Makenzie Johnson earned first place in Friday’s all-around gymnastics competition with 39.250 points, but BYU ultimately lost to the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds, 195.500-194.975.
The Cougars beat SUU two weeks ago when they competed in Cedar City, but the Thunderbirds came to Provo and redeemed themselves.
“We stuck more landings tonight than in a couple of the last meets,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. “We’re not making big mistakes, but we still need to tighten up and cover the little mistakes and that’s the difference.”
Johnson kickstarted the Cougars’ night with a career high 9.900 on the vault. Jordan Schult and Sin To matched their own career-high scores as well with 9.800 and 9.750, respectively. KayCee Gassaway and Jill Van Mierlo’s 9.800 scores, a season high for Gassaway, brought the team total to a 49.050. BYU’s consistency in the event was key to earning the season-high score.
Gassaway’s 9.875 on the uneven bars led the team and tied her own career-high. Van Mierlo again added a 9.800 for the team, while Emily Vidmar and Johnson each contributed 9.775. Sophomore Taylor Harward also registered her own career high with 9.725 and raised BYU’s score to 98.000. After the first two rotations, the Cougars led the Thunderbirds by 0.100.
“We improved from the last meet especially on bars and vault,” Gassaway said. “We were really focusing on working on landings and I think that paid off. You could really tell a difference.”
BYU stumbled on the balance beam and gave SUU an easy opportunity to reverse the lead. Vidmar was up first and earned an impressive 9.850 that tied her career-high score. Johnson also performed well and earned a 9.725. Harward added the 9.650 and Jordan Schult put up 9.500. Van Mierlo fell off the beam during her routine, reducing her score to 9.250 as the Cougars finished with 47.975 on the beam to SUU’s 48.950.
“This is a little bit like what happened when we were down in Southern Utah,” Cattermole said. “We came back on them in beam and just nailed it. We beat them on beam.”
BYU recovered 0.350 points of their deficit on the floor, but it wasn’t enough to reverse the balance beam’s damage. Johnson led the team on the event with 9.850. Schult and Gassaway each contributed 9.825 and Van Mierlo helped with 9.800 points. Vidmar’s 9.700 upped the team’s final score to 194.975.
Cattermole isn’t worried about the loss and is continuing to express improvement as the regular season continues.
“We just want to keep our scores coming up and go into regionals hitting on all cylinders,” Cattermole said.
The Cougars will travel to Denver and Boise before their last home meet on March 6 against Central Michigan University in the Smith Fieldhouse.