First home meet of season for Cougar gymnasts

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The BYU women’s gymnastics team started the 2012 season with three consecutive road meets but is finally returning home to take on No. 16 Boise State on Feb. 4.

Competing at home will be a nice change for BYU, ranked No. 33 in the nation, after a tough road start to the season. Senior Mickell Merell, who is from Pleasant Grove, has a lot of family in the area and loves that people she knows can be there to see everything she and the rest of the team have been working on. Merrell started gymnastics when she was just 3, so doing well for her family is important. Natalie Pickard, another senior and a team captain, also said it is great to show friends and family how hard she has worked.

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BYU gymnast Madeleine Johnson competes on uneven bars during BYU's meet against rival Utah on Friday night in the Marriott Center. BYU lost 195.8-196.7.
Krysten Koval’s favorite part of competition is just being able to perform for others. And now she, as well as the rest of the team, has the chance to do so at home. As a senior, Koval is especially excited to keep doing well this season to make her parents and the rest of her family proud.

“They sacrificed so much and did so much for me over the years,” Koval said.

The Cougars are 1-2 on the season, both losses coming against teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Their sole victory came against Southern Utah. Boise State most recently competed against Southern Utah and Utah State, losing to both teams. All time against Boise State, BYU is 35-10.

So with plenty of competition left before both the regional and national meets, the team is all about taking things one meet at a time and, according to Merrell, trying “to stay in the present.”

“I want to do everything I can possible to make our team goal of going to nationals,” Merrell said.

The meet begins at noon in the Smith Fieldhouse. All-Sport Cards can be used for admission and individual student tickets are $5. For those who cannot attend, the meet is also being broadcast on BYUtv.

The gymnastics team’s next meet is home against the University of Denver on Feb. 10. It will also be broadcast on BYUtv.

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