State gymnastics: SUU, BYU claim wins; Utah State finishes in middle

Published: Friday, Jan. 21 2011 10:56 p.m. MST

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah swept each individual title on Friday night as the Thunderbirds scored a season-high 195.750 victory over the Sacramento State Hornets. The win leaves the T-Birds undefeated on the year at 3-0 and perfect in the Western Athletic Conference at 2-0.

"We looked extremely good tonight," head coach Scott Bauman said after the meet. "We had to battle with a few line-up changes, but I think the bar team looked incredible and the beam and floor teams were amazing."

SUU led start to finish during the meet as Lindsey Schultz got the team out to a quick start with a meet-best 9.800 on vault to claim the title. As a team, the Thunderbirds began the night with a 48.675 and steadily increased as the meet progressed. Sacramento State began the night on bars and struggled with two falls, trailing the home team with a 47.775 after the first rotation.

The T-Birds only competed five on the uneven bars with each gymnast: Ari Lamb, Caitlin Kennedy, Brooke Cersosimo, Lauren Jeffrey and Alyssa Click scoring a 9.775 or better. Kennedy and Cersosimo led the team with career-bests of 9.800 to share the individual title. Southern Utah's team score of 48.925 was the highest this season as the lead grew to almost two points after the second rotation, 97.600 to 95.975.

SUU broke through the 49-point barrier for the first time of the season during the third rotation as the T-Birds scored a 49.050 on beam. The feat was repeated on the final rotation as the Thunderbirds scored a 49.100 on floor. Sacramento State finished the night with a pair of 47's, scoring a 47.975 on floor and a 47.000 on beam for its final tally of 190.950.

Click and Lamb were the story on beam for the Thunderbirds as the duo scored matching 9.875's, marking career highs for both gymnasts as they shared the individual title. Sophomore Michaela Chernoch also tallied a career high, scoring a 9.775 to share third place with teammate Shannon Coughlin.

Coughlin saved her best for last, scoring a meet-high 9.900 on the floor exercise to capture her third consecutive floor title of the season. SUU gymnasts swept first through fourth on the event as Lindsey Schultz (9.875), Click (9.800) and Lamb (9.775) rounded out the top scores.

Lamb also claimed the all-around title with a career-high 39.100, matching Southern Utah's season-high set by Cersosimo last week against UCLA.

Southern Utah will be back in action next week when the Thunderbirds travel to Provo, Utah for a matinee meet at Brigham Young University. The T-Birds will join Iowa State and Utah State in the quad meet, scheduled to begin at Noon in the Smith Fieldhouse.

COUGARS COME BACK: at Cleveland, Ohio, The comeback Cougars have done it again as the BYU women's gymnastics team (6-1-1) came from behind to tie No. 9 Kent State in their quad-meet Friday night and to record a season-high team score of 194.775. The score tied KSU and George Washington came in third with a 190.775. In last place was Wisconsin-Oshkosh who finished with a team score of 181.775.

"We could've done better than we did," BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said following the meet, "But we kept competing to the very end and did what we had to do in the end."

Starting on beam for the third straight meet, the Cougars were led Krysten Koval once again as the junior finished with a 9.750. The up and coming generation of BYU gymnastics showed promise with two freshmen following closely behind Koval, as Megan Bain and Raquel Willman both finished with a 9.675.

"We had a great meet tonight," team captain Jessica Villegas said. "The best part is that we keep improving each meet which is what needs to happen for us to reach our goal of nationals. Good things are definitely happening."

Taking the floor in the next rotation, Jennifer Lezeu posted the Cougars strongest score on the event with a 9.800. Once again, Bain posted an impressive season-high 9.725. Sophomore Haylee Rollins also received a 9.725 with her floor routine.

On the following rotation, BYU was next up on vault where Rollins posted a career-high, 9.825 to lead the Cougars in their third rotation. Also posting an impressive score on the event was Mickell Merrell, who is competing on vault for the Cougars after only competing on floor last season. Still after the second rotation, BYU trailed Kent State.

Finishing on uneven bars, the Cougars posted huge scores in order to tie Kent State. Giving BYU their highest score of the night was Haylee Rollins with a career-high 9.875. The Cougars recorded four scores of 9.800 or higher on the event as Madeleine Johnson, Natalie Eyre and Jennifer Lezeu scored 9.825, 9.800 and 9.800 respectively on the bars. Raquel Willman also contributed to the team season-high on the event with a 9.750.

"I was impressed with how well the girls performed after a rough first routine on balance beam," Koval said following the meet. "We fought for every tenth and everyone stepped up improving their routine to build the team score. It was a great come-from-behind win and a real confidence booster."

BYU will host their first home meet of the season on Jan. 29, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.

AGGIES FINISH IN THE MIDDLE: At San Jose, Calif., Utah State gymnastics earned its first win of the season by finishing second at the San Jose State tri-meet with Wisconsin-Eau Claire Friday at SJSU's Spartan Gym. The Aggies posted a 191.350 Friday, which was also their Western Athletic Conference opener, as the action against SJSU counts towards USU's league mark.

The host Spartans won the meet with a 194.700 while the Aggies scored a 47.775 on vault, 47.700 on bars, 47.150 on beam and a 48.725 on floor for the final score of 191.350. The Blugolds of UWEC were third with a 181.675.

With their first win of the season, the Aggies are now 1-4 on the young season, while sliding to 0-1 in WAC action. SJSU improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in conference competition while UWEC is 1-4 overall.

Freshman Paige Jones was third in the all-around with a career-best 38.450, while finishing second on vault with 9.725, tying a season-best and tied for third on floor with a 9.825, also a new season-high. Junior Haley Hogan tied for second on beam with a season-best 9.675, while fellow junior Rebecca Holliday was tied for third with a 9.700. Senior Jackie Dillon was fourth in the all-around with a 37.650.

The Aggies opened on bars, with freshman Rachel Vaske leading off with a 9.600, sophomore Amelia Montoya and senior Jackie Dillon followed with 9.050 and 8.950, respectively. Holliday then notched a 9.700, preceding a 9.675 by both Jones and junior Nicole Simoneau. That gave USU a 47.700 on bars, putting the Aggies in second after one rotation as SJSU scored a 48.550 on vault and UWEC logged a 45.600 on beam.

For the second apparatus, Utah State was on beam with Dillon opening with a 9.325, before Jones posted a season-best 9.225. Hogan then registered her 9.675. Siomoneau followed with a 9.625, then Holliday scored an 8.850 before freshman Cammi Muhr closed out the rotation with a 9.300.

The Aggies totalled a 47.150 on beam, giving them a halfway mark score of 94.850, good for second-place. The host Spartans led with a 97.200 after recording a 48.650 on bars, while the Blugolds were third with a 91.750 after logging a 46.150 on floor.

On floor for the third rotation, Muhr started off the lineup with a season-high 9.675, before fellow freshman Christina Nye notched a season-best 9.700. Vaske followed with a 9.700 as well, preceding a 9.775 by Dillon and a 9..725 by Montoya. Jones concluded the lineup with a new top score for the season for not only her but matching senior teammate Lyndsie Boone for best of the season by an Aggie with a 9.825. USU notched a 48.735 on floor.

USU finished on vault, with Holliday leading off with a 9.600, followed by Montoya with a 9.325. After an 8.95 by Muhr, Vaske notched a 9.525, preceding a 9.600 by Dillon before Jones closed out the rotation and the action with a 9.725, tying her season-best.

The Aggies ended with a 47.775 on vault, for their final score of 191.350.

Following Friday's tri-meet, Utah State continues its four-meet road swing by competing in a quad meet at Provo, Utah hosted by BYU with Southern Utah and Iowa State, which will be a reunion for USU assistant coach Janet Anson, who is a 2007 alum of ISU and was an eight-time All-American for the Cyclones. Anson was also an assistant on the ISU staff for two years prior to coming to USU.

USU will then compete in dual meets at Southern Utah on Feb. 4 and at Sacramento State on Feb. 11 before returning home to host Boise State on Feb. 18.

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