Wearing pink in memory of late trainer Gaye Merrill, the BYU women's gymnastics team impressed their home crowd on Saturday.
PROVO -- The BYU women’s gymnastics team (8-1-2) continued to show they are a force to be reckoned with this season tying No. 20 Iowa State and defeating No. 16 Southern Utah and Utah State in their first home meet of the season with a season-high 194.925.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. “The vault scores were low for everyone but the rest of the meet was awesome. The girls hit well and I was particularly pleased with balance beam tonight.”
Starting on vault for the first time this season, after beginning every previous meet on balance beam, the Cougars experienced unusually low scores. However, BYU was not alone as every other school posted below average scores on the event as well. Juniors Natalie Eyre and Mickell Merrell led the way for the Cougars both scoring a 9.675.
Next up for BYU was uneven bars, which has proved to be the Cougars strongest event this season as the team has posted high scores on the event throughout the season. Eyre and freshman Raquel Willman received a BYU team-high 9.825 on the event while Sarah Yandow also received a career-high 9.800 in the Cougars first routine on the event.
BYU recorded their highest beam score this season in front of their hometown Cougar faithful with a 48.950. Again Willman came through big for BYU scoring a 9.800 while Jennifer Lezeu received a 9.825. Still, it was junior Krysten Koval who once again led the Cougars on beam with a career-high 9.875.
A strong showing on floor exercise had the Smith Fieldhouse rocking and was just enough to allow the Cougars to tie with the Iowa State Cyclones who posted an remarkable 49.200 on uneven bars with six scores of 9.800 or higher. Jessica Villegas and Jennifer Lezeu both showed their experience on the event scoring 9.775 and 9.750 respectively. It was a crowd-pleasing routine from Haylee Rollins that highlighted the evening as the sophomore received a career-high 9.875 for her vivacious performance as BYU’s final competitor of the day.
“Haylee loves it,” Cattermole explained. “If you put her out in front of a whole big crowd and she’s got an opportunity to get a big score she’s just a show-off and she loves that. That was probably one of her best routines ever though so we were really pleased.”
The Cougars have now defeated three ranked opponents this season and tied with two on their way to an 8-1-1 record. BYU will look to continue their success as they travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana next week, Feb. 4, to take on No. 25 LSU. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. in the Maravich center. Live stats and live video are available through lsusports.net.