Editor’s note: To help fill the sports void, The Universe is taking a look at some of the more memorable moments of the 2019-20 season across all BYU sports in a series of stories.
The sports world came to an abrupt halt on March 12 as people began to realize just how serious the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to become. Nearly every single amateur and professional sports league throughout the world either suspended or canceled the remainder of their respective seasons. Sports fans everywhere were suddenly left without any sort of live sporting events to watch and enjoy.
In order to help fill the void, The Daily Universe is introducing “Defining moments of BYU sports,” a new series aimed at helping Cougar fans everywhere relive some of the most exciting moments across all BYU sports. The series will focus primarily on events that took place during the 2019-20 season and is intended to bring fans, to some extent, the same sense of elation they experienced when these moments first occurred.
This photo story will kick things off and will soon be followed by individual articles about some of the biggest moments across all of BYU’s athletic programs.
In short, the “Defining moments of BYU sports” series will attempt to reflect the words of Dr. Seuss when he said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
The BYU men’s basketball team had arguably its best season since Jimmermania, finishing the year with a 24-8 record and a No. 18 national ranking. The Cougars had several memorable moments during head coach Mark Pope’s first year at the helm, including signature home wins over Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, multiple game-winning shots, a third-place finish at the Maui Invitational and several SportsCenter top-10-worthy highlight plays.
The BYU men’s volleyball team had a 17-1 record and a No. 1 national ranking before the remainder of the season was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AVCA All-Americans Gabi Garcia Fernandez, Wil Stanley, Davide Gardini and Zach Eschenberg helped lead the Cougars to 12 wins over nationally-ranked opponents.
Despite a tough finish to the season, the BYU football team had several signature wins during the 2019 campaign. Victories over Tennessee, USC and Boise State were just as exciting for Cougar fans as any other big win in recent memory.
Cross Country & Track
The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams each had one of the most memorable seasons in program history. The men’s team capped off the year with a national championship, while the women’s team finished runner-up at the NCAA Championships. Both the men’s and women’s track teams were poised for big seasons as well before the pandemic hit.
The BYU gymnastics team finished the shortened season ranked No. 16, its highest final national ranking in 15 years. The team picked up notable wins against Nebraska, Boise State (twice) and Denver during the 2020 campaign.
Additional memorable moments from some of BYU’s other athletic programs include the women’s soccer team going undefeated during the regular season and reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals, the women’s volleyball team finishing the year ranked No. 17 and the men’s golf team earning a No. 5 ranking at one point in the season.
The list of moments worth noting from the 2019-20 BYU sports season could go on and on.