2000 Women's Gymnastics Season Review

After an injury-plagued 1999 season that saw the Cougars fail to qualify for regionals for the first time under head coach Brad Cattermole, BYU was back to their winning ways in 2000 as they broke several school records on their way to an eleventh place finish at the NCAA Championships.

With Kim Little, Kelly Parkinson and Jennifer Thomas returning from last year and Denice Pauga returning after a redshirt year due to injury, the Cougars had a come-back season that included seven record-setting performances. Perhaps the most impressive was a team score of 196.525 against Southern Utah, the highest team score by a BYU women's gymnastics team ever.

BYU ended the regular season with a regional qualifying score of 195.585, which was high enough to earn them a berth to regionals in Athens, Ga. At regionals, the Cougars scored a 194.700 to place second behind the University of Georgia, which had a regional qualifying score of 196.965. A second-place finish was good enough to advance the Cougars to the NCAA Championships in Boise, Idaho, where they finished 11th with a final score of 194.500.

Kelly Parkinson had a strong sophomore season and she was the only Cougar to compete in the all-around in every meet of the season. In one of those meets she recorded the highest all-around score ever by a Cougar, a 39.550 in BYU's record setting meet against Southern Utah. In that same meet she also tied the all-time record on the floor routine with a score of 9.950.

Another strong performer on the floor was junior Kim Little who tied the all-time record twice during the season, first against Southern Utah on March 10 and again against Utah on the last regular-season meet of the year. She also recorded the highest all-around score of her career in the Utah meet, a 39.400.

After sitting out the previous season because of a broken hand, senior Denice Pauga was happy to be competing again. She had season highs of 9.925 on the bars, 9.900 on the floor and a 39.325 on the all-around.

The Cougars started off the year against Oregon State with their lowest team score of the year, a 191.375, which included a shaky 45.650 on the beam. They then recorded a 193.475 at the Rocky Mountain Open, their second lowest score of the season, but still good enough to place second out of the four teams at the Invitational. From there, BYU continued to get better, scoring 194.175 at Iowa State, 195.800 at Utah, 195.450 at Utah State, 195.425 at Stanford and 195.600 at home against Utah State. The Cougars dropped off a little by scoring 194.250 against Southern Utah and 194.975 against Oregon State before the record-setting score of 196.525 at home against Southern Utah. They finished the season with 194.325 at Nebraska and 195.650 at home against Utah before competing in the regional meet.

The team's regional qualifying score of 194.750 was a full point higher than the team's score from the previous year. A big part of their success was the strong performance of several freshmen. Brooke Craig had highs of 9.750 on the beam and 9.850 on the floor, while Candace Cosgrave also contributed on the floor with a high of 9.825. Karen Nielsen competed in every meet on the beam with a high of 9.825 and Hayley Love competed on the beam and vault.

Five seniors will be missed in 2001 as Erin Johansen, Hilary Johnson, Jessica Taylor and Leah Niepraschk will leave with Pauga. Nevertheless, Cattermole is looking forward to a 2001 season that will return three of the top four all-around gymnasts, Parkinson, Thomas and Little. The combination of the returning, experienced gymnasts and the young, upcoming talent should prove to be a promising gymnastics season for the Cougars.