Cougars cheer on teammate Trisha Ashton during floor routine (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU Cougars will strut with feline prowess at the annual Cat Classic against No.12 Missouri, No. 21 Penn State and Kentucky, on Friday and Saturday, in Columbia, Mo.
Competition between the Cougars, Tigers, Nittany Lions and Wildcats will be fierce with some of the nation's strongest gymnasts competing. BYU's Kari Lords is ranked No. 3 on the balance beam, with Penn State's Kate Stopper at No. 7. Also strong on beam are Penn State's Meredith Hoover (No. 20) and Missouri's Lauren Schwartzman (No. 22)
Stopper is tied with Missouri's Kelley Andersen at No. 16 on the floor exercise. Andersen is also ranked No. 22 in the All-Around.
Missouri also boasts Andrea Nervig, No. 15 in the uneven bars, and Alisha Robinson, No. 16 in the vault.
BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said he feels god about his team heading into the Cat Classic.
"Having a week off has given us time to repair and fine tune routines," he said.
The competition break has also given the Cougars a chance to recuperate from various illnesses.
Freshman Marie-Helene Claveau has been battling bronchitis during the week. If she competes, she will become BYU's second all-around competitor this season, with the addition of a new 10.0 uneven bars routine.
Her sister, Genevieve Claveau, will rejoin the bars line-up pending the condition of an abdominal injury that prevented her from competing against Utah.
Cougar fans can expect minor changes in the line-up. Sophomore Lisa Willis, who scored a 9.725 on an exhibition beam routine against Utah, will be added to the beam roster. Sophomore Jennifer Harvey, who exhibitioned against Utah (9.550), and freshman Candace Bauer, may also appear in the bars line-up depending on the health of the Claveau twins.
Cattermole said overall the team is looking strong and under control. He said the team always rallies to a performance and tends to attract a strong BYU crowd wherever they travel.