Gymnastics roundup: BYU, Utah State fall in home meets

Published: Friday, Feb. 10 2012 11:14 p.m. MST

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.

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