Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Abbey Miner leads BYU gymnastics in strong season beginning

No. 15 ranked BYU Gymnastics Team started their 2020 season with strong performances in their opening meets.

BYU had a home meet against Utah State and then-ranked No. 5 UCLA on Jan. 18. The meet resulted in BYU’s highest team finish of the season. BYU finished in second with strong performances across all the events and a score of 195.875.

BYU shined on vault, with Abbey Miner matching her season high of 9.850, Shannon Evans earning a 9.800 and Jordan Danbury Matthews setting a new career high of 9.750.

Sophomore Sadie Miner led BYU on the balance beam, with a new career high of 9.825 — a much-needed mark after BYU struggled with the event. 

Abbey Miner competes on bars during a meet against UCLA on Jan. 18. (Hannah Miner)

The first-ever Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet took place Jan. 11 at the Maverick Center. The meet included teams from University of Utah, BYU, Utah State and Southern Utah University. Utah took home first place as a team, but it was BYU gymnast Abbey Miner that came away with the all-around title.  

“For me it’s just been a goal of mine since coming into college to compete in all-around, it’s not necessarily about getting the highest score but just hitting my routines like I do in practice,” Abbey said. “I’m glad that my hard work is paying off and that I can hit with consistency.”

Abbey won first place in the all-around competition with a total score of 39.250. She scored above 9.700 on all events, with her highest score coming in at 9.875 on the floor exercise. This was Abbey’s second all-around win of the 2020 season so far, including the season opener against No. 15 Nebraska last month. She also set new career bests on uneven bars and achieved an all-around total of 39.325.

Helody Cyrenne scored 9.900, a high for BYU, during the meet in the Marriott Center that included UCLA and Utah State on Jan. 18. (Hannah Miner)

“We are super proud of Abbey Miner,” coach Guard Young said. “To get to all four events is an accomplishment within itself, and to take the all-around title with some great competition out on the floor is awesome for her and awesome for our program.”

Along with Abbey’s win in the all-around competition, BYU also won the vault event. Leading the way was Abbey’s sister, Sadie, who scored 9.900, a new career high that won her the vaulting event.

“I was super pumped. Actually, I went up to give Abbey two high fives,” Sadie said. “I saw my score and I was just like, ‘You got this, it’s your turn now.'”  

Along with her two first-place finishes, Abbey was also named the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Gymnast of the Week. Sadie took home an MRGC award for vault because of her performance during the Best of Utah meet. The MRGC includes Boise State, BYU, Utah State and Southern Utah. BYU is currently ranked No. 1 within the MRGC after their first meet. 

Shannon Evans celebrates after competing on the vault for BYU. (Hannah Miner)

“My freshman year I don’t think I got any awards and my sophomore year I think I had a few on vault, beam and floor, so that was really cool, but Gymnast of the Week for me was super cool because I had never gotten that award before,” Abbey said. 

Shannon Evans has been recovering from an injury she got back in November of 2019, but she has been training to compete for her senior season. For the Best of Utah meet, her debut meet of the 2020 season, she stunned the audience with an intricate vault and solid landing, earning her a score of 9.850, which tied her with fellow Cougar Abbey and University of Utah’s Kim Tessen. Evans’ strong performance on vault helped BYU finish the meet with the top scores for the event and aided in their second place team finish. 

Young said Evans is calling all the shots.

“She knows her body, and we are happy to let her make those decisions because she has built that trust over the last three years,” he said. “We know she’s a fighter and how tough she is. She will be back and she will be back in the all around. She just needs a little bit more time.” 

BYU recorded a new season-high in its meet on Jan. 24 against Southern Utah University. The team recorded a score of 197.075 with Abbey again leading the way as she scored a near-perfect 9.950 on the beam, a new career-high for the junior.

On Jan. 31, BYU brought its record to 6-2 overall while posting a perfect 5-0 in conference meets by beating reigning conference champion Boise State. Abbey helped lead the Cougars to victory, posting a 9.80 on vault, 9.80 on beam and 9.85 on her floor routine. Also highlighting the day for BYU was Haley Pitou who scored a 9.85 on vault and 9.90 on the bars, while Sadie notched a 9.85 on vault, 9.85 on beam and a 9.80 on her floor routine.

The first five meets of the 2020 season have shown No. 15 BYU gymnastics coming out strong. They hope to continue that momentum throughout the rest of the season. 

“While victories and losses are fun, we really look internally to how we are performing as team BYU,” Young said. “Obviously our team goals are very high — we want to make it to nationals this year and be in contention for a conference title at the end of the year.”

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