(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - The 2013 women’s gymnastics season is about to begin with veterans and new faces out to prove they belong with the top programs of collegiate gymnastics with a goal to make to the NCAA Championships. The season kicks off with the Cancun Classic against No. 9 Oregon State and No. 10 Michigan on Friday, Jan. 4 from Cancun, Mexico.
“This team is probably more motivated than many of them we have had, and we’ve had some that have been pretty motivated,” head coach Brad Cattermole said. “This team hasn’t been to Nationals in a while and there are several of the leaders on this team that really want to get to Nationals and they are willing to do what it takes.”
Returning in 2013 is junior Raquel Willman, who competed at the NCAA Regionals individually last year, scoring a 38.200 in the all-around competition.
The Cougars also return Megan Bain and Haylee Rollins, both talented gymnasts whose 2012 campaigns were cut short due to injuries. Both are expected to be leaders and big contributors in 2013.
The 2012 season was plagued by injuries, unexpected turns and in the end fell short of reaching the NCAA Regionals by just hundredths of a point.
“Last year if we had in any one of the last four meets, one person, not all of the people, just one person doesn’t fall, we would have made Regionals,” Cattermole said. “I wasn’t even concerned but as it turned out we missed Regionals by a few hundredths of a point. It was our own fault; we gave it away. We had an opportunity.”
2013 will provide a new beginning to refocus and commit to achieving the goal of getting to NCAA Regionals which will open the door to a NCAA Championships birth.
“There is the group that really wants to get to Nationals but they don’t want to break a sweat our ruin their makeup. These girls want it bad,” Cattermole said. “If you got there on desire, we’re getting there because they are willing to put in the extra time and work during the summer and do what it takes.”
Several new faces will join the team and be counted on to contribute to the team, including six new freshmen. The transition from club and high school gymnastics to the collegiate level can be difficult, adjusting to the more team-driven approach.
“We are a young team and we have some talented young ones. We had two inter-squad meets and we were poised to go 195 or better which hasn’t happened in a long time but he we had a couple of mishaps that cost us,” Cattermole said. “It’s just inter-squad but we had real judges and it was noteworthy they performed well but also that we made some mistakes young teams make. If we can work our way out of that we can be competitive.”
The 2013 schedule features matchups with several top squads including four teams ranked in the preseason top 10 in No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Utah, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 10 Michigan.
BYU will have only itself to worry about in hopes to just perform to the best of its ability and come out on top come scoring time. The Cougars have bested higher ranked teams in years past and will look to do so again in 2013.
“[Opponents] are going to the best they can and we are going to the best we can. In gymnastics you want to prepare to do the absolute best you can and pay attention to every detail of your routine,” Cattermole said. “At a meet you just assume we are paying attention to us and they are paying attention to them. Because there isn’t a dang thing we can do that will have an effect on them other than score high scores.”
Cattermole’s Cougars look to be highly motivated entering this season, hungry to prove they belong and can make a statement. The team has worked to get ready for 2013 season which kicks off at the Cancun Classic in Cancun, Mexico on Friday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. CT.
Follow the meet at the Cancun Gymnastics Classic Facebook page.
Check back at BYUCougars.com for results following the meet.