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.