(BYU Photo)

BYU gymnastics sticks landing for win over Utah State in home opener

The No. 21 BYU gymnastics team faced off against No. 23 Utah State in the first home meet of the season at the Smith Fieldhouse Friday, narrowly defeating the Aggies 196.775-196.450.

BYU started the night off on the vault, BYU’s weakest event this season ranked 34th nationally.

Lexi Griffiths and Sydney Benson led the BYU scorers with 9.850 each. Both had stellar landings on very difficult vaults.

Landings were a big factor for both teams on the vault. Utah State struggled a little with landings in the beginning but was consistently better than their average scores.

BYU ended with its best vault rotation all season, scoring 49.125. The Aggies weren’t far behind with a score of 49.100.

BYU headed to the uneven bars next, the Cougars’ strongest event with a national ranking of 15th.

The Cougars started the rotation with senior Sadie Miner-Van Tassell earning a 9.875.

Anyssa Alvarado tied her season high of 9.925 and Haley Pitou had a score of 9.900 to lead BYU on the bars.

BYU finished the rotation with a score of 49.200, while Utah State pulled up just shortly behind with 49.050.

BYU held onto a 0.175-point lead halfway through the meet.

BYU head coach Guard Young said the meet would come down to the last two events as BYU headed toward the beam, where the Cougars are ranked 18th nationally.

The Cougars had a rocky start when Pitou fell off the beam twice, but she still set an example for the rest of her team and completed the routine.

Freshman Eliza Millar followed Pitou, and quickly found her rhythm to put BYU back on track with a score of 9.800.

The “beam queen,” Elease Rollins, ended the event for the Cougars and led BYU with a score of 9.925.

The Cougars tied their season-high rotation score on the beam with a score of 49.275.

BYU had a 0.475-point lead heading into the final rotation with the Cougars on floor routines and Utah State on the beam.

“We are at our best when we are aggressive,” Utah State head coach Amy Smith said as they headed off to the beam.

Senior floor specialist Brittney Vitkauskas had the final routine and scored a 9.900, helping set BYU’s new season best as a team with a score of 49.175.

BYU also broke its season best overall with a score of 196.775 at the home opener meet. Utah State ended the meet with its own season-best, coming in at 196.450.

Individual places were awarded to the following:

On the vault, first place was a tie between Utah State’s Brianna Brooks and Rebecca Wells (9.875) and third place was a tie between BYU’s Lexi Griffith and Sydney Benson (9.850).

Cougar Anyssa Alvarado and Aggie Maia Fishwick tied for first on the uneven bars (9.925) and Cougar Haley Pitou and Aggie Brianna Brooks tied for third (9.900).

On the beam, in first place was BYU’s Elease Rollins, USU’s Carley Bayles in second (9.925) and third place was a tie between BYU’s Sadie Miner-Van Tassell and USU’s Brie Clark (9.900).

Aggie Bree Clark took first in the floor routines (9.925), Cougar Brittney Vitkauskas took second (9.900), and in a three-way tie for third were BYU’s Abby Beeston, Adeline Rieder and Sadie Miner-Van Tassell (9.825).

Lastly, BYU senior Sadie Miner-Van Tassell won the individual All-Around with a score of 39.425.

“I love this team,” Miner-Van Tassell said. “They have been so awesome, for me and for everyone else. Like, the trust we have with each other is just amazing.”

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