Cougars Post Best Score of the Year
SALT LAKE -- Highlighted by 12 individual career highs, the BYU women’s gymnastics team delivered its top performance of the season Friday night at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. The Cougars set season highs on vault and floor on the way to a season-best score of 192.850.
“We’re pretty happy about our score tonight,” BYU coach Brad Cattermole said. “We are a very young team. We just need to get more consistent and get out there and have fun competing instead of trying not to make mistakes.”
No. 1 Utah won the four-team meet with a strong 196.850 score, followed by No. 32 Southern Utah at 194.325, BYU at 192.850 and Texas Woman’s at 191.425. Utah’s Kristina Baskett won the all-around title with a 39.650.
The young Cougar team seemed to settle into some solid routines as the meet progressed.
“By the time we got to vault, we were just having fun and not worrying about mistakes,” Cattermole said. “That allowed us to relax and hit our vaults.”
Megan Donehue posted BYU’s top score in its opening rotation on bars. The junior team co-captain earned a season-high 9.725 tally as the Cougars’ final competitor on the event. Having to count a fall, BYU was in fourth place at 47.425 entering the second rotation.
Moving to beam, BYU had several gymnasts execute career performances. After sophomore Jessica Villegas delivered a solid 9.625 effort in her first-ever collegiate beam routine, Donehue and freshman Krysten Koval recorded back-to-back career-high scores of 9.825. The rotation concluded with junior Kaylee Gallup equaling her career mark with a season-best 9.800.
Despite some strong performances, the Cougars remained in fourth place at the meet’s halfway point with top-ranked Utah leading the way at 98.775, followed by Southern Utah at 97.450, Texas Woman’s at 96.175 and BYU at 95.650.
In the third rotation, Utah had to count a fall on beam but still managed a 48.750 to maintain its advantage. BYU, meanwhile, collectively delivered its best floor tally of the year at 48.100 with three Cougars earning personal-best scores. Freshmen Mickell Merrill and Jennifer Lezeu received 9.775 and 9.625 marks, respectively, while Villegas joined them with her best floor score to date with a 9.700.
The momentum of some strong routines in the first three events continued to crescendo for the Cougars on vault, as all five routines contributing to the team’s score were career bests. Freshmen Emiko Ono (9.775), Holland Davis (9.725), Natalie Eyre (9.850) and Koval (9.875) were joined by Donehue (9.875) to finish the night off in style. BYU’s 49.100 vault score was not only its best of the season but also the highest total it has achieved on any event this year. The back-to-back 9.875 scores by Koval and Donehue are also the highest individual marks earned by a Cougar on any event this season.
BYU moved into third place on the strength of its vault performance. The Cougars next compete at Southern Utah on Friday in Cedar City.
Cougars Face Top-Ranked Utes in Quad Meet
PROVO -- After three weeks off from competition, the BYU women’s gymnastics team will be back in action this week in one of the biggest meets of the year. The Cougars will travel north on Friday to take on in-state rival and No. 1-ranked Utah in a quad meet hosted by the Utes. Southern Utah and Texas Woman’s University round out the competition.
"Utah is always a fun meet, and we are looking forward to it,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “We are focusing on performing our routines and preparing to do the best we can. We are starting to get closer and just need to put it all together."
The Cougars have not competed since Jan. 16 at San Jose State, when they posted their highest score of the season (190.650) while tying for second place with UC Davis. The time off has been both a blessing and a curse for the oft-injured BYU gymnasts.
“Having the layoff is bad in the sense that you get out of the routine of having a meet each week, but it also provides some time to heal a bit and work on some routines,” said Cattermole. “We have been able to work on some routines for the gymnasts that haven’t been able to compete so in that respect it helps.”
BYU will be facing stiff competition in Friday’s meet. Utah is ranked No. 1 this week for the first time since March 28, 2005 and has not counted a fall since the first meet of the year. Southern Utah is listed 32nd nationally while the Cougars come in at 51. BYU will see the Thunderbirds again on Feb. 16 in Cedar City, Utah, and host the Utes on March 20 in the Marriott Center.
The meet starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at UtahUtes.com, by calling 801-581-UTIX and at the box office. The last time Utah hosted BYU, the NCAA single-meet attendance fell as a crowd of 15,447 turned out last year. Live video streaming will also be available for CSTV All-Access subscribers with the link posted on the BYU women’s gymnastics schedule page.