No. 12 BYU notches highest score of the season in win over Utah State
LOGAN, Utah - Surpassing No. 21 Utah State,196.425-195.175, No. 12 BYU collected its highest score and first win of the season on Friday in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Cougars now hold a two-meet winning streak over the Aggies. Friday's meet was the second matchup of the season between the two MRGC rivals, who both participated in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet on Jan. 9.
"They came to compete and we had a lot thrown at us this week with injuries and COVID-19," assistant coach Natalie Broekman said. "We had a lot who stepped up into lineups and exhibitions and they rose to the occasion."
In the first rotation on Friday, BYU started on the uneven bars with the seniors carrying the team. Haley Pitou and Abby Boden-Stainton earned team-high scores of 9.850, the highest of the night overall. Angel Zhong followed with a 9.800, matching her season high. Additionally, Helody Cyrenne made her season debut, notching a 9.775. BYU earned its lowest uneven bars score of the season, a 48.975, but managed a .325 advantage over Utah State.
"We started on bars the last three weeks and they’ve been an incredible bars team," Broekman said. "We had one hiccup with Lindsey Hunter, but the rest of the bar team finished super solid."
The mood shifted as BYU earned its highest total vault score of the season, a 48.950. Senior Avery Bennett led with a season-high score of 9.850, matched by senior Abbey Miner-Alder. Pitou achieved a 9.800, her new season high. Highlights included a season debut on vault by junior Rachel Bain-Heaton and a career debut performance by sophomore Lexi Griffith. Heading into the third rotation, BYU widened the gap to 98.025-97.175.
“One thing we really wanted to improve on was taking that momentum from bars over into vault,” Broekman said. “They were trying to get those landings and it was a night and day difference from last week.”
On floor, Stainton, Alder and junior Brittney Vitkauskas all boasted a solid 9.875. Bennett surpassed her previous career-high score by an entire .100, pulling of a 9.825. A new face to the floor lineup, junior Adeline Rieder, made her debut with a 9.800. The Cougars received their second highest floor score of the season, a 49.250.
Heading to the beam, BYU held almost a whole point advantage over Utah State, 147.275-146.325. This lead would continue as the Cougars received their highest beam score of the season, a 49.150. Sophomore Elease Rollins matched her career-high score of 9.900, winning the event, alongside Stainton, with a new season high. Freshman Sophia McClelland made her collegiate debut, notching an impressive 9.825. In the end, BYU topped Utah State by an entire 1.25 points.
“We’ve been waiting for this team to figure out how to hit together as a team,” Broekman said. “We’ve had three weeks of steadily getting better and they put it down tonight. That’s what we see in practice and they got the job done.”
Coming up, the Cougars prepare for their home opener against Southern Utah on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse.
No. 12 BYU travels to face No. 21 Utah State
PROVO, Utah - On the road again, No. 12 BYU gymnastics prepares to face No. 21 Utah State in Logan, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. MST in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Heading into the meet, the Cougars hold their highest ranking since the 2019 season. A highlight includes the BYU bar swingers ranking No. 5 in the nation.
Friday's meet is the rivals’ second matchup of 2021, with two other meets planned later in the season.
The Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference rivals first battled this season in West Valley City, Utah, on Jan. 9 at the second annual Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet. BYU placed second (195.700.) in the event behind No. 4 Utah (196.900) while Utah State earned third (194.350), topping Southern Utah (194.325).
Last season, the two schools faced three separate times. In fact, BYU held a six-meet winning streak until the final matchup on March 6, 2020. On Utah State’s home turf, the Aggies broke the streak, winning 196.600-196.450.
- When: Friday, January 29
- Time: 7 p.m. MST
- Location: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
- Live Stream: https://utahstateaggies.com/watch/
- Stats: http://sidearmstats.com/utahstate/gymnastics/20210129.html
THE COUGARS. Hitting the road for every meet thus far, BYU faced Boise State on Saturday, Jan. 26, walking away with a narrow loss of 196.325-196.250. However, the Cougars matched their season-high score, established in Tempe, Arizona, the week prior. On Monday, the MRGC honored senior Abbey Miner-Alder as the Vault Specialist of the Week for the third consecutive week. She was also awarded with Co-Floor Specialist of the Week.
THE AGGIES. At their home opener on Friday, Jan. 22, Utah State earned its highest home-opening score in school history in its loss to Southern Utah, 196.650-196.225. This score helped the Aggies jump three spots in the national rankings. Additionally, the team boasts a No. 15 rating on the uneven bars and a No. 23 ranking on vault. Standout performers include senior Autumn DeHarde, who is tied for fifth nationally on beam, and sophomore Maia Fishwick, who is tied for No. 17 nationally on bars.