Cougar gymnastics travel to Boise for final meet of the season

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In its final regular season meet of 2012, the BYU  gymnastics team competes away from home against No. 14 Boise State Friday night, hoping for impressive performances in every event to keep their regional dreams alive.

According to head coach Brad Cattermole, the team remains on the bubble for getting into the North Central regional competition. BYU is currently sixth in its region with a team regional qualifying score of 194.685, about three tenths of a point behind Iowa. In-state rival Utah leads the North Central with an RQS of 196.705. According to  Cattermole, the Cougars are capable of doing much better. It is just a matter of every gymnast hitting on every cylinder on the same night.

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Natalie Eyre-Pickard competes on the beam during gymnastics competition against Southern Utah at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU lost 194.250-194.800.
BYU had the chance for a great season until they ran into unavoidable injuries. Cattermole said this was hard to deal with at times because the team knows how things could have been.

“Although we’ve dealt with a lot of injuries this season, we try our best with what we have,” Cattermole said. “We’ve been doing that all year long.”

In moving forward from the setbacks, senior Mickell Merrell said multiple times the team focuses a lot  on “controlling the controllable” because the things that happened to the injured gymnasts could not have been avoided.

Earlier this season, the Broncos narrowly defeated the Cougars 195.750-194.750 in the Smith Fieldhouse. Since that meet, the Cougars almost earned an overall team score of 195 a few times, coming within a few tenths of a point, but only succeeded in doing so once.

BYU’s seniors have held the team together this season and need to keep dominating their routines for a chance at regionals. By setting this example, the other gymnasts on the team see what needs to be done. In the team’s last home meet of the season against Southern Utah, a senior led the team in every event.

Krysten Koval is ranked No. 5 in the region on beam, living up to her title as the “beam queen,” with fellow senior Natalie Eyre-Pickard ranked No. 9. Senior Jennifer Lezeu rounds out the top 20 on beam at No. 19 in the North Central region.

Pickard is ranked No. 5 in the region on bars, consistently earning a score of 9.800 or above despite her teammates struggles on bars this season.

On vault, Pickard is ranked No. 8 in the region, putting herself in the top 10 for every event she competes in.

Even if the team as a whole does not reach regionals, individual gymnasts still have a chance to qualify. Besides the six qualifying teams, an  individual event specialist for each event qualify for regionals based on whether they have an average RQS of 9.400 or above. Five all-around competitors on non-qualifying teams also get the chance to compete, so BYU’s lone all-arounder, sophomore Raquel Willman, is also in competition for a spot.

The North Central regional competition takes place in Salt Lake, with Utah as the host school, on April 7.

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