Cougar Gymnasts Fall to Southern Utah
PROVO -- The injury-depleted BYU gymnastics team could not come up with enough to defeat Southern Utah, falling 194.675-189.125 Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We’re playing the hand we’re dealt and not complaining,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole, whose team has lost five top gymnasts to season-ending injuries this year. “It’s the hard times that make you appreciate the good times. These girls are tough and courageous. This is the beginning of something great next season.”
BYU began the night on the vault with solid results. Sophomore Madeleine Johnson made her collegiate debut on the event with a 9.475 as the Cougars adjusted to the recent loss of vaulters Megan Donehue and Krysten Koval. Junior Danielle Goldman boosted the Cougars’ score with a career-high 9.800 while freshman Jennifer Lezeu posted a personal-best 9.650 and fellow newcomer Mickell Merrell tied her career high with a score of 9.575. Overall, BYU posted a team score of 48.150 to open the meet.
The Cougars were again forced to compete only five gymnasts on the uneven bars as injuries continue to deplete the line-up. Despite struggles on the event overall with a team score of 45.550, Madeleine Johnson provided the highlight with a career-high 9.850. Johnson put up a solid routine complete with a stuck landing to bolster BYU.
A third Cougar led the team on the balance beam as sophomore Jessica Villegas scored a career-high 9.750. Villegas has come back from battling injury this season to post contributions for BYU. Goldman continued her quest for the all-around title with a 9.650 as the Cougars posted a team score of 47.475 on the event.
Johnson was once again the frontrunner for the Cougars as the team moved to the floor exercise in the final rotation. Johnson tallied a career-high 9.825, giving her the two highest BYU marks of the night including her 9.850 on the bars. Whitney Olsen added a 9.750 while Merrell and Goldman each contributed a 9.600. The Cougars’ 48.250 on the floor was their second-highest score of the year.
Johnson was the top Cougar all-arounder with a score of 38.350 while Goldman was right behind at 38.200. SUU’s Kellie Dangerfield won the title after posting a 38.950.
The Cougars will compete three times in the next two weeks beginning next Friday at Boise State. The following week finds BYU at Denver on March 9 and at Utah State on March 13 before returning home for the final meet of the season on March 20 against Utah in the Marriott Center.
BYU Gymnasts Hope to Rise to the Challenge
PROVO -- A battered and bruised BYU gymnastics team will take the floor this Friday in the Smith Fieldhouse against Southern Utah. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on BYUTV.
“Southern Utah is a good team,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “They are doing well, and we look forward to hosting them on Friday. We are able to give most everyone some experience this year because of all our injuries so we know in the long run this will help our team. Right now, everyone is just doing what they can to help. I was pleased with how the team responded last meet.”
Five Cougar gymnasts have suffered season-ending injuries or illnesses this season. In addition to the earlier losses of co-captain McKell Poulson-Merkley, Holland Davis and Natalie Eyre, two other Cougars became the team’s most recent casualties as co-captain Megan Donehue injured her ankle prior to last Friday’s meet and freshman Krysten Koval underwent emergency surgery over the weekend. Both were competing on every event but floor and are now out for the year.
While the injuries have hit hard across the board, the uneven bars line-up has been particularly affected. The Cougars were already planning to compete just five gymnasts on the bars with the loss of Davis and Eyre, making every score count. Then, with Donehue’s injury on Friday, freshman Emiko Ono was thrown into the mix and responded with a solid routine to help BYU post its highest bars score of the year. However, Koval’s injury will further complicate the line-up decisions heading into this week’s competition. Cattermole hopes sophomore Whitney Olsen or freshman Jennifer Lezeu will be ready to compete.
Southern Utah comes into the meet ranked No. 35 in the nation and No. 24 on the floor. The Cougars have already faced the Thunderbirds twice this season, falling at SUU and in quad-meet action at Utah.
In addition to live coverage on BYUTV, Friday’s meet will also have live stats available by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s gymnastics homepage at www.byucougars.com/gymnastics_w.