Season Highs For BYU Gymnasts
PROVO -- Season highs were the order of the day for the BYU gymnastics team as the Cougars posted their best score of the year with a 190.650 at San Jose State Friday. Freshman Krysten Koval paced BYU with a 9.800 on the balance beam while the uneven bars proved to be the strongest overall event for the Cougars, who turned in a combined score of 48.150 on the apparatus.
“I thought we made a lot of improvements in some important areas,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “I was very pleased with our bars routines. We gave away some points on balance beam, but overall we did a great job. We’re slowly but surely getting there.”
The host Spartans led the way in the meet with a score of 192.375 while UC Davis also tallied a mark of 190.650. In addition to a season-best mark on the bars, BYU also posted season highs on the vault (47.950) and the floor exercise (47.575) as the Cougars showed all-around improvement in their third meet of the year.
Koval’s 9.800 on the beam was the high score of the meet for BYU, but the freshman also notched a team-high 9.750 on the vault followed by fellow newcomer Natalie Eyre and junior Danielle Goldman at 9.625. All six competitors on the uneven bars turned in solid marks ranging from 9.425 to a high of 9.675 turned in by junior Melissa Hough and sophomore Maddie Johnson.
Despite Koval’s performance, the balance beam proved to be the toughest event of the night for BYU as the Cougars were forced to count one fall. But the team quickly rebounded on the floor exercise led by Goldman’s score of 9.750. Goldman competed in the all-around for the second-straight week, bettering last week’s score by almost one point at 37.825.
Cougars recording season highs on the night included Holland Davis (9.550 – bars); Megan Donehue (9.650 – bars); Eyre (9.625 – vault); Goldman (9.600 – bars, 9.750 – floor, 37.825 – all-around); Hough (9.625 – floor); Koval (9.750 – vault, 9.425 – bars, 9.800 – beam); Jennifer Lezeu (9.375 – vault); Whitney Olsen (9.625 – floor); Emiko Ono – 9.500); and Jessica Villegas (8.825 – floor).
BYU will take two weeks off from competition before returning to action on Feb. 6 at Utah.
Cougars Take Their Show On The Road
PROVO -- Two competitors await the BYU gymnastics team this week as the Cougars travel to San Jose, Calif., to take on No. 23 San Jose State and UC Davis in tri-meet action on Friday. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST).
“This is the first time we’ve ever been to San Jose State so we’re not really sure what to expect,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “But we’re not concerned with the competition. We have to find a way to hit our sets, especially on the uneven bars. We need to improve our consistency and get better at executing.”
After two weeks of action and scores of 189.125 and 188.975, the Cougars are anxious to improve and gain experience. This year’s squad has no seniors and more freshmen than sophomores and juniors combined. Six of the 12 gymnasts who have competed this year are newcomers.
In addition to adjusting to a young roster, the Cougars have been battling injuries. For this week’s meet, BYU will be without the services of freshman Holland Davis, who competed on three events in the first meet of the year but injured her ankle just prior to last week’s competition. Several others are fighting through various ailments.
There are several bright spots for the Cougars despite the challenges they have faced. Freshman Krysten Koval has been a solid contributor for BYU on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam while team captains Megan Donehue and McKell Poulson-Merkley continue to demonstrate leadership through their performances. Cougar fans can also look forward to seeing a new vault from freshman Natalie Eyre, which she plans to debut this weekend.
“We’ve had a tough beginning, but no one is discouraged,” said Cattermole. “Everyone is ready to work and motivated to do better. They all have great attitudes.”
The SJSU Spartans are ranked No. 23 by average team score this season while the UC Davis Aggies are 39th, just ahead of the Cougars at 40. SJSU senior Veronica Porte is 22nd nationally with an average all-around score of 39.100.