Cougars Battle Utes to Conclude Regular Season
PROVO -- The No. 15 BYU women's gymnastics team concludes its regular season Saturday at 7 p.m. against in-state rival Utah. BYU hopes to pull off the upset and finish the season on a high note.
Utah, the No. 4 ranked team in the country, regularly packs nearly 10,000 people into the Huntsman Center for home meets. The Cougars are excited for the chance to perform in front of the huge audience again this year.
"This is a meet that everyone looks forward to," BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. "Outside of a home meet, this is about as fun as it gets."
BYU lost to Utah earlier in the season at the Marriott Center, 197.250-195.525. In that meet, BYU had several falls and stumbles on balance beam and other events, but the Cougars are coming off a confidence-building meet last week against Southern Utah.
The Cougars are peaking at the right time of the season, scoring a BYU record-tying 197.375 against SUU Friday night. The team record score was only one of several records the Cougars tied or broke at SUU.
As a team, BYU also broke the floor exercise scoring record, with a 49.650. The floor score is the highest by any team in the nation. BYU's vault score of 49.175 also tied the school record in that event.
Individually, All-American Kelly Evanson broke her own all-around record with a 39.700 in her last home meet as a Cougar. Evanson tied the record on bars with a 9.950. Sophomore Kari Dye, who notched a career-high 39.475 in the all-around, tied Kim Little's 9.975 on floor for the BYU record.
BYU needs to hit in this meet as well to take its confidence into the postseason. Even though it is a road meet, the Cougars are comfortable competing with Utah in the Huntsman Center.
"We feel like we have a lot of support up there and the fans cheer for us when we do something good," Cattermole said. "We know what to expect. We know the equipment. We know who the judges are going to be. We're real excited about it."
Evanson and Dye lead the Cougars in the all-around, but Jeni Lopez and freshman Jaime Mabray are not far behind. Lopez notched a career-high 39.425 in the all-around against Southern Utah, and only four days prior to that, Mabray scored a 39.350 in the all-around against Boise State.
Utah is led by three-time NCAA champion and former U.S. National Team member Theresa Kulikowski. Kulikowski has scored a 10 three times this year, twice on bars and once on beam.
The final meet of the regular season will be a great experience for the Cougars, one that they hope they can build on for the postseason. The Huntsman Center, with fireworks, spotlights among other things, should be a nice environment for both teams to score high.
"They do a really good job with the meets up there," Cattermole said. "They put on a good show."
BYU is currently ranked No. 5 in the North Central Region behind Utah, Iowa State, Minnesota and Denver. Denver will be the host of the North Central Region meet Apr. 6.
Live stats for the Utah meet will be posted on Utah's official athletic web site, www.UtahUtes.com. Video streaming is also available for people with high-speed internet access.
Margraf, Millar named to CSC Academic All-District Team
Sophomores Mina Margraf and Eliza Millar received College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District honors, the…
The 2023 season highlights and accolades
In the 2023 season, BYU gymnastics finished as the No. 33 team in the nation and made a run to the NCAA Regionals…