UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five freshmen debuted as BYU gymnastics finished second with a score of 194.525 in its season opener against No. 23 Penn State, Bowling Green State and Temple Saturday afternoon.
“I’m super happy with our level of conditioning; we’re in good shape to start the season,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “We started on balance beam, which is always a hard event to start on. We got through it great and then we were off to the races after that.”
Penn State took first place after earning a 194.625, Temple came in third with a 191.925 and Bowling Green finished in fourth place with a 190.725.
The Cougars opened the meet on beam with a second-place score of 48.425. Freshman Shannon Hortman earned a 9.800 in her BYU debut, followed by sophomore Natasha Trejo’s 9.725. Senior Taylor Harward and junior Jill van Mierlo both added a 9.625. Penn State held the lead at the end of the rotation with a score of 48.650. Temple scored a 47.275 and Bowling Green a 46.225 for third and fourth place, respectively.
“I’m really proud of that beam team stepping it up and giving us a wonderful start to competition,” Young said.
On floor, BYU earned a 48.275 for a cumulative score of 96.650, and maintained second place. Junior Mackenzie Douglas led the Cougars with a 9.775 while Hortman continued her strong performance with a 9.700. Freshman Briana Pearson also scored a 9.675. All schools maintained their standing as Penn State led with an overall score of 97.100.
BYU earned a 48.600 on vault, comfortably holding on to second place. Douglas posted another 9.775, followed by freshman Angel Zhong’s 9.750. Hortman contributed a 9.725 as well. Penn State led BYU 145.800-145.250, followed by Temple and Bowling Green.
In their final and best rotation, the Cougars scored a 49.225 on uneven bars. Brittni Wilde Hawes tied her career high and Jessie Westergard set hers as both gymnasts earned a 9.900 — BYU’s top scores of the night. Hawes tied her career high while Westergard set one. Douglas scored a 9.825 and Trejo and van Mierlo both earned a 9.800. Penn State concluded the night on top with a 194.625, followed by Temple’s 191.925 and Bowling Green’s 190.725.
The Cougars return to Provo to host in-state rival No. 6 Utah in their home opener on Friday, Jan. 13. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
PROVO, Utah — No. 23 Penn State hosts BYU gymnastics in a season-opening quad-meet that also includes Bowling Green State and Temple on Saturday.
“We’re ready and that sums up the work the girls have done in the preseason,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “We started four-event training two weeks earlier this year. There were some definite growing pains adding that fourth event and the girls were able to work through it.”
The Cougars opened their 2016 campaign and Young’s first season as head coach by scoring a 193.850 against rival Utah at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
BYU’s 2017 team features 10 returning gymnasts, nine incoming freshmen and one redshirt freshman. For more information on the season outlook, see the 2017 season preview.
“There’s a certain excitement about the start of every season,” Young said. “You don’t get better during the season. Summer is the (improvement) season, you start preparing in the fall and the season is the showoff time.”
The meet begins at 4 p.m. EST at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania, and live stats will be available at www.gopsusports.com.