BYU Gymnastics finishes season ‘on top’

Ari Davis
The BYU women’s gymnastic team competes against then No. 19 Southern Utah University. The team then went on to compete at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference and NCAA Regionals. (Ari Davis)

The BYU women’s gymnastic team finished its 2017 season with a trip to the NCAA Regionals in Seattle, Washington on April 1.

The Cougars scored above a 195.000 at the NCAA Regionals for the first time in 12 years, finishing in fifth place with a 195.025.

“We’re leaving this regional with good momentum and a great trajectory for the program,” BYU coach Guard Young said.

Shannon Hortman was a three-time Gymnast of the Week in 2017, her first year competing.

Ari Davis
Shannon Hortman competes on beam in the meet against SUU. Hortman got a new personal best with a 9.875 on the beam. (Ari Davis)

Hortman said her favorite meet of the season was the Cougars’ win against then No. 19 ranked Southern Utah University. Hortman tied her career-best on the uneven bars with a 9.875 and got a team-high and new personal best with a 9.875 on beam during that meet.

“Neither (team) had a great meet, but I feel like every single gymnast, from both teams, fought all the way until the end,” Hortman said. “It just so happens that we fought our way on top.”

Hortman placed second in the all-around with a 39.250 and was given the Freshman of the Year Award at the 2017 Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship.

Junior Mackenzie Douglas said the Cougars worked and trained extremely hard during the season, coming off their fourth place finish at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship. Douglas said the meet against SUU gave the Cougars confidence.

“We had been practicing (the rotations) for almost two to three weeks going into it. So even if we made a mistake in the meet, we knew that we could count on the other people to bring the rest of it along, and it would all work out,” Douglas said. “At that meet, I felt like we could just trust our training.”

Douglas earned a 9.825 on the vault at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship, and was an All-MRGC First Team selection for vault. Douglas went on to score a 9.850 and 9.825 on vault and floor, respectively, at the NCAA Regionals.

Angel Zhong was named 2017 All-MRGC Vault Co-Champion and given first-team honors, scoring a 9.775 on vault during the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship competition this season.

Zhong said her favorite part of the 2017 season was being a part of the close-knit team.

“It was my first time experiencing competing for a team rather than individually,” Zhong said. “It is so great to see how everybody supports everyone else and how it really builds everyone up.”

Zhong, originally from Canada, was excited to go to travel to the NCAA Regionals in Seattle, not only to compete against No. 1 ranked Oklahoma, but also because her family drove down to watch her compete. Zhong contributed a score of 9.750 on the vault in Seattle.

BYU Gymnastics had just one graduating senior, Taylor Howard, and continues into next season with Douglas, Jill van Mierlo, Kyleigh Greenlief and Brittni Hawes as seniors.

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