Cougars Kick off Season at Cancun Classic

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU gymnastics team will kick the 2007 season off when it travels to Cancun, Mexico, for the Cancun Classic on Friday Jan. 5. Awaiting the Cougars in Cancun will be preseason top-20 teams Iowa State, Missouri and Auburn.

"This is the level of competition you see at (NCAA) Regionals and (NCAA) Nationals," BYU coach Brad Cattermole said. "If you can compete well with these teams, you can compete with anybody. We are very excited and are looking forward to it."

The trip to Cancun will mark the Cougars' second visit to Cancun to open a season. BYU's first trip was in 2005 when it scored a 194.675 and finished second place behind Oklahoma. Four girls from this year's squad competed in Cancun that year and two placed very high. Dayna Smart took first place on beam with a 9.900, and Lisa Willis captured second place on bars with a career-best 9.850.

Seniors Kacie Capra Callens and Willis will help lead an experienced group of eight competitors that return from last year's team. The team will also look to juniors Smart, Kylee Draper, Alethea Boon and Aimee Walker Pond for additional leadership and solid routines. Nine new and talented freshmen have joined the Cougars this season. Some of them will get their first taste of collegiate competition in Cancun.

Start time for the meet is 6:30 p.m. (MST). For fans wishing to follow the action, a live-video stream of the meet is available for $24, with sign-ups available through Jan. 3.

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