The Cougars began the meet on balance beam hitting every routine. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LOS ANGELES -- The BYU women’s gymnastics team competed in NCAA Regionals at UCLA on Saturday and finished in sixth despite strong performances that received unusually low scores. The Cougars came into the meet as the fifth seed out of six teams invited to compete in the Los Angeles Regional and finished with a team score of 193.400. UCLA came out on top with a 197.825 followed by Arkansas with a final team score of 196.675. Both UCLA and Arkansas will advance to the NCAA National Championships.
“We did some good things tonight and we did some things we wish we could correct,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said following the meet. “We only had five girls who had ever competed in Regionals though and I think tonight gave us some good experience that we can take into next year.”
The team opened the night competing on the balance beam where each gymnast performed a solid routine for the Cougars. BYU hit every routine and finished the rotation in third behind Arkansas and Arizona State with a team score of 48.350. UCLA and Arizona had a bye in the first rotation.
Kaylee Gallup, who competed individually on beam in NCAA Regionals last year, led the Cougars on beam with a 9.725. Megan Donehue began her routine with a shaky mount but from there on performed a near-perfect routine scoring a 9.675. The last three scores that were counted were all scores of 9.650 from Natalie Eyre, Krysten Koval and Madeleine Johnson.
BYU had a bye in the second rotation before competing in the third rotation on floor exercise. Despite a fall in the first routine of the rotation, the Cougars pulled through in the clutch performing five consecutive routines of 9.600 or higher and did not have to count the fall on floor. Danielle Goldman and Haylee Rollins led BYU, both scoring 9.750. Jennifer Lezeu followed close behind with a 9.700. After competing on floor, the Cougars were in fifth with a team score of 96.800 trailing fourth place Arizona State by just one-tenth.
Rollins, a freshman, paced BYU on vault scoring team-high 9.700. Despite once again receiving low marks, the Cougars did not have to a count the one fall that they encountered on vault. Rollins was followed by Gallup with a 9.650. Another freshman, Sarah Yandow, followed close behind with a 9.625. BYU finished the rotation with a team score of 144.925. The Cougars had a bye once again after vault.
In the final rotation BYU finished strong with their highest event score of the night. Donehue, a senior, performed the Cougars last routine of the night scoring a team-high 9.800. Donehue was followed by two of her fellow seniors, Goldman and McKell Merkley, with scores of 9.725 and 9.675 respectively. The three along with Gallup competed for the last time for BYU after giving four years of their time and dedication.
“Our seniors were great tonight,” Cattermole said. “We’re going to miss them and we’re proud of all they’ve done here for our program. ”