Utes Narrowly Escape Provo
PROVO -- They were flipping and flying in the Marriott Center Friday night as the No. 11 BYU women's gymnastics (1-2) team hosted Utah (3-0), the No. 1 team in the nation, in a meet that went down to the wire.
In the end it was Utah coming out ahead of the Cougars by a score of 196.225-194.700 in front of 4,652 fans. The biggest difference in the meet came down to the balance beam.
"Utah was up there working it like it was a sidewalk," said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole, "We were working it like it was a sidewalk."
The Utes outscored the Cougars 49.450-47.925 in the beam as BYU struggled to stay on the beam. Senior Kari Lords, who is tied for third nationally in the event, had a rare fall during her routine as did three other Cougars.
Taking home the All Around was Utah junior Annabeth Eberle whose total score of 39.725 bested the competition, including the Cougars' junior Jaime Mabray who finished in third with a score of 38.925.
On the night, the Cougars started off with a small lead after a strong start in the Vault, while the Utes struggled to not fall off the uneven bars. Three of the six competitors slipped off the bars for the Utes while the Cougars looked impressive on the vault.
At the end of the first round BYU had a 48.825-47.850 lead. The Utes quickly responded and wouldn't trail again despite a fourth-round charge by the Cougars on the floor.
"We knew that it was a good time to motivate ourselves," said senior Brogan Jacobson who tied for the high score in the floor exercise with a 9.925 score. "We have a good floor line up and we were excited to go out there and show the crowd what we can do."
The Cougars did the Utes in the event, but it wasn't enough to pass Utah thanks to the strong performance they had in the beam.
In all, the Cougars' Lords won the bars, while Jacobsen and freshman Marie-Helen Claveau tied for the high score in the floor with Utah's Eberle.
"We didn't do great tonight, but we never give up," said Lords, "We'll just get right back up."
Next up for the Cougars is the Cat Classic held in Missouri on Feb. 6-7.
PROVO -- Boasting one of its best teams ever, the 11th-ranked BYU women's gymnastics team hosts No. 1-rated Utah Friday in an instate battle between two of the nation's top programs. The meet begins at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
BYU (1-1) opened with a loss at Kentucky before rebounding with a strong effort in a win at Boise State. Utah is off to a 2-0 start with impressive wins over then No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 Nebraska.
BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said the team is ready and excited for it's first home meet.
"There's nothing to be anxious about," he said. "It's just fun. This is a great opportunity for people in our community to see some great gymnastics."
The Cougars' win last week over the Broncos represents the highest second-meet score (196.275) of head coach Brad Cattermole's career.
"It's given the girls a lot more confidence," said Dawn Cattermole, BYU assistant coach. "They're as happy with their performance as we are."
Some of the nation's top performers will compete Friday in the Marriott Center. BYU senior Kari Lords and Utah's Melissa Vituj are tied for third nationally on balance beam. Lords is also tied for fourth nationally and ranked No. 2 in the North Central Region on the floor exercise (9.950).
Cougar senior Brogan Jacobsen and Utah's Annabeth Eberle are tied with Denver's Ashley Shible (9.900) at No. 5 in the region on the uneven bars. Eberle is tied for first in the nation on the vault (10.0 best) and is fifth in the all-around (39.625), while Ute freshman Rachel Tidd is tied for third on vault (9.975) and fifth on bars (9.925).
Another strong Cougar performer is the team's all-around leader Jaime Mabray. The junior is coming off an all-around win against Boise State (38.950).
BYU assistant coach Shauna Mertz said she has seen the Cougars' motivation change and the unity grow stronger.
"The first meet against Kentucky was an eye-opener," she said. "They now have a fighting attitude and that will pay off in the long run."
Tickets for Friday's meet are available at the BYU Ticket Office or by calling 800-322-BYU1 or 378-BYU1. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for senior citizens, BYU faculty, and students without an All-Sport Card; and $15 for a family pass. Admission is free to students with an All-Sport Card.
"Disco Night" is the promotion for the meet, as fans who come dressed in disco duds can win prizes. The meet will be televised on KBYU, channel 11, and on BYU Television, which is available nationally on the Dish Network and DirecTV.