By Stacie Searle
BYU gymnasts captured first and second place in all four events Friday Feb. 28 in the Marriott Center, scoring a season-high 196.800 in a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.
“They”re capable of doing that kind of a meet,” BYU coach Brad Cattermole said. “They just need to hit.”
The Cougars started with an excellent performance on the vault, receiving a team score of 49.000. BYU junior Trisha Ashton nailed her landing, scoring a 9.925 and taking first place.
“Oh my gosh! It was just like I landed, and it was stuck! It was awesome!” Ashton said. “I felt really good going into it, and I new the only thing I had to worry about was sticking the landing.”
Following Ashton was sophomore Kirsten Pauga, scoring a 9.900 to catch second place. Pauga was followed by Kentucky sophomore Lindsay Cameron, who took third with a 9.875 score.
On bars, the Cougars continued their dynamic performance. Cougar junior Kari Lords, senior Lindsay Butterfield and junior Brogan Jacobsen all tied for first with scores of 9.875. Teammate senior Brooke Haskett took second with a 9.850, and freshman Lisa Willis finished the bars with a 9.800, taking third place.
The Wildcats” high score on bars was a 9.775 by junior Aronda Primault, giving her fourth place. Kentucky”s poor performance on bars increased the Cougars” lead to 2.200 points.
“We had a rough day on bars,” said Kentucky assistant coach Mo Muhammad. “After that, I think they kind of passed in the chips. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes on floor, and when floor and bars are your most consistent events, and you don”t do it on that event, it really hurts.”
Moving to the beam, the Cougars continued to dominate the meet, receiving a team score of 49.075. Butterfield seized first place with a score of 9.900, a career high. Ashton”s performance received a 9.850, giving her second place, and Kentucky sophomore Michelle Gales followed Ashton with a 9.825 for third.
As the Cougars rotated to the floor, the last event of the night, they held a strong lead of 2.850 points.
“When you get on a roll and start hitting, the excitement grows, and when everybody”s having a fun time, it”s hard for the judges and everybody else not to get caught up in that, and that”s what helps the scores,” Cattermole said. “When the crowd is behind you, it helps the kids hit, the kids get excited and there”s a little more energy. The judges feed off of that.”
The floor routines brought loud cheers from the audience and smiles from the gymnasts. Jacobsen received a 9.925, giving her first place. Butterfield placed second with a 9.900– another career best, giving her the meet”s All-around Title.
“She”s worked real hard this year,” Cattermole said. “I was thrilled to see her have a good meet and put it all together.”
Following Butterfield were team members Haskett, Willis and Candance Slater, who all tied for third place after each scored a 9.875, giving the team a 49.450 on floor.
Kentucky received a 48.425 on floor. The Wildcats had to accept four out-of-bounds steps. Their top scores were 9.800 performances by sophomore Krista Prestigiacomo and senior Melanie Zaharias, giving them fourth place.
“The atmosphere was great. The equipment was great and the people were nice,” Mohammad said. “It was a great place to come for a meet, we just didn”t have our A game.”
The Cougars will stay at home again this week. They face Southern Utah University, Utah State and CMU on Friday, March 7 in the Marriott Center.