BYU women’s gymnastics faced conference rival Boise State University Feb. 15 in an annual Pink meet to honor cancer survivors. Trailing only .275, BYU’s loss felt like a win as the team earned its highest score since 2004, a 196.900.
Head coach Guard Young made it clear at the start of the season the team’s goal is to score no less than a 196 at each meet. So far this season, the Cougars have surpassed this goal in four out of their six meets. Most recently, on Feb. 9, BYU conquered Air Force, Springfield and Seattle Pacific in a quad meet, earning a 196.425. With a 1.65 gap between BYU and second place Air Force, BYU earned its highest score outside home meets.
BYU’s competition this weekend, No. 10 BSU, holds a perfect record of 8-0 during the 2019 season.
Last season, the Cougars held onto a close victory when facing the Broncos Feb. 23, winning by .05 points. Just three weeks later at a tri-meet in Washington, BSU earned its season high of 197.000, pushing BYU into last place at 196.375.
This year, BYU came in strong, earning a new season high of 49.125 on vault. Sophomore Abbey Miner logged a new career high of 9.875. However, BSU jumped in the lead by .350, also achieving a season high of 49.475.
Heading into the second rotation, the Cougars continued to crush previous season highs earning a 49.350 on the bar, a narrow improvement on their previous high of 49.125. Junior Angel Zhong, who is healing from an ankle injury, hit a season-best of 9.850, tying her career-high score.
While BSU held a lead after the first rotation, the Broncos underperformance on vault resulted in a tie of 98.475 heading into the third rotation.
However, the third rotation only increased the tension as each team member pulled off a minimum score of 9.725. Dragging the tied score of 147.625 into the fourth rotation, head coach Guard Young stood in disbelief.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Guard said. “I took a look up at the scoreboard and I was thinking, ‘How is that possible?’”
Glancing up at her beam score, BYU’s freshman Helody Cyrenne managed to tie her career best that she established last week, a 9.875. This top score of the night for BYU’s beam setup was matched or topped by each BSU gymnast in the final rotation, giving the Broncos the extra edge to steal a win. Earning a 49.550 on their beam set, the Broncos established a new all-time high beam record.
“They’re the No. 7 team in the country on beam and it’s for a reason,” Young said. “But, I like our team. I like where we’re at.”
Coming off the Feb. 2 meet, junior Shannon Evans walked away with a win and her highest all-around score yet, a 39.475. Evidently, this momentum carried into this weekend, as Evans yet again set a new record for herself, earning a 39.500.
Since joining the team in 2015, this is the highest score Young has seen BYU earn. However, Young anticipates crushing this score in the future and is adjusting the team’s schedule to make it possible.
“We’re definitely not peaking,” Young said. “We had a practice intrasquad meet in our gym yesterday because we’re looking ahead to the regional championships where we will have to compete back to back days.”
On Feb. 22, the Cougars head to Southern Utah’s turf and Young is hoping for a steady increase in his team’s scores.
“We’re trying to get that magical 197, but it was a great duel battle,” Young said. “What we’re doing this year is great, but the future of BYU gymnastics just keeps going up.”