Madeleine Johnson posted career highs on the uneven bars and the floor exercise to pace the Cougars on Friday.
PROVO -- The injury-depleted BYU gymnastics team could not come up with enough to defeat Southern Utah, falling 194.675-189.125 Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We’re playing the hand we’re dealt and not complaining,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole, whose team has lost five top gymnasts to season-ending injuries this year. “It’s the hard times that make you appreciate the good times. These girls are tough and courageous. This is the beginning of something great next season.”
BYU began the night on the vault with solid results. Sophomore Madeleine Johnson made her collegiate debut on the event with a 9.475 as the Cougars adjusted to the recent loss of vaulters Megan Donehue and Krysten Koval. Junior Danielle Goldman boosted the Cougars’ score with a career-high 9.800 while freshman Jennifer Lezeu posted a personal-best 9.650 and fellow newcomer Mickell Merrell tied her career high with a score of 9.575. Overall, BYU posted a team score of 48.150 to open the meet.
The Cougars were again forced to compete only five gymnasts on the uneven bars as injuries continue to deplete the line-up. Despite struggles on the event overall with a team score of 45.550, Madeleine Johnson provided the highlight with a career-high 9.850. Johnson put up a solid routine complete with a stuck landing to bolster BYU.
A third Cougar led the team on the balance beam as sophomore Jessica Villegas scored a career-high 9.750. Villegas has come back from battling injury this season to post contributions for BYU. Goldman continued her quest for the all-around title with a 9.650 as the Cougars posted a team score of 47.475 on the event.
Johnson was once again the frontrunner for the Cougars as the team moved to the floor exercise in the final rotation. Johnson tallied a career-high 9.825, giving her the two highest BYU marks of the night including her 9.850 on the bars. Whitney Olsen added a 9.750 while Merrell and Goldman each contributed a 9.600. The Cougars’ 48.250 on the floor was their second-highest score of the year.
Johnson was the top Cougar all-arounder with a score of 38.350 while Goldman was right behind at 38.200. SUU’s Kellie Dangerfield won the title after posting a 38.950.
The Cougars will compete three times in the next two weeks beginning next Friday at Boise State. The following week finds BYU at Denver on March 9 and at Utah State on March 13 before returning home for the final meet of the season on March 20 against Utah in the Marriott Center.