Evans qualifies for nationals as BYU posts highest regionals score in program history
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 21 BYU gymnastics took fourth with a 196.300, the team’s highest regionals score in program history, at the regional competition Saturday night at the Huntsman Center, with Shannon Hortman Evans qualifying for the national championships on bars.
“We just came out and did BYU gymnastics,” head coach Guard Young said. “To come out strong on bars and have that permeate all the way around all of our events was great. I’m sad our season is over but super happy with how we performed.”
Evans qualified for nationals after tying for first place on bars with three other gymnasts, earning a 9.900. This marks the first time in 14 years that BYU has had an individual qualifier for nationals. Senior Jill van Mierlo set a new career-high in the all-around, earning a 39.400 and fifth-place finish. She also set a season-high score on floor with a 9.900.
Assistant coach Brogan Evanson was named one of three National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women Regional Assistant Coaches of the Year.
“I love what I do and just have so much gratitude for my job,” Evanson said. “The gymnasts put in the effort, and they make me look good. It makes all the hard work worth doing.”
Evans led BYU in the team’s first event of the night with a 9.900 on bars, matching the night’s highest score on the event. Brittni Hawes came right behind with a 9.850 while three other Cougars earned a 9.775 – van Mierlo, Abby Boden and Haley Pitou. BYU finished the rotation with a total of 49.075.
The Cougars moved to beam, posting the second-highest score of the season with 49.200. Van Mierlo led with a 9.875. Freshman Abby Boden and Evans each earned a 9.850, putting BYU in fourth at the end of the third rotation with a total of 98.275.
At the end of the third rotation, BYU had a bye. Utah held first with 98.950, California came in second with 98.525, Auburn was in third with 98.350. Southern Utah was fifth with 97.275 and Stanford stayed last with 97.175.
The Cougars moved to floor where van Mierlo set a season-high score 9.900, matching her personal record. Both Briana Pearson and Evans earned a 9.850, giving BYU a total 49.075 on the event and a total of 147.350.
BYU ended the night on vault, earning a 48.950 as a team. Van Mierlo again led the squad with a 9.850 while Avery Bennett and Angel Zhong both posted 9.800, giving the Cougars a total 196.300 and fourth place in the regional competition.
The meet ended with Utah in first place (197.475), California in second (196.725), Auburn in third (196.525), Stanford in fifth (195.600) and Southern Utah in sixth (194.625).
This meet marks Young’s third-straight NCAA regionals appearance as head coach. This is also the 27th time the Cougars have competed at regionals in the past 29 years.