No. 12 BYU notches highest score of the season in win over Utah State
LOGAN, Utah - Surpassing No. 21 Utah State,196.425-195.175, No. 12 BYU collected its highest score and first win of the season on Friday in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Cougars now hold a two-meet winning streak over the Aggies. Friday's meet was the second matchup of the season between the two MRGC rivals, who both participated in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet on Jan. 9.
"They came to compete and we had a lot thrown at us this week with injuries and COVID-19," assistant coach Natalie Broekman said. "We had a lot who stepped up into lineups and exhibitions and they rose to the occasion."
In the first rotation on Friday, BYU started on the uneven bars with the seniors carrying the team. Haley Pitou and Abby Boden-Stainton earned team-high scores of 9.850, the highest of the night overall. Angel Zhong followed with a 9.800, matching her season high. Additionally, Helody Cyrenne made her season debut, notching a 9.775. BYU earned its lowest uneven bars score of the season, a 48.975, but managed a .325 advantage over Utah State.
"We started on bars the last three weeks and they’ve been an incredible bars team," Broekman said. "We had one hiccup with Lindsey Hunter, but the rest of the bar team finished super solid."
The mood shifted as BYU earned its highest total vault score of the season, a 48.950. Senior Avery Bennett led with a season-high score of 9.850, matched by senior Abbey Miner-Alder. Pitou achieved a 9.800, her new season high. Highlights included a season debut on vault by junior Rachel Bain-Heaton and a career debut performance by sophomore Lexi Griffith. Heading into the third rotation, BYU widened the gap to 98.025-97.175.
“One thing we really wanted to improve on was taking that momentum from bars over into vault,” Broekman said. “They were trying to get those landings and it was a night and day difference from last week.”
On floor, Stainton, Alder and junior Brittney Vitkauskas all boasted a solid 9.875. Bennett surpassed her previous career-high score by an entire .100, pulling of a 9.825. A new face to the floor lineup, junior Adeline Rieder, made her debut with a 9.800. The Cougars received their second highest floor score of the season, a 49.250.
Heading to the beam, BYU held almost a whole point advantage over Utah State, 147.275-146.325. This lead would continue as the Cougars received their highest beam score of the season, a 49.150. Sophomore Elease Rollins matched her career-high score of 9.900, winning the event, alongside Stainton, with a new season high. Freshman Sophia McClelland made her collegiate debut, notching an impressive 9.825. In the end, BYU topped Utah State by an entire 1.25 points.
“We’ve been waiting for this team to figure out how to hit together as a team,” Broekman said. “We’ve had three weeks of steadily getting better and they put it down tonight. That’s what we see in practice and they got the job done.”
Coming up, the Cougars prepare for their home opener against Southern Utah on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse.