The BYU gymnastics team celebrates a win over Nebraska. (BYU Gymnastics)

BYU gymnastics off to great start, 3 gymnasts bring home awards

The BYU gymnastics team is off to a great start this season, earning five different individual awards in the first three meets of the 2022 season.

The Cougars finished the 2021 season ranked No. 19 in the nation and won a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference title. They are now leading off this year ranked No. 21 with a group of seniors leading the team.

The first meet of the season for the Cougars was the Rio Tinto Best of Utah. They took third place behind the University of Utah and Utah State. The Cougars were missing nine girls from their roster due to COVID-19 issues.

A week later, they traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, as Sadie Miner-Van Tassell led the Cougars to a win over the Huskers.

Last weekend, BYU competed against Southern Utah with a season-high of 196.425 points. Despite this achievement, they still fell short of the Thunderbirds, who scored 196.450 points.

Sadie Miner-Van Tassell celebrates with her teammates during a win over Nebraska. The BYU gymnastics team is off to a great start after three successful meets so far this season. (Photo courtesy of BYU Gymnastics)

Although BYU suffered a loss, Miner-Van Tassell was honored with Gymnast of the Week by theMountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. She also shared the honor of Co-Vault Specialist of the Week with her teammate Lexi Griffith.

Miner-Van Tassell has been dominant so far in 2022, winning three of the five awards given to BYU this season. The meet against Nebraska was her first meet of the season due to COVID-19 protocols. Miner-Van Tassell had to rely on past training and muscle memory in the event due to a “rough warmup.”

“Before I went on, I just told myself to breathe and just to stay calm,”Miner-Van Tassell. “Then I relied on my training. I think my brain was getting in the way too much.”

Miner-Van Tassell did not allow the bad warmups to impact the rest of her season, excelling in the meets since then.

She has been working to achieve the All-Around Award since her freshman year. Due to shoulder surgery and different injuries, her dreams were on hold. This season, finally, she was able to compete and earn Gymnast of the Week for the second week in a row.

“It’s been a long time coming, a very long time coming,”Miner-Van Tassell said. “It meant a lot to me.”

Head coach Guard Young is impressed with Miner-Van Tassell and her achievements throughout the season.

“We couldn’t be more happy with where Sadie is at in her senior year,” Young said. “She can be very proud with what she has been able to accomplish so far.”

Another team standout this season is Eliza Millar, a freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio. A 2021 Junior Olympic National Qualifier and a titleholder at the Eastern National Championships, Millar has made the BYU gymnastics program even more competitive. In her college debut as a Cougar, she was named the Beam Specialist of the Week.

The award gave Millar quite a bit of confidence, showing her she could compete with elite gymnasts. She is looking forward to the future and excited for the opportunity to learn more.

“It gave me some confidence and helped me feel like I could do this,” Millar said. “I’m still learning a lot. I’m getting the opportunity to compete as a freshman, so I’m just really excited for what’s to come.”

The Cougars still have eight more regular-season meets and are looking to girls like Millar and Miner-Van Tassell to lead their team to victory.

No. 21 BYU hosts Utah State in its home opener on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. The meet will be in the Smith Fieldhouse.

Eliza Millar competes in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet. (BYU Photo)
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