By Stacy Johnson
For freshman Hayley Jensen, this week”s gymnastics meet is more than just another competition. She, along with three other freshmen, will compete in their first home meet as a Cougar as the gymnastics team holds its first home meet of the season against Utah State University Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006, in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 pm.
“In the past my gymnastics experience has never been team-oriented, it”s been more of an individual sport, here at college it is,” Jensen said. “I am really excited for the home experience. It will be really awesome to have the whole crowd cheering for you rather than just a few people here and there.”
With a group of experienced gymnasts leading the young Cougars, the team hopes to perform well in an arena they know well.
“A lot of the girls don”t know quite what to expect from their first home meet,” said junior Lisa Willis “It”ll be nice not to travel, and to know what our own equipment feels like. It”ll be awesome.”
This meet also holds deep importance for Willis who will compete in her first home meet in over a year after red shirting last season for chronic fatigue.
“For me, I think it will be a lot like my first meet coming back this year. I forgot how much I loved it until I got there and then I remember it”s the best,” Willis said.
In his 17th year as BYU head coach, Brad Cattermole knows that competing at home presents a distinct advantage.
“When you are on the road, traveling and staying in a hotel room and then go to compete it makes it hard to adjust,” Cattermole said. “Being at home makes it an easier adjustment, using our own equipment. It always brings the best out.”
The team is excited to return to competition again, following their week off last week. Cattermole said they put the off week there purposely as a chance for the young team to heal and work out early season problems.
“We have been working hard and have had a good time in the gym,” Jensen said. “We should be able to do well on Thursday.”
With their home fans support behind them, will face USU for the second time this year. They traveled to Logan two weeks ago, where they defeated the Aggies 193.375 to 193.275 in a close battle.
Going into the final rotation the Cougars trailed USU. In the beam competition, the Cougars had a strong showing, taking four of the top five places, and bringing them out on top.
“We did well on beam two weeks ago, and pretty good on vault the week before,” Cattermole said. “This week we will want to start stringing those good performances together.”