UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five freshmen debuted as BYU gymnastics finished second with a score of 194.525 in its season opener against No. 23 Penn State, Bowling Green State and Temple Saturday afternoon.
“I’m super happy with our level of conditioning; we’re in good shape to start the season,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “We started on balance beam, which is always a hard event to start on. We got through it great and then we were off to the races after that.”
Penn State took first place after earning a 194.625, Temple came in third with a 191.925 and Bowling Green finished in fourth place with a 190.725.
The Cougars opened the meet on beam with a second-place score of 48.425. Freshman Shannon Hortman earned a 9.800 in her BYU debut, followed by sophomore Natasha Trejo’s 9.725. Senior Taylor Harward and junior Jill van Mierlo both added a 9.625. Penn State held the lead at the end of the rotation with a score of 48.650. Temple scored a 47.275 and Bowling Green a 46.225 for third and fourth place, respectively.
“I’m really proud of that beam team stepping it up and giving us a wonderful start to competition,” Young said.
On floor, BYU earned a 48.275 for a cumulative score of 96.650, and maintained second place. Junior Mackenzie Douglas led the Cougars with a 9.775 while Hortman continued her strong performance with a 9.700. Freshman Briana Pearson also scored a 9.675. All schools maintained their standing as Penn State led with an overall score of 97.100.
BYU earned a 48.600 on vault, comfortably holding on to second place. Douglas posted another 9.775, followed by freshman Angel Zhong’s 9.750. Hortman contributed a 9.725 as well. Penn State led BYU 145.800-145.250, followed by Temple and Bowling Green.
In their final and best rotation, the Cougars scored a 49.225 on uneven bars. Brittni Wilde Hawes tied her career high and Jessie Westergard set hers as both gymnasts earned a 9.900 — BYU’s top scores of the night. Hawes tied her career high while Westergard set one. Douglas scored a 9.825 and Trejo and van Mierlo both earned a 9.800. Penn State concluded the night on top with a 194.625, followed by Temple’s 191.925 and Bowling Green’s 190.725.
The Cougars return to Provo to host in-state rival No. 6 Utah in their home opener on Friday, Jan. 13. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.