Junior Melissa Hough posted a 9.625 on the uneven bars last week against No. 9 Oregon State. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Two competitors await the BYU gymnastics team this week as the Cougars travel to San Jose, Calif., to take on No. 23 San Jose State and UC Davis in tri-meet action on Friday. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST).
“This is the first time we’ve ever been to San Jose State so we’re not really sure what to expect,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “But we’re not concerned with the competition. We have to find a way to hit our sets, especially on the uneven bars. We need to improve our consistency and get better at executing.”
After two weeks of action and scores of 189.125 and 188.975, the Cougars are anxious to improve and gain experience. This year’s squad has no seniors and more freshmen than sophomores and juniors combined. Six of the 12 gymnasts who have competed this year are newcomers.
In addition to adjusting to a young roster, the Cougars have been battling injuries. For this week’s meet, BYU will be without the services of freshman Holland Davis, who competed on three events in the first meet of the year but injured her ankle just prior to last week’s competition. Several others are fighting through various ailments.
There are several bright spots for the Cougars despite the challenges they have faced. Freshman Krysten Koval has been a solid contributor for BYU on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam while team captains Megan Donehue and McKell Poulson-Merkley continue to demonstrate leadership through their performances. Cougar fans can also look forward to seeing a new vault from freshman Natalie Eyre, which she plans to debut this weekend.
“We’ve had a tough beginning, but no one is discouraged,” said Cattermole. “Everyone is ready to work and motivated to do better. They all have great attitudes.”
The SJSU Spartans are ranked No. 23 by average team score this season while the UC Davis Aggies are 39th, just ahead of the Cougars at 40. SJSU senior Veronica Porte is 22nd nationally with an average all-around score of 39.100.