Krysten Koval led the Cougars through a tough first rotation on beam and to a victory in Logan.
LOGAN -- With a victory over No. 18 Arizona and Utah State on Friday night, the BYU women’s gymnastics team has recorded their best season start since 2007. The Cougars defeated both the Wildcats and the Aggies with a score of 193.075. Arizona came in second with a 192.725 and host Utah State finished in third with a 192.000.
“There were some really positive things we can take from this meet,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. “We got off to a slow start and made a few mistakes. We’re capable of better, but we’re hitting and staying positive. Overall, I was very pleased with the performance tonight.”
Starting on balance beam for the second week in a row, the Cougars proved that they are able to overcome initial nerves to post a solid performance. Junior Krysten Koval gave the Cougars their strongest score on the beam with a 9.725 while freshman Raquel Willman posted a 9.700. After the first rotation BYU found themselves trailing both the Wildcats and Aggies.
“We had three great events and struggled a bit on beam,” senior captain Jessica Villegas said following the meet. “We’re happy with our performance but know that we can do even better and are excited to keep improving in practice and meets.”
The Cougars would improve their score on the next three events by nearly a point. On BYU’s next event, junior Jennifer Lezeu led the way for the Cougars with a BYU meet-high 9.775 followed closely by Mickell Merrell who recorded a 9.725 and Haylee Rollins who posted a 9.700.
The next rotation found BYU competed on vault and continued to improve their team score event by event. Three Cougars posted scores of 9.700 or higher on the event. Rollins received the highest BYU score on the event with a 9.750 while Natalie Eyre and freshman KayCee Gassaway recorded a 9.725 and 9.700 respectively.
The Cougars finished off their come from behind victory on the uneven bars, which has proved to be their strongest event in the last two meets, where they posted a team score of 48.600. BYU’s strongest performance on the event once again came from Rollins who once again recorded a 9.750. All of the Cougars posted scores of 9.700 or higher of the event.
"I'm really proud of the girls up to this point," Eyre said. "We've done well at hitting our sets so now it's just fixing the little things. It really comes down to the little inches and fixing those is what will get us to Nationals. We're excited to get in the gym, work hard and keep improving from here."
Next up BYU will travel to Cleveland, Ohio to face Kent State, George Washington and Oshkosh on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.