Uneven Bars, Floor Exercise Lead to Solid Scores
DENVER -- The BYU women’s gymnastics team turned in a solid performance Monday night at the University of Denver, topping the 192 mark for the fourth time this year with a 192.500. Despite falling to the Pioneers, who posted a 196.650, the Cougars had a season high on the uneven bars and came .025 away from a season best on the floor exercise.
“We had a good outing, one of the strongest we’ve had since dealing with all these injuries,” said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. “The girls are really starting to believe in themselves and have the confidence they need to go out there and consistently hit their routines.”
Despite only competing five gymnasts on the vault, every Cougar came up big, resulting in BYU’s lowest score being a 9.550. As a team, the blue and white posted a 48.125, the fifth time this year the Cougars scored above 48. Sophomore Madeleine Johnson (9.550) and freshman Jennifer Lezeu (9.675) each contributed career highs. Junior Danielle Goldman paced BYU with a 9.750.
The uneven bars proved to be the highlight of the night for the Cougars. BYU has experienced some ups and downs on this particular event over the last few weeks as line-up changes have whittled the rotation down to five gymnasts, including two who have just started competing on the event. But five scores over 9.600 helped the Cougars to their best score of the year with a 48.575. Three career highs from sophomore Melissa Hough (9.775), sophomore Whitney Olsen (9.625) and freshman Emiko Ono (9.650) tallied career highs while Johnson led the way with a 9.800.
Up next for BYU was the floor exercise where another solid score of 48.550 bolstered the Cougars. Once again, BYU did not have to count a score below 9.650. Not only did Goldman pace the pack with a 9.825, but the score was also a career high. Olsen was right behind with a 9.750.
BYU finished the night on the balance beam with a score of 47.250. Despite solid performances on all three of the other events, the Cougars struggled on the four-inch wide apparatus and were forced to count three scores under 9.300. Junior beam specialist was the bright spot for BYU with a career-high and top Cougar score of 9.875 while sophomore Jessica Villegas also topped her personal best with a 9.775.
Both Johnson and Goldman competed in the all-around with Johnson earning a 38.275-38.000 advantage. Denver’s Jessica Lopez won the title with a score of 39.625.
The Cougars will now conclude their busy two weeks on the road with a meet Friday at Utah State.
Two Meets in Four Days Await BYU Gymnasts
PROVO -- After spending the last two weeks at home, the BYU women’s gymnastics team now faces a busy two weeks on the road. The fun begins on Friday night at Boise State and continues on Monday at the University of Denver. Both meets begin at 7 p.m.
“Our goal right now is to finish healthy and strong,” said BYU gymnastics coach Brad Cattermole. “We’ve had a tough year, but no one is complaining or giving up. We’re ready to get out there and compete and do our best.”
The Cougar line-up has been absolutely decimated by injuries this year. Six BYU gymnasts have suffered season-ending injuries during the course of the year, including team co-captains McKell Poulson-Merkley and Megan Donehue and top freshman Krysten Koval. As a result, the Cougars are down to competing just five gymnasts on both the vault and the uneven bars.
But BYU has been able to find a silver lining as several gymnasts have had the chance to step up and lead the team. Sophomore Madeleine Johnson became the most recent Cougar to make the most of her opportunity as she posted career highs on the bars and floor last week, pacing BYU on both events. Johnson also competed in the all-around for the first time in her career, leading the Cougars with a score of 38.350.
BYU has faced both Denver and Boise State this season. The Cougars and Pioneers squared off in the first meet of the year, the Cancun Classic in Cancun, Mexico with BYU finishing fourth and Denver third. The Cougars hosted the Broncos on Feb. 20 in quad meet action in the Marriott Center, outscoring Boise State 192.575-191.950.