Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Teammates rush to congratulate Utah's MaKenna Merrell after she performs on the uneven bars at the Marriott Center in Provo on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.
PROVO — BYU had three good events Friday night as it hosted No. 5 Utah. The Cougars downfall was beam, where it was forced to count a fall before eventually losing 196.9–194.175.
“We need to get back in the gym and focus on pressure sets and situations so when we are back at this stage again, hopefully we can handle it a little bit better,” said BYU coach Guard Young.
Young admitted his team succumbed to the excitement of the meet and crowd noise because the group started off strong.
BYU posted a good vault score at 48.7 to start its meet, and then an even better bars score with a 48.875. Then came beam in which the Cougars finished with a 47.875 after leadoff Taylor Harward fell and then Angel Zhong fell as well in the fourth position.
But despite the struggles on beam, the Cougars had several highlights in their second meet of the year, including Jill van Mierlo and Shannon Hortman’s performances in the all-around.
Both gymnasts bested last week’s efforts with van Mierlo recording a 38.975, while Hortman went for 39.050.
“Shannon is a true freshman so what she did is remarkable — she’s a gamer, a competitor,” said Young.
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Hortman finished with career highs on vault (9.85), bars (9.825) and floor (9.75). She recorded a 9.625 on beam after missing a connection, something Young said is an easy fix.
The Utah native tied for third on both vault and bars in the meet.
Meanwhile, van Mierlo was BYU’s top performer on beam, where she finished tied for fifth (9.775).
"I had them (Utah) preseason No. 3 this year when I did my polling," said Young. "It's an honor to be out on the floor with them and for our girls to see the level of gymnastics we are trying to get them to."