PROVO, Utah — Despite leading for the first two rotations and posting its best score in three seasons, BYU fell in an evenly contested meet to No. 17 Iowa, 196.550 to 196.425, Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“It’s great to perform like I know these girls are capable of,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “We would liked to have won, but gymnastics is a weird sport where you’re battling that equipment and I think today we won that battle. I’m super proud of these girls. We didn’t have a single fall which is awesome. I like where we are at right now. We’re relatively healthy, we have a lot of different options and I really love how we’re training in the gym right now. I’m not surprised by how well they performed because I’ve seen it in the gym the past couple of weeks.”
BYU set or tied season highs in all four rotations, scoring a 49.000 on vault, 49.225 on bars, 49.050 on beam and 49.150 on floor.
Jill Van Mierlo set a season-high all-around score of 39.175. Her highest score came from her performance on the beam with a score of 9.850. She scored a 9.775 on vault, 9.800 on uneven bars and a 9.750 on floor.
First rotation on vault for the Cougars ended with a season-high score of 49.000. Mackenzie Douglas led the scores with a 9.850 and Shannon Hortman followed closed behind with a career-high score of 9.825. Angel Zhong tied her career best of 9.800 and Lauren Love tied her career high score of 9.750. Iowa answered back with a strong performance on bars coming in with a score of 48.975.
Next, the Cougars moved to the uneven bars where they claimed a season-high tying score of 49.225. Brittni Hawes earned the highest score of the meet with a 9.925. Hortman scored a career high of 9.875 while Jessie Westergard came out with a score of 9.850. Jill Van Mierlo was just shy of career high, posting a score of 9.800. After the end of the second rotation, BYU led Iowa 98.225 to 97.925.
The beam kicked off the third rotation for the Cougars with two career highs from Maradiaga and Hill. Maradiaga earned a score of 9.825 and Hill came out with a score of 9.800. Trejo led the gymnasts with a career-high score of 9.875. The team finished with a season-high score of 49.050. By the end of the third rotation, Cougars on beam and Hawkeyes on the floor, the teams were tied with scores of 147.275.
The fourth and final rotation for the Cougars came on floor with a season-high tying score of 49.150. Douglas led the Cougars with a score of 9.900 to tie her career high. Hortman received a score of 9.850 and Kyleigh Greenlief set a career high of 9.850.
"Hats off to Kyleigh Greenlief — going last on the floor and knowing we needed some big hits," Young said. "She's struggled with consistency and I think she's starting to figure it out. I'm super happy and proud of her."
Iowa came from behind to finish the night in first place thanks to impressive performances on both floor (49.375) and beam (49.275).
BYU will travel to compete in the Minnesota Invitational hosted by the Minnesota Gophers Saturday, Mar. 4, at 4 p.m. CST at the Williams Arena and Sports Pavilion.