Gymnasts compete at NCAA Regionals

(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – Three BYU gymnasts competed as individuals at the NCAA Regional Gymnastics Championships held in Salt Lake City at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday night. Sophomore Raquel Willman competed in the all-around, receiving a 38.200. Senior Natalie Eyre Pickard competed on the vault and balance beam while fellow senior Krysten Koval competed on the floor.

The meet included teams from Utah, Arizona State, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and San Jose State. There were several gymnasts who competed individually from Utah State, Air Force Academy and Southern Utah.

The gymnasts collectively decided to wear their pink leotards in honor of late BYU athletic trainer, Gaye Merrill. Willman started the night of with a solid 9.700 on bars. In the next rotation, she scored a 9.675 on beam. After an energized performance, Willman stumbled on her last pass, which resulted in a 9.100 on floor. To finish the night off strong, Willman scored a 9.725 on vault, her highest score of the evening.

Koval scored a 9.750 on floor, her lone event of the night. Eyre Pickard began the night with the highest score of any BYU gymnast with a 9.800 on vault. She followed that up with a 9.650 on bars. 

"It is definitely more difficult to compete in this meet without a team," said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. "The girls don't see it as an individual sport, they see it as a team sport and want to be here with their team. Coming up here and doing it by yourself is a tougher way to go. I felt like the girls did really well. They put it all out there and tried as hard as they could. I was very proud of them."

The University of Utah won the meet with a team score of 196.825. Placing second was the University of Nebraska with a score of 196.525. Both teams will advance to the NCAA National Gymnastics Championships in Duluth, Georgia, April 20-22.