Cougar gymnastics nabs first place on the road

Ari Davis
Makenzie Johnson led the Cougars on the floor and won the all-around competition at the Ozone Invitational. (Ari Davis)

The BYU gymnastics team earned a first-place finish with 193.075 points at the Ozone Invitational Saturday night.

The Cougars outperformed gymnasts from Bowling Green State University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and University of Alaska-Anchorage, who scored 191.175, 189.975 and 188.850, respectively. Bowling Green State University was ranked fourteenth in the nation entering the meet.

Makenzie Johnson won the meet’s all-around competition with 38.975 points, beating second-place finisher Courtney Pickett from UW-Whitewater by 0.750. Johnson’s highest scores of the night were 9.850 on the vault and 9.825 on the uneven bars.

BYU’s first two events were the balance beam and floor. Fellow juniors Johnson and Emily Vidmar led the team on the floor, each earning 9.725 points. KayCee Gassaway added a 9.600, helping the team reach a total of 48.000. Senior Ashley Robinson scored 9.625 on the beam, with Johnson and Jordan Schult each contributing 9.575 to the team’s combined 47.600.

The Cougars improved in the last half of the meet on the vault and uneven bars. Eliane Kulczyk scored the meet-high 9.850 on the bars, with Johnson’s 9.825 and Jill Van Mierlo’s 9.775 close behind, adding to the team’s total of 48.675. The team’s best event was the vault, where it scored 48.800 points, led by Johnson’s high 9.850. Schult supported the score with her own 9.775, and Van Mierlo and Gassaway both added 9.750.

“We started out of balance on the beam and floor, but we came back strong on the vault and bars,” head coach Brad Cattermole said.

The Ozone Invitational, held in Knoxville, Tennessee, marked the Cougars’ first win of the season. Cattermole added that the team needs to keep working to continue their success.

“The girls are doing well, but we’re making goofy mistakes. It’s early in the season, and we just need to keep improving,” Cattermole said.

The BYU gymnastic team next competes against Utah State in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 23.

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