BYU gymnastics narrowly beats SUU

Elliott Miller
Emily Vidmar performs on the beam in BYU’s gymnastics meet against Boise State Jan. 2014. (Elliott Miller)

BYU gymnastics edged out Southern Utah University 195.675-195.650 in a tight victory Friday night in Cedar City, Utah.

“It was a tight meet, and that’s about as close as you can get,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said.

The unranked Cougars’ win over the 22nd-ranked Thunderbirds was a season-high team score and included three career highs for individual gymnasts Makenzie Johnson, Jordan Schult and Sin To.

“I felt like we did well in every event and we were consistent,” Cattermole said. “We can still make improvements, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

BYU started on the uneven bars, where junior Eliane Kulczyk earned a team high 9.850. Emily Vidmar added a season high 9.800, and KayCee Gassaway’s 9.775 matched her own season best. Makenzie Johnson and Brielle Wilchuck’s performances completed the event, and BYU finished with a total of 48.950, a score just 0.225 points short of SUU’s 49.175.

But the Cougars recovered some of their deficit on the vault, where they outperformed the Thunderbirds by 0.025 points. Kulczyk led the team again in this event with her own season-high score of 9.850. Jill Van Mierlo supported Kulczyk’s score with a 9.800. Johnson, Gassaway and To each registered a 9.750, raising the team’s two-rotation total to 97.850.

BYU continued to close the gap during the third rotation on the floor. Gassaway and Van Mierlo each registered 9.825, which marked a season-high for Gassaway. Vidmar added a 9.800, while Johnson and Schult earned 9.700 and 9.725 respectively. The team’s event score of 48.875 was its lowest of the night, but it didn’t stop momentum.

The team’s most obvious improvement came on the balance beam. The beam has been BYU’s lowest-scoring event at every other meet this season, but it became the highest against SUU. Johnson’s career-high 9.900 and Vidmar’s season-high 9.800 led the team, while Schult’s career-high 9.775 and Ashley Robinson’s season-high 9.725 then upped the event total to 48.950 and the meet total to a winning 195.675.

The Cougars’ success against the Thunderbirds puts their season record at 2-2. Their next meet will take place in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 7, against Boise State and the University of Denver.

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