BYU Draws South Central Region, Heads to Arizona State

PROVO -- The No. 17 BYU women's gymnastics team was selected for the South Central Region in Tempe, Ariz., for NCAA Regional competition. The Cougars join No. 1 UCLA, No. 12 Arizona, No. 18 Arizona State, Cal-State Fullerton and University of Illinois-Chicago at the meet on Apr. 6.

"Going to ASU didn't surprise me at all," BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. "I'd rather go to ASU than anywhere else."

The top two teams from the region will advance to the 2002 NCAA Championships, held from Apr. 18-20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Cougars hope to avenge last season's performance at Regionals, where BYU placed third and failed to qualify for Nationals. BYU will need to perform well though, and fight it out for one of the top two positions.

"I like our chances," Cattermole said. "We've got two other teams (ASU, U of A) that are a lot like us."

BYU dropped two spots in the final national rankings following a disappointing, injury-plagued regular season finale at Utah. The Cougars best ranking in any event came on floor at No. 9 in the country. The Cougars 49.650 season-high mark tied Utah as the highest mark on the event in the nation this season.

Two-time All-American Kelly Parkinson-Evanson, who scored a 39.675 in the all around at Utah, finished the season No. 11 in the nation in the all-around. She ranked No. 7 on her best event this season, the balance beam.

Parkinson-Evanson, Jeni Lopez, Kari Dye and Jaime Mabray will perform in the all around at the meet. In the last two meets, both Parkinson-Evanson and Lopez have scored their two highest all-around scores of their outstanding careers. Lopez's 39.425 against Southern Utah and 39.300 against Utah show she is peaking at the right time.

"Jeni's been consistent throughout her entire career," Cattermole said. "Kelly's just a seasoned senior and a great competitor."

Dye, only a sophomore, has tied school records the past two weeks. Against Southern Utah, Dye scored a 9.975 on floor to tie Kim Little's BYU record. Then one week later against Utah, Dye received a 9.975 on beam to tie Kelli Rose's school record.

The only freshman who will most likely compete at Regionals, Mabray has showed how much potential she has throughout the season. In her first collegiate competition in the all-around at the Cat Classic, Mabray scored a 39.225. Mabray scored a season-high 39.350 at Boise State only three meets ago and Cattermole expects big things from Mabray this postseason and in years to come.

Candace Cosgrave, who suffered a severe ankle sprain in the meet against Utah, will not be able to perform for the remainder of the season. The junior co-captain performed on floor in every meet this season, scoring a season-high 9.875 three times.

Senior Angie Hickman will take Cosgrave's place in the floor lineup at Regionals. Hickman competed three times for score this season, with her season-best 9.800 coming at Utah. Hickman will also compete in vault, where she has a season-high score of 9.900.

"Thank goodness Angie continued to train on floor as if she were in every meet," Cattermole said. "I expect she'll do real well."

Two other Cougars who were injured at the Utah meet should recover in time for Regionals. Brooke Craig, the other junior co-captain, is still feeling the effects of a mishap during bar warm-ups at Utah, but should be able to perform on bars, beam and floor.

Megan Shupe, a sophomore vault specialist who injured her left ankle at Utah, will rest this week but be in action at Regionals. Brogan Jacobsen, Lindsay Lines or Lena Johnson all will be available to perform on vault should Shupe's ankle take longer than expected to heal.

Lines, a junior and Arizona native, has competed regularly on bars and beam this season and will do the same at Regionals. Lines notched her career highs in both events this season, with a 9.900 on bars and a 9.875 on beam.

BYU hopes to perform at Regionals like it did against Southern Utah, tying the school record with a score of 197.375. But Cattermole knows consistency is going to be the key to the Cougars' success at Regionals.

"It doesn't even have to be a great meet," Cattermole said. "You just have to be steady."