Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Olympic overview: Gymnastics beats in-state rival, track and swim have first-place finishes

Several of the Olympic sports were in action over the weekend for BYU and multiple teams and individuals took first place in their competitions.

Gymnastics

The No. 12 BYU gymnastics team edged out a win over No. 21 Utah State, 196.425-195.175 on Jan. 29. The 196.425 score is the highest score of the season for the Cougars.

On bars, seniors Haley Pitou and Abby Boden-Stainton tied for the best score overall with a 9.85.

Seniors Abbey Miner-Alder and Avery Bennett led the Cougars in the vault, both posting a score of 9.85. Bennett’s score is her best this season.

Alder and Stainton added to their team leading-scores in floor routines, tying with teammate Brittney Vitkauskas. The trio finished with an overall score of 9.875.

The team finished with a 49.150 score on the beam, its highest of the season. Stainton and sophomore Elease Rollins finished with a meet-high 9.9.

“They came to compete and we had a lot thrown at us this week with injuries and COVID-19,” assistant coach Natalie Broekman said. “We had a lot who stepped up into lineups and exhibitions and they rose to the occasion.”

The team will travel to Southern Utah University for its next meet on Friday, Feb. 5.

Track and Field

The BYU distance runners had record performances at the UW Preview, while the throwers and vertical jumpers impressed at the Weber State Invitational.

Senior Courtney Wayment moved to fourth all-time in BYU history in the women’s mile, running a 4:35.80. Senior Olivia Hoj Simister also moved up in the women’s mile rankings to fifth all-time with a 4:37.77 time.

The women’s distance medley relay team, consisting of Hoj Simister, Alena Ellsworth, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes and Wayment, came in first, clocking in at 11:03.62.

In men’s pole vault, sophomore Zach McWorther took home first place, clearing 5.50 meters. The All-American broke the Stromberg facility record at Weber State in his first-place effort.

The Cougars also took the top two spots in the women’s pole vault. Freshman Hannah Richardson placed first (3.95 meters), while junior Isabel Neal placed second (3.85 meters).

In men’s shot put, freshman Danny Bryant and junior Austin Carter placed in the top two. Danny threw 15.32 meters for first place and Carter threw 15.19 meters for second.

Both track teams were ranked in the Top 25 in the nation in the first U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll of the season, with the men’s team at No. 4 and the women’s team at No. 24.

The Cougars are looking to use the rankings as a source of motivation going forward this season.

“That’s a goal we have, we always say we want to be a top-20 team,” men’s and women’s throws coach Nik Arrhenius said. “It’s great. It’s motivating.”

Next up, the track team will host the BYU Cougar Indoor Invitational II, taking place from Feb. 4-6.

Swimming

BYU men’s and women’s swimming both lost their matchups against in-state rival Utah 179-121 and 176-124, respectively.

Sophomore individual medley and butterfly swimmer Brad Prolo and junior breaststroke swimmer Josue Dominguez impressed at the meet for the men’s team, taking home two first-place finishes.

Prolo placed first in the 200-yard butterfly (1:49.18) and 200-yard individual medley (1:46.18). Sophomores Tyler Edlefsen and Tama Tuitama finished in second and third, respectively, in the 200 individual medley, completing the podium sweep in the event for the Cougars.

Dominguez took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke (0:53.33) and 200-yard breaststroke (1:59.18).

Junior Javier Nichols also claimed a first-place finish, clocking a 1:39.82 in the 200-yard freestyle

The Cougars placed first in five events on the women’s team.

Sophomore Katie McBratney finished first in two events: the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.46) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:01.90). Junior Brynn Sproul in the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.56) and freshman Chloe Freeman in the 200-yard butterfly (2:04.01) also took first place in their events.

The women’s 200-yard relay team also placed first, clocking in at 1:32.97.

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