In what looked to be a repeat performance of the 2000 season, the BYU women's gymnastics team finished the 2001 regular season at No. 11 in the nation, advancing to the West Regional as the No. 2 seed. However, despite the highest-scoring season in BYU gymnastics history, the Cougars failed to advance to Nationals after a sub-par performance at the regional competition and finished the
year at No. 26.
The 2001 season was a record-setting season for the Cougars. The Cougars set school records three different times, once against Missouri with a 196.900 and then in the last two meets against Utah State with a 197.325 and against Utah with a 197.375, the first time the Cougars have ever scored above a 197.
The Cougars also set new team records on all four events. They broke the previous vault record of 49.025, set in 1998, with a 49.100 against Missouri and Utah State. Then they broke that record again with a 49.175 at Utah. On the bars, BYU scored a 49.475 against Missouri to break the old record of 49.300, set in 1999 against Southern Utah. Against Utah State in Provo, the Cougars scored a 49.275 on the beam, breaking the old record of 49.150, set in 1993 against Utah State, and at Utah, the Cougars tied that record. Finally, on the floor, the Cougars set the record four times this season, scoring a 49.525 against Missouri and at Utah State, then breaking that record with a 49.575 against Utah State in Provo and again with a 49.625 against Utah.
In individual competition, Kim Little set a new school record on the floor with a 9.975 against Utah State. BYU's Kelly Parkinson set or tied a new school record in the all-around competition three times with a 39.550 against Southern Utah, tying her old record, then breaking her old record with a 39.625 against Utah State and then scoring another 39.625 at Utah.
BYU ended the regular season with a regional qualifying score of 196.395, qualifying them as the No. 2 seed in the West Regional, behind eventual national champion, UCLA. At regionals, the meet came down to the last event to decide the second team to qualify for Nationals. Oregon State scored a 48.750 on vault to pass the Cougars for the final qualifying spot and second place in the West Region at UCLA with a 194.075 To BYU's 193.050. The Bruins scored a 197.775 to easily take first place.
The Cougars started off the year hosting Iowa State at the Marriott Center, scoring a 194.275, a good score on a normal year, but their second-lowest score of the 2001 season. At the Rocky Mountain Open, the Cougars took first place by scoring a 194.325. BYU's lowest score of the season came the very next week at Missouri's Cat Classic, where BYU scored a 193.600, yet still took first place in the four-team meet to improve to 6-0 on the year.
BYU then went on a scoring tear, recording a 196.025 against Utah, a 196.225 at Southern Utah and a record 196.900 against Missouri, before their scores dropped to a 195.225 at Stanford, a 195.500 at Utah State and a 194.300 against Stanford and Southern Utah. Then, to finish the regular season, the Cougars surpassed the 197 mark with a record 197.325 against Utah State and a record 197.375 at Utah.
Previous to the 2001 season, the Cougars had never surpassed the 197 mark and had only scored over a 196 three times. In 2001, they scored over 197 in the final two meets and scored over a 196 in five different meets this year. In the last regular-season meet against Utah, BYU scored a 197.375 to set a new school record for the third time this year. The Cougars, at 10-5 on the season, lost to the Utes as Utah also had a record night. The Utes tied the school record with a 197.925, including a 49.800 on the floor.
Parkinson participated in the all-around in every meet in 2001 except at Utah State, where she only competed in the bars and beam, due to a sore back. In the last three meets, Parkinson scored a 39.625 twice, breaking the old school record she set earlier in the year of 39.550. At Utah she broke the record again with a 39.675. Parkinson finished the regular season at No. 5 nationally in the all-around. Jeni Lopez and Kim Little also competed in the all-around. Lopez competed in the first three meets with a high of 38.200 against Air Force and Little competed in the last five meets, setting a career-high of 39.475 at Utah in the last meet of the season.
Kim Little was the only senior on the 2001 team. Little has been raising the standard for BYU gymnastics ever since she arrived as a freshman in 1998. Fittingly, in her last home meet, she broke the school record on the floor routine with a 9.975, a record she had previously tied with a 9.950. Against Utah, Little set a career high in the all-around with a 39.475.
With only one senior leaving and All-American Kelly Parkinson returning for her senior year, head coach Brad Cattermole is looking forward to a promising 2002 season that will see the majority of the team return, only as more seasoned and experienced gymnasts looking to improve upon the 2001 finish.