Freshman Jill Van Mierlo tied for first place in the all-around competition with 39.325 points during BYU’s gymnastics loss Saturday against Boise State and the University of Denver.
Junior Makenzie Johnson also had a strong performance with a 39.300 score, making her third in the all-around. Despite having two of the three top-scoring gymnasts in the meet, the Cougars still finished in last place. BYU scored 195.450 points compared to Boise State’s 196.625 and Denver’s 196.150.
“It was a good meet for us,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said in spite of the loss. “As a team we really need to catch some of those fringe points. There’s points to be gathered if we just do the little things, like hold still and hit handstands.”
This was BYU’s first meet competing without Eliane Kulczyk, who sustained a season-ending injury. Kulczyk was consistently one of the team’s top leaders, yet the Cougars are resolved to not let the injury detract them.
“When people get hurt, somebody has to step up and do the job,” Cattermole said.
The Cougars began the meet on vault and scored a team total of 48.800. Johnson and Van Mierlo, the team’s all-around competitors, each marked 9.800. KayCee Gassaway and Sin To then added 9.750 and 9.725 respectively. Mikaela Jones contributed 9.725 in her season debut.
The uneven bars featured two career-high scores for the Cougars from Van Mierlo and freshman Brielle Wilchuck. Van Mierlo dominated with her 9.800, as Johnson and Vidmar each added a solid 9.750. Gassaway registered 9.725, and Wilchuck’s 9.700 increased BYU’s event score to 48.725.
What was BYU’s weakest event early in the season is now one of its strongest. Van Mierlo earned another career-high score of 9.925 on the balance beam, and Johnson again wasn’t far behind with 9.850. Senior Ashley Robinson scored a season-high 9.750, and Harward added a career-high 9.725. Jordan Schult rounded out the event with 9.625, for a team total of 48.875. Despite the Cougars’ individual improvement, both the Pioneers and Broncos outscored the Cougars with 49.300 and 48.975 respectively.
Johnson earned her highest score and a season-high 9.900 on the floor. This final event also included a 9.850 from Gassaway and a 9.800 from Van Mierlo. Schult then tied her season-high floor score with a 9.775, and Kyleigh Greenlief made her debut with 9.725, upping the event score to 49.050 and the meet total to 195.450.
Van Mierlo explained that BYU’s loss wasn’t due to glaring mistakes, just missing out on small points in every event.
“We still have little things to work on as a team, like sticking the landings and overall consistency,” Van Mierlo said. “Every tenth counts.”
BYU has the chance to improve on those areas as the team competes Friday against Southern Utah University in the Smith Fieldhouse.