PROVO — The BYU women's gymnastics team fought hard but eventually lost to No. 17 Denver 193.750 to 191.850 at the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday night.
BYU started the night on vault, where Jordan Schult set a career high with a score of 9.800. Teammate Natalie Eyre Pickard had the team-high score on the vault with 9.825, helping the Cougars take an early 48.800 to 48.600 over the Pioneers.
Eyre-Pickard excelled on the bars with a second consecutive score of 9.825. KayCee Gassaway, back from injury for the first time in several weeks, scored a 9.625, but it was not enough for the Cougars to keep the lead. Moriah Martin of Denver scored a 9.900 in the rotation, helping the Pioneers to a 97.575 to 97.475 lead.
The beam proved to be the most difficult rotation for the Cougars, who battled but continued to give up ground to the Pioneers. Both Krysten Koval and Raquel Willman received scores of 9.725, pushing BYU's score to 144.800. After the Pioneers' rotation on the floor, their team score increased to 146.225. The Cougars struggled with falls on the beam, which would continue onto the floor.
The final rotation for BYU was the floor, where Mickell Merrell led the way. She scored a team-high 9.725 with a solid routine.
SAN JOSE STATE 194.950, UTAH STATE 194.875: At Logan, five career-highs and the second-best bars score in school history were just not quite enough for Utah State gymnastics to overtake San Jose State, which scored a 194.950 to nip the Aggies Friday night in a WAC dual at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies' 194.875 was the highest team total under head coach Jeff Richards in his four years at the helm of the Utah State program.
USU, which entered the meet with the top bars average in the WAC with a 48.625, registered a season-high in the event with a 49.350 as all six gymnasts in the Aggies' rotation set or tied their career-highs. The 49.350 is the second-best bars score in school history on the event, just shy of the school record of 49.425 in 2003.
SJSU was led by Thomasina Wallace, who won the all-around with a 39.525, bettering her school record that she broke last week, and notching the highest all-around score in the WAC this season. Wallace entered the night leading the WAC with a 39.205 all-around average. In addition to winning the all-around, Wallace took top honors outright on vault with a 9.900 and floor with a 9.875, while sharing the titles with Aggie gymnast on beam and bars with 9.875's on both.
Freshman Sarah Landes registered five of the Aggies' 15 career-bests on the night with her top all-around score of 39.350, scoring USU's highest all-around score this season and the ninth-best all-around posting in school history, and tying for 13th on the Aggies' top all-around list. Landes also tied Wallace on beam with a 9.875, matching her career-high and posting USU's highest score on the apparatus this season and the fourth-highest score in the Aggie record books.
On bars, Landes was one of four Aggies who were part of a five-way logjam for first with Wallace all with 9.875's. Senior Rebecca Holliday, junior Amelia Montoya, sophomore Paige Jones and Landes all posted their top marks of their careers with the 9.875 score, while freshman Kaitlyn Betts match her top score of her career with a 9.850 to place sixth and junior Amanda Watamaniuk also notched her career-best score with a 9.825 to place seventh.
Jones was the top Aggie on vault with a 9.775 to finish second while Landes notched a career-best 9.750 for third. Holliday posted her top career score on beam with a 9.850 to tie for third and was joined in the career-high posting by freshman teammate Ashley Follet with a 9.750, good for a tie for sixth. Freshman Susie Miller and Landes both recorded 9.850's on floor and both were career-highs in tying for second, while Watamaniuk placed tied for fifth with a career-best 9.800.
In the all-around, Jones topped the 39.000 mark for the first time in her career with a 39.050, good for third while Holliday competed in the all-around for the first time since her freshman season of 2009, posting a 38.450 to place fifth. Holliday had a fall on floor to spoil a possible career-night, as she posted two career-best scores in the meet with her win-sharing 9..875 on bars and tied for third mark on beam with a 9.850.
All four of the Aggies' event scores were in the top three on the season, as USU also posted its season-best beam score of the season with a 48.825, its second-best floor score with a 48.450 and its third-highest vault score with a 48.250, for the team total of 194.875.
The Spartans scored a 48.700 on vault, 48.925 on bars, 48.850 on beam and 48.475 on floor for their winning score of 194.950.
USU opened on vault with Watamaniuk starting off the rotation with a 9.600. Holliday followed with a 9.550 in her first vault action of the season, preceding a 9.575 by Miller. Landes then notched a season-best 9.750 before Jones registered a 9.775 and Montoya closed out the line-up with a 9.550.
The Aggies posted a 48.250 on vault, their third-best score of the season, while the Spartans notched a 48.925, led by a 9.875 by Wallace, just shy of her WAC-best 9.900 score.
Watamaniuk led off USU's bars line-up as well, recording a career-high 9.825, and was followed by classmate Montoya in not only rotation but joined in the career-high party with a 9.875. The career-best posting wasn't done as Holliday notched a 9.875, which was matched by Landes in not only score but career-high as well. Jones then joined in on the 9.875 scoring for career-bests as well, before freshman Kaitlyn Betts bested her career-high mark as well with a 9.850.
At the halfway point of the meet, San Jose State held a sliver-thin lead of .025 at 97.625-96.600 after scoring a 48.700 on vault, again led by Wallace, with a 9.900.
On beam for the third rotation, Follett continued the career-high posting with a 9.750. After an 8.975 by Miller, senior Haley Hogan hung a 9.725 on the board. Holliday followed with a career-best 9.850 for her second career-high and third season-best score of the night. Landes then landed a 9.875 before Jones completed the lineup with a 9.625, giving USU a 48.825 on beam, its new season-high on apparatus.
After three rotations, USU took over the lead with a 146.425 while SJSU had a 146.100 after scoring a 48.475 on floor.
Watamaniuk also started things off for the Aggies on floor, notching a career-high 9.800, her second top score of her career of the night. Miller then joined along with everyone posting their top scores of their career by notching a 9.850. After a 9.175 by Holliday, Landes notched a 9.850 for her new top score of her career, then Jones registered a 9.775 before Follett completed the lineup and the night's action with a 9.100.