PROVO -- Coming off an impressive early season victory at Oregon State, the BYU women's gymnastics team is looking to repeat as champions Friday and Saturday at the 22nd annual Cat Classic, hosted by the University of Missouri. Pittsburgh and Auburn will round out the four teams competing in the tournament.
The Cat Classic was kind to the Cougars last season, with BYU taking the title with a score of 193.600. Kelly Parkinson-Evanson led the Cougar charge, winning the all-around with the second-highest score in Cat Classic history (39.225). Head coach Brad Cattermole knows though that this year is different and the Cougars will face a stiff challenge from their opponents this weekend.
"Regardless of what their scores are so far this year, they are all good teams at this tournament," Cattermole said.
The Cat Classic format is much like NCAA Nationals, with the first day devoted to team competition and the second day reserved for individual event specialists. The top ten finishers in each event Friday night will compete in the individual competition the next night. Last season, Parkinson-Evanson took home two individual titles in addition to the all-around championship.
This will be the ninth time BYU has participated in the Cat Classic. The 2001 title is the Cougars' only championship at the event. Cattermole has a lot of confidence going into the meet after last week's performance at Oregon State. Cattermole and the rest of the team are definitely looking for another trophy to add to their collection.
"We're just going to have to stay focused and hit our routines," Cattermole said. "If we start missing, we are going to be beat. I know we are totally capable of hitting though."
Jeni Lopez will compete in the all-around again this week. She came through with a solid score against Oregon State and is expected to post good scores again. Mindi Hilton, who has finally overcome a shoulder injury, will compete for the first time in two years. Hilton is a bar specialist and will only compete in that event this weekend.