Cougars get First Taste of Action

Dayna Smart was one of several Cougars that showed well in BYU's intra-squad meet Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Provo, Utah (Dec. 14, 2006) -- The BYU gymnastics team got its first taste of competition for the upcoming season Thursday afternoon as the Cougars held an intra-squad meet in the team's practice gym located in the Smith Fieldhouse.

"We performed well," BYU coach Brad Cattermole said. "We have a long ways to go, but the girls are fighting hard."

Many different gymnasts performed on each of the four apparatuses -- vault, uneven bars, beam and floor -- with a loud and up-close crowd in attendance. Floor routines and other events were moderately condensed or performed on softer surfaces to help prevent possible injuries.

For the Cougars, the meet provided an opportunity to gage how the team performed in front of judges and people in a meet-type situation. Official scores were not available for release.

"Today was more about performing than anything," senior Lisa Willis said. "Things were not perfect today. It is good that they weren't. You don't want to be perfect at the very beginning. You want to build and get better every time out."

Juniors Dayna Smart and Alethea Boon led the team on vault, with freshmen Jenna Kerbis, Megan Donehue and Melissa Hough following close behind. Kylee Draper and McKell Poulson were the top performers on bars.

Smart led a close pack of competitors that scored well on beam, with Boon, Draper and Willis all right behind. Boon also performed well on floor, along with Kacie Capra Callens, Draper and freshman Heidi Poulson.

"We have a team that could be a great team," Cattermole said. "We had a lot of girls that did not do events, either because they had little injuries or because they were not ready. We are looking forward to them stepping up and doing what they are capable of doing."

BYU will open the 2007 season on Jan. 5 in Cancun, Mexico, when it takes on top-20 teams Iowa State, Missouri and Auburn.