of Rutgers rounding out the group.

For the article, visit NCAA.com.

Mitchell Juergens named to 2016 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List

Aug 16, 2016 - Posted by at 12:34 pm | Updated: August 16, 2016 12:51 pm | Permalink

TYLER, TEXAS – BYU senior wide receiver Mitchell Juergens was named to the fourth annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List announced today at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce East Texas Kick-off Luncheon.

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals. In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four year college. 

Juergens, a former walk-on, earned a scholarship prior to the 2015 season. Last year he caught 37 balls for 471 yards and two touchdowns. Juergens has 65 career receptions for 895 yards and six touchdowns. 

The Watch List announced today will be narrowed to up to 16 semifinalists in November and then up to five finalists in December. They will be selected by broadcasters, commentators, journalists, fans and the previous winner. The finalists will be brought to Tyler for The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Banquet scheduled January 11, 2017.

A player does not have to appear on the initial Watch List to be eligible to win the award. The Watch List is made up of players nominated from their respective schools.

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award was announced in 2012 by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and SPORTyler. “We are fortunate to have a celebrity who exhibits the impeccable virtues that define this award. In addition to being a well known sports figure, Earl also earned a college degree, married his high school sweetheart, raised two successful sons and still supports the community where he grew up,” said Cindy Smoak, Vice President, SPORTyler.

Earl Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School in Tyler before joining the Texas Longhorns under legendary Coach Darrell K. Royal. In his senior year, he led the nation with 1744 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, going on to win the Longhorns’ first Heisman Trophy.

He was subsequently drafted by the Houston Oilers where he won Rookie of the Year honors in 1978 and went on to lead the NFL in rushing 3 times. Campbell earned NFL MVP in 1979 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He now resides in Austin.

“All my life, all I wanted to do was be an athlete. I kept God in my life and surrounded myself with good people. I am humbled by this award named in my honor,” said Campbell.

For more information about The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award go to www.earlcampbellaward.com or contact Cindy Smoak, SPORTyler, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce: csmoak@tylertexas.com or 903-592-1661, extension 237. 

BYU gymnastics celebrates Team USA's Olympic Gold

Aug 10, 2016 - Posted by Kristen Kerr at 4:00 pm | Updated: August 17, 2016 4:08 pm | Permalink

SPANISH FORK, Utah — BYU gymnastics celebrated Team USA’s gold medal victory at an Olympic viewing party Tuesday night.

BYU head coach Guard Young hosted the the event as gymnasts and coaches gathered to support and celebrate Team USA.

“This is our Super Bowl; it only happens every four years,” Young said. “For gymnastics and being a U.S. athlete and us having such a great team this year, it was fun to watch.”

The United States brought home the gold with a team final score of 184.897, more than eight points ahead of the silver medal team Russia. Gymnastics receives more attention during Olympic years, and the Cougars feed off Team USA’s recent success in Rio.

“People are excited to hear you’re a gymnast,” Young said. “It puts us on a pedestal and makes us feel important.”

The activity strengthened team chemistry and gave the gymnasts a chance to spend time with each other outside of the gym.

Watching the Olympics as a team motivates the Cougars' to work in the gym and to try new things as they prepare for the upcoming season.

BYU football photo day

Aug 09, 2016 - Posted by Kimberlie Haner at 6:10 pm | Updated: August 9, 2016 6:15 pm | Permalink

After practice on Tuesday, the team made its way to the Indoor Practice Facility for the team's annual photo day. The players were dressed in their gameday uniforms. The photos and videos will be used for television broadcasts, on the video boards at LaVell Edwards Stadium this season and for other promotional purposes.

Check out the photos below for behind the scenes looks from the afternoon.

Freshman Quick Kicks: Lizzy Braby and Elise Flake

Aug 02, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 3:30 pm | Updated: August 2, 2016 3:32 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – A pair of club teammates joins the BYU women's soccer family this fall in midfielder Lizzy Braby and Elise Flake.

Braby, a midfielder from Murray, Utah, followed up successful high school and club careers by playing with the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team in New Zealand this summer. She appeared as a substitute in three games against the host country.

"I think the most rewarding thing was the learning experience," she said of the experience. "I learned a lot about the player I am and also the player I want to become. It gave me motivation to work even harder."

At Murray High School, Braby was a team captain twice and was named to the 4A All-State First Team in 2015 by both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune. For her club team, Utah Celtic FC, Braby and company were 2015 Utah State Cup Champions and regional finalists.

Playing alongside Braby for Utah Celtic FC was Flake, a forward from Mapleton, Utah.

Flake was a four-time Olympic Develop Program team selection from Utah. She was also a high school captain, at Maple Mountain High School. Shortly before coming to BYU, Flake scored three second-half goals in a comeback win in a regional preliminary club game to help her team to a 4-3 comeback win.

Becoming a BYU Cougar was an easy decision for Flake.

"It's been a dream of mine to come to BYU, both for soccer and school," she said. "It's all I've ever wanted."

Freshman Quick Kicks: Danika Bowman

Aug 01, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 1:24 pm | Updated: August 1, 2016 2:11 pm | Permalink

PROVO – Remembering previous team titles is a tough counting exercise for Danika Bowman.

"I think four national titles, a few regional titles, a few state titles," she said. "I think."

The freshman defender, who is from Redlands, California, stacked up quite a list of accomplishments before coming to BYU. Bowman played on Olympic development championship teams, leading as a captain. She was named high school MVP and defensive MVP in back-to-back years. She played at national camp before high school. The list goes on and on.

Bowman knows, however, that success won't come right away at BYU. 

"It's just a way different thing," she said. "There are so many good players and competition for playing time here. Club was tough, but you get comfortable with your coaches and teammates. Here, you start over. It was good to have the summer to get used to it."

Something that has helped her get used to things is spending time with other players on the team.

"They've all been so nice to us," Bowman said. "They have us over to dinner and talk to us and help us all the time."

Bowman becomes the fourth member on this year's roster from California, and the only player of the incoming four freshmen not from Utah. She's thankful to her parents, for helping her to accomplish what she has.

"They made a lot of sacrifices to help me be on a good team and travel," she said.

Freshman Quick Kicks: Brynlee Welch

Aug 01, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 12:50 pm | Updated: August 1, 2016 2:12 pm | Permalink

PROVO – Brynlee Welch doubts she's the fastest player on the team.

"But I think it would be fun to race," she said.

Welch, an incoming freshman from Hyrum, Utah, ran track at Mountain Crest High School, running the 100 meters and anchoring the 4x100 meter team at the state meet.

"My speed has set me apart from other players at times," Welch said. "If I get beat, I have confidence that I can get back. On a long ball, I'm usually the first person back."

The third player ever to hail from Cache Valley for BYU, Welch is the second in two years, after sophomore Madie Siddoway. Like Siddoway, Welch played for the club team La Roca.

It wasn't clear that Welch would get offered to play with the Cougars.

"I got offered a year later than most girls do," she said. "But my club and club coach are the reason I was able to get offered and come here."

Welch is the first member of her family to come to BYU.

"We were an Aggie family," she said. "I'm kind of starting something new."

Taysom Hill one of 32 players on 2016 CFPA Performer of the Year preseason watch list

Jul 28, 2016 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 7:35 pm | Updated: July 28, 2016 7:47 pm | Permalink

Senior quarterback Taysom Hill was one of 32 players named to the 2016 National Performer of the Year preseason watch list by the College Football Performance Awards on Wednesday.

The list features 22 FBS quarterbacks and 10 running backs, honoring the nation's best collegiate performer.

In the 2015 season opener against Nebraska, Hill accounted for three touchdowns with two coming on the ground and another through the air. He had 268 passing yards and 72 rushing in the game before leaving with injury. Hill is the school's leader in quarterback rushing yards (2,212) and is No. 13 in career passing yards (4,606).

The CFPA National Performer of the Year Trophy will be announced on January 11, 2017.

BYU gymnastics participates in Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Parade

Jul 26, 2016 - Posted by Kristen Kerr at 3:27 pm | Updated: August 17, 2016 4:07 pm | Permalink

SPANISH FORK, Utah – BYU gymnastics, along with Cosmo, the stunt team and women’s volleyball, participated in the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Parade Monday. 

Some of the gymnasts tumbled in the streets and walked on their hands while others skillfully performed on a moving trailer pulled in the parade. They were able to shake hands and interact with local members of the community. 

“It’s fun to be a part of the community, it’s easy to get involved,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “We just want to be a part of it. We want to know them and for them to see us.”

The Cougars also participated in the Grand Parade as part of the Orem Summerfest festival earlier this summer. 

“We keep doing these parades because the girls want to do them,” Young said. “I ask them every year—we do it because of the girls. The girls are driving this thing.”

To view a photo gallery of the team in the Fiesta Days Parade, click here