BYU earns highest score since 2004 in a win over SUU
PROVO, Utah – BYU women's gymnastics achieved the program's highest score since 2004 in a 197.075-196.600 victory over Southern Utah on Friday at America First Event Center in Cedar City, Utah.
Back in 2004, the Cougars earned a 197.150 against Oregon State. This finish ranks as the 10th highest score in BYU’s history for women’s gymnastics. The team performance is also the second win for the Cougars against the Thunderbirds this season after earning a 195.575 to SUU’s 194.650 at the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet earlier this month.
"They were hitting and we were hitting—it was a great gymnastics environment,” head coach Guard Young said. “It’s indicative of all the hard work from everybody. Great performances from everyone. It’s a program win.”
In the first rotation of the night, BYU started off strong with a season-high score of 49.225 on bars. Each gymnast either tied a personal season best or career high. Freshman Anyssa Alvarado and sophomore Gabrielle Hubbard earned a score of 9.825, creating new career highs. Junior Haley Pitou tied her career best of 9.875, her highest of the season. Finishing off the set, junior Abby Stainton delivered the team’s highest score and tied her career high with a 9.900. BYU headed into the second rotation leading 49.225-49.050.
Next, the Cougars performed on vault and earned a solid 49.000. Sophomore Jordan Danbury Matthews earned a 9.850, tying her career high. The remaining gymnasts earned at least a 9.675 or higher. In addition, senior Shannon Evans earned a season-high 9.875, tying with SUU’s Morgan Alfaro for the event title.
“It was great to have Shannon back on three events,” Young said. “She’s been a trooper through injury and having patience to let her body heal and letting other girls step into her place. She’s starting to feel herself again and I couldn’t be more proud.”
However, BYU fell into second place as SUU set a team record on bars, earning a 49.400. The Thunderbirds led by .050 entering the third rotation.
On the floor, Stainton has continually climbed the last three meets and on Friday she finally beat her former career high of 9.825, earning a 9.850. Following Stainton, sophomore Brittney Vitkauskas earned a career high of 9.875. Finishing up for the Cougars, All-American Evans made her floor debut with a 9.900 to win the floor title. These scores contributed to another team season-high event total of 49.325. Heading into the final rotation, BYU jumped back into first, but only by .050.
In the final rotation of the night, BYU took the beam and earned the team’s season-high beam score of 49.525. The strong performance was the highest beam score since 2004 and only .150 away from the all-time record of 49.675 set on March 12, 2004.
Freshman Lexi Mather went first, earning a 9.850 to set a career high. Juniors Abbey Miner and Stainton followed, each earning a 9.950. Their scores won the event title and set new career highs. These stacked performances propelled the Cougars to a win of 197.075-196.600.
Miner’s performances on the night earned her a 39.350, winning the all-around title for the third time this season.
Next week, BYU stays on the road and faces MRGC rival Boise State in the ExtraMile Arena in Boise, Idaho, on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. MST.
No. 15 BYU faces No. 26 SUU in first road meet
PROVO, Utah – The No. 15 BYU gymnastics team travels to Cedar City to face No. 26 Southern Utah this Friday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. MST in the America First Event Center.
Last season, BYU traveled to Cedar City on Feb. 22 and fell to the Thunderbirds on the road, losing by .350. Weeks later on March 15, the Cougars took advantage of their home turf and topped the Thunderbirds 196.550-195.975. The MRGC rivals faced once more at the 2019 MRGC Championship where SUU took second (195.900) and BYU placed third (195.750).
This season, the two teams faced each other at the first-ever Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet at the Maverik Center on Jan. 11. Following the No. 3 Utes, BYU earned a 195.575 to place second, followed by SUU with a 194.650.
When: Friday, Jan. 24
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: America First Event Center
THE COUGARS. Heading into week 3, the Cougars sit at No. 15 for the second week in a row after earning their highest score of the season, 195.875, against No. 3 UCLA and Utah State on Jan. 18. Junior Abbey Miner is ranked No. 17 in the nation in all-around currently after holding onto MRGC Gymnast of the Week for the second week, while adding additional honors of Co-Floor and Co-Vault Specialist. Additionally, junior Helody Cyrenne, the Co-Beam Specialist of the Week, earned BYU’s best score of the week, a 9.900 on beam.
THE THUNDERBIRDS. The Thunderbirds earned a No. 26 ranking from the WCGA’s National Preseason Poll and have maintained that spot. On Jan. 18, SUU posted its highest score of the season, 195.400, against the University of New Hampshire. A stand-out performer for the Thunderbirds is Karley McClain, who won the all-around competition with a 39.200. McClain currently sits at No. 25 in the nation.