The 2010 season was successful for BYU gymnastics as they finished the season ranked No. 26 and returned to NCAA Regionals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The 2010 BYU women’s gymnastics team will always be remembered as a team that bounced back after adversity, who challenged themselves, and overcame injuries to achieve success. The Cougars saw the fruits of their labor as they battled back to a No. 26 National ranking and qualified for the NCAA Regionals after scoring a season-high 195.825 in their last meet of the season hosted by the University of Utah.
“When all was said and done I was really pleased with this team,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. “We had basically the same team we had last year but this year they were healthy and we showed what we are capable of doing. We were on the verge of greatness several times this season as the team continued to get better with each meet.”
BYU was led by second-year senior co-captains, Megan Donehue and McKell Merkley, while also benefitting from the veteran leadership of Danielle Goldman and Kaylee Gallup, also seniors. Despite a season plagued with injuries in 2009, these gymnasts knew what it was like to succeed and gave their all in order to provide success for their team. They used their combined experience to guide the team throughout the year and finish the season with an appearance at the NCAA Regionals in Los Angeles, Calif.
“They were all great seniors and that’s the part of this team that we are going to miss the most next year,” said Cattermole. “You can’t ask for much more than what they gave us. They provided this team with so much more than just good gymnastics because they were great leaders and you can’t undervalue good leadership.”
It also became clear, in the developing season, that there were several up-and-coming stars on the Cougar roster. Junior Madeleine Johnson has already shown her leadership capabilities and skill, competing on three of the four events in the last two seasons. Sophomore Natalie Eyre, who returned from an injury last season, posted huge scores for BYU throughout the season and showed her ability to perform consistently for the Cougars. Freshman Haylee Rollins was also successful for BYU, competing on three events. Rollins shows tremendous promise for the future of the Cougars as she hit every routine throughout the last season with the exception of one fall on uneven bars.
“With each practice and each meet our routines got tighter, better and more precise,” Cattermole said. “This was a fun team to work with because they tried hard every day.”
Although BYU was not as successful as they had hoped they might be at Regionals, where they finished sixth with a final team score of 193.400, there was much to be proud of during the 2010 season including a victory over two top 26 ranked opponents, Boise State and Arizona State, at home in the Smith Fieldhouse on senior night.
The vault was the Cougars’ most consistent event in 2010 as they scored within one-point range throughout the season, 48.100 being their season low and 49.050 being their season best at Utah State. Sophomore Eyre gave BYU its highest score on vault at Boise State with a 9.900. Eyre also topped 9.800 seven times throughout the season.
Seven different Cougars competed on vault throughout the year. After an injury on the vault, Donehue, who had provided BYU with solid vaults throughout the year, retired from the event and Gallup stepped in to provide the Cougars with valuable scores including a personal-best 9.800 at Southern Utah. Goldman also helped lead BYU with six scores of 9.800 or higher.
Sophomore Krysten Koval battled injury throughout the season to help the Cougars in the event and freshmen, Rollins and Sarah Yandow, also posted consistent scores for the Cougars throughout the year.
The uneven bars were arguably BYU’s strongest event this season. The Cougars saw high scores throughout the year and, in Los Angeles, it was the bar lineup that posted the highest event score on the night for BYU. The Cougars posted a season-best 49.075 in their final regular season meet at Utah. Johnson received the team’s highest mark of the season on the event with a 9.900 at home against Boise State and Arizona State.
Donehue led the team on the event throughout the year, only missing one meet after an injury on vault earlier in the evening, with seven scores of 9.800 or higher. She scored a solid 9.800, the team’s highest score of the meet, on the bars at Regionals. Merkley, BYU’s bar specialist, also contributed three scores above 9.800 including a season-high 9.850 at Southern Utah.
In an event that many consider the most difficult, the Cougars posted their highest team event score of the year against Utah with a 49.175. Seniors Donehue and Gallup led the way for BYU on the event, posting season-highs of 9.900 and 9.875, respectively.
Donehue once again scored a 9.800 or higher seven times throughout the season on beam while Gallup, who began her career as a beam specialist, scored a 9.800 or higher five times in the 2010 season. Johnson, Eyre and sophomore Jennifer Lezeu also showed their ability to compete on beam throughout the season and will be looked to for leadership on the event next season.
The Cougars were led on floor exercise throughout the year by Goldman, who scored a career-high 9.850 three times throughout the season, and Lezeu, who posted BYU’s season-best on the event with a 9.875, in the home meet against Denver and Utah State. It was also against Denver and USU that the Cougars scored their highest floor score of the season with a combined 49.075.
This event shows great promise for the future as Goldman was the only senior to compete on the floor for BYU. Rollins and Johnson, along with floor specialists Mickell Merrill and Jessica Villegas, also contributed as part of the lineup.
Goldman was the only Cougar gymnast to compete in the all-around and, even then, Goldman only competed in the all-around once against Utah State (after a Koval injury in warm-ups) scoring a 38.925. Coach Cattermole prefers to have gymnasts only compete on their best events, which results in fewer all-around competitors, but also tends to better the team score. This year with few injuries, Cattermole was able to pick and choose which athletes he wanted to compete on each event throughout the season.