BYU Gymnasts Hope to Rise to the Challenge

Freshman Krysten Koval is the latest Cougar to suffer a season-ending injury or illness, becoming the fifth gymnast BYU has lost this year. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- A battered and bruised BYU gymnastics team will take the floor this Friday in the Smith Fieldhouse against Southern Utah. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on BYUTV.

“Southern Utah is a good team,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “They are doing well, and we look forward to hosting them on Friday. We are able to give most everyone some experience this year because of all our injuries so we know in the long run this will help our team. Right now, everyone is just doing what they can to help. I was pleased with how the team responded last meet.”

Five Cougar gymnasts have suffered season-ending injuries or illnesses this season. In addition to the earlier losses of co-captain McKell Poulson-Merkley, Holland Davis and Natalie Eyre, two other Cougars became the team’s most recent casualties as co-captain Megan Donehue injured her ankle prior to last Friday’s meet and freshman Krysten Koval underwent emergency surgery over the weekend. Both were competing on every event but floor and are now out for the year.

While the injuries have hit hard across the board, the uneven bars line-up has been particularly affected. The Cougars were already planning to compete just five gymnasts on the bars with the loss of Davis and Eyre, making every score count. Then, with Donehue’s injury on Friday, freshman Emiko Ono was thrown into the mix and responded with a solid routine to help BYU post its highest bars score of the year. However, Koval’s injury will further complicate the line-up decisions heading into this week’s competition. Cattermole hopes sophomore Whitney Olsen or freshman Jennifer Lezeu will be ready to compete.

Southern Utah comes into the meet ranked No. 35 in the nation and No. 24 on the floor. The Cougars have already faced the Thunderbirds twice this season, falling at SUU and in quad-meet action at Utah.

In addition to live coverage on BYUTV, Friday’s meet will also have live stats available by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s gymnastics homepage at www.byucougars.com/gymnastics_w.

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