A BYU gymnastics team with a tradition of winning looks to be as good as ever in 2014.
Last season, the team finished fifth at regionals and have their sights set on a national title this coming season. With the loss of only two seniors, the Cougars hope to use this to their advantage and come back with a more experienced team.
“We only lost two seniors and gained nine freshman, so we pretty much have all of our returners,” junior Megan Bain said. “A lot of our teammates last year were freshman and now they have that year of experience under their belt.”
Bain’s sophomore season was cut short when she suffered a torn Achilles tendon. While she is still recovering, she has worked closely with head coach Brad Cattermole so she can properly recover.
“We really want her to fully recover so that she can compete at her best level,” Cattermole said.
With a more experienced team and the goal of nationals on their minds, Bain and the rest of the Cougars have been working on building a strong team both mentally and physically. The team also benefits from having seniors like Raquel Willman at the helm.
“We feed off of each other really well. If someone does really good we are excited for them, and we just all get so ready to go,” Willman said.
With only three seniors on the roster this season, the team will be young but also have a good mix of experience, talent and drive. The freshman have been working with the seniors, hoping to get prepared for the season.
Cattermole has also been working with the freshman to get them ready for their different events and adjusting them to the rigorous college athletic routine.
Last season the team’s strongest event was the bars. This year their goal is to continue to be great at bars and become even better at vault.
“We have an experienced vault lineup and really want to work on making that great,” Cattermole said.
The team began their season in Salt Lake City against No. 6 Utah, No. 23 Boise State and Southern Utah, where it placed third with a score of 194.550 in a close match. Cattermole said they made some mistakes, but will correct them further in the year.
“We made some mistakes, it looked like we had first-meet jitters,” Cattermole said. “We need to continue to improve and get better. We can stay with anybody if we hit our stuff.”
With the hope that the returners will be healthy and prepared mentally as well as the freshman ready to compete and have a great season the Cougars are coming into this meet with high expectations and hope for nothing less than to come out on top.