BYU gymnastics opens season with 195.225 at Rio Tinto Best of Utah
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The No. 19 BYU gymnastics team posted a 195.225 to earn third place at the third annual Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet on Friday at the Maverik Center.
Keeping its title, the University of Utah posted a 197.100 for the win. Utah State placed second at 195.875 and Southern Utah finished in fourth at 195.000.
This meet marks the third of a multi-year partnership between Rio Tinto and the Maverik Center. The two are contracted to host this meet for a minimum of five seasons. Luckily, the partners and universities made it happen with the COVID-19 circumstances.
“I love the resilience of this team,” head coach Guard Young said. “I think the mark we have built in this team over the past six years is depth and we sure needed it tonight with nine of our girls out for the meet. For these kids to step up and not be afraid to come in at the last minute, it shows the resilience of this group. I think this might be a game changer for the rest of the season.”
BYU found its groove early as they kicked off the night on the floor in the first rotation. The Cougars had three freshmen make their career debuts on the floor, with Eliza Millar starting the rotation, followed by Sophie Dudley and Sydney Benson.
Senior Brittney Vitkauskas led the team with a 9.875, followed with a 9.800 by fellow senior Abby Beeston and freshman Sophie Dudley. With a total score of 48.775, the Cougars ended the rotation in fourth, trailing Utah State by .05.
In the second rotation, BYU took to the vault with a total score of 48.575 to keep them in fourth. Both Dudley and Benson made their second appearances of the night and fellow freshmen, Melissa Earl, made her career debut for BYU. Elease Rollins and Benson led BYU in the second rotation, both achieving a 9.800.
The Cougars tackled the uneven bars on the third rotation, earning a 49.000 to improve by .425 from the second rotation. Anna Bramblett made her career debut and notched a 9.825, along with teammates Pitou and Beeston. With their strong performance on bars, the Cougars moved to third place, trailing Utah State by .425.
BYU ended the night with strong performances on the balance beam. Freshman Heidi Schooley made her career debut on beam while Millar made her second appearance of the night, earning a 9.875 to lead the Cougars on the final rotation.
Utah State’s Rebecca Wells came out on top in the All-Around competition, leading with an impressive 39.125. Utah’s Grace McCallum followed close behind with a score of 38.950.
Vitkauskas ended the night tied for second on floor with a 9.875. Millar also tied for second on the balance beam in her BYU debut with a 9.875. The MVP award for the Cougars was shared by seniors Beeston and Pitou.
BYU hits the road again next week against the University of Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 15 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
BYU gymnastics prepares for Rio Tinto Best of Utah Meet to kick off the 2022 season
PROVO, Utah ‒ The BYU gymnastics team will make its 2022 season debut at the third annual Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet this Friday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. MST at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
This meet marks the third of a multi-year partnership between Rio Tinto and the Maverik Center. The two are contracted to host this meet for a minimum of five seasons. This yearly meet brings together all four local universities: BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University and Southern Utah University.
Featuring a raised podium floor, the meet will be televised live on BYUtv.
Tickets are still available to the public for the Best of Utah Gymnastics Meet on Friday, Jan. 7. Please use the link provided to access the ticketing page. Rio Tinto Best of Utah
Last season, the University of Utah came out on top to defend their title with a solid score of 196.900. BYU followed, earning a 195.700. Utah state placed third with a 194.350, followed by SUU with a 194.325.
The Cougars walked away with many accomplishments at last year’s event. BYU’s Abbey Miner-Alder placed third in All-Around, earning a 39.275, in addition to MVP for the Cougars. With Alder graduating last year, Coach Guard Young is excited to see other gymnasts step up during the competition this Friday.
“On Saturday, we ran a full scrimmage and the girls looked amazing. Since then, we have had to make a few changes due to sickness or injury, but I am super excited to see our young players step-up this Friday,” said Young. “The resilience of this team is amazing.”
“I am looking forward to the great senior leadership we will have competing this week. Both Haley Pitou and Abby Beeston will be competing in three events”, Young said. “These girls have worked extremely hard through the course of their college careers, so it should be great to watch.”
- When: Friday, Jan. 7
- Time: 7 PM MST
- Where: Maverik Center
- TV: BYUtv
THE COUGARS. BYU received a preseason WCGA ranking of No. 19. The Cougars finished 2021 as the No. 19 team in the nation and won the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference title. The team pushed to new heights with a 196.656 average to improve upon its 196.228 average from the previous season. This season, the Cougars will be led by event captains Elease Rollins, Brittany Vitkauskas, Haley Pitou and Sadie Miner-Van Tassell.
THE THUNDERBIRDS. SUU received a preseason WCGA ranking of No. 25. The Thunderbirds ended the 2021 season at No. 23 with an average team score of 196.048 and an NQS score of 196.675.
THE UTES. The University of Utah received a preseason WCGA ranking of No. 4, which marks the fifth-straight season the Utes have landed in the top five. Coming into the 2022 season, the Utes will bring 23 of 24 routines from last year's third-place NCAA Championship finishers.
THE AGGIES. The Aggies received a preseason WCGA ranking of No. 26, jumping six spots from their previous ranking. Last season, Utah State finished its season with a No. 25 ranking and an NQS of 196.025. The Aggies ended the 2021 season with a team average of 195.943.