The BYU gymnastics team is off to their best start since 2007. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
CLEVELAND -- The comeback Cougars have done it again as the BYU women’s gymnastics team (6-1-1) came from behind to tie No. 9 Kent State in their quad-meet Friday night and to record a season-high team score of 194.775. The score tied KSU and George Washington came in third with a 190.775. In last place was Wisconsin-Oshkosh who finished with a team score of 181.775.
“We could’ve done better than we did,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said following the meet, “But we kept competing to the very end and did what we had to do in the end.”
Starting on beam for the third straight meet, the Cougars were led Krysten Koval once again as the junior finished with a 9.750. The up and coming generation of BYU gymnastics showed promise with two freshmen following closely behind Koval, as Megan Bain and Raquel Willman both finished with a 9.675.
"We had a great meet tonight," team captain Jessica Villegas said. "The best part is that we keep improving each meet which is what needs to happen for us to reach our goal of nationals. Good things are definitely happening."
Taking the floor in the next rotation, Jennifer Lezeu posted the Cougars strongest score on the event with a 9.800. Once again, Bain posted an impressive season-high 9.725. Sophomore Haylee Rollins also received a 9.725 with her floor routine.
On the following rotation, BYU was next up on vault where Rollins posted a career-high, 9.825 to lead the Cougars in their third rotation. Also posting an impressive score on the event was Mickell Merrell, who is competing on vault for the Cougars after only competing on floor last season. Still after the second rotation, BYU trailed Kent State.
Finishing on uneven bars, the Cougars posted huge scores in order to tie Kent State. Giving BYU their highest score of the night was Haylee Rollins with a career-high 9.875. The Cougars recorded four scores of 9.800 or higher on the event as Madeleine Johnson, Natalie Eyre and Jennifer Lezeu scored 9.825, 9.800 and 9.800 respectively on the bars. Raquel Willman also contributed to the team season-high on the event with a 9.750.
"I was impressed with how well the girls performed after a rough first routine on balance beam," Koval said following the meet. "We fought for every tenth and everyone stepped up improving their routine to build the team score. It was a great come-from-behind win and a real confidence booster."
BYU will host their first home meet of the season on Jan. 29, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.