Brad Cattermole knows all about the rivalry with Utah. No one need remind the BYU gymnastics coach that the fourth-ranked Utes have ruled the roost in the sport in this state for eons.
Though he admits "it would be fun" to defeat mighty Utah at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, he's more concerned with his team posting the type of team score that would enhance BYU's positioning in the NCAA regionals next month.Besides, he understands this meet also means he will soon be saying goodbye to three solid seniors who will be competing for the final time at home in the last regular-season meet of the year. The meet will be televised tape-delayed on KBYU Ch. 11 at 10:30 p.m.
Cattermole has coached Angela Anderson and Janene Christensen Lay and Jessica Young since they were youngsters, and he has witnessed their progress, both in gymnastics and in life.
"Each one has been super," he said. "They've been great examples. They are three seniors who are hard to replace. We'll miss their leadership and work ethic. In a way, it's fun to see them retire. They've done what they've wanted to do and they will all graduate and move on to other things. Angie and Janene are married and want to start their families. Jessica is going to go into nursing."
Anderson has been a mainstay for BYU's program since transferring from Southern Utah after her freshman season. She has scored 39 or better 14 times in her Cougar career and is tied for the school all-around record with a 39.45 mark.
Lay has scored highs of 9.875 on both beam and floor this season for BYU, though she was primarily a vault specialist when she came to BYU.
Young has specialized in the beam this year, with a best of 9.8, though knee injuries have prevented her from competing in vault. She does hold one of the top vault scores in Cougar history, a 9.025.
"It will be emotional," said Cattermole of the trio's farewell performance in Provo. And the mood should be raucous, too. The coach said he expects about 8,000 fans to show up for the meet, including a number of former Cougar gymnasts who are returning to their alma mater for a 10-year class reunion.
BYU, ranked No. 11 nationally, should give Utah a stern test tonight. The Cougars are coming off their best showing of the season, a 195.05 against Southern Utah on Wednesday in Cedar City. Cattermole says he has no problem with having two big, in-state meets in the same week. "If you're not ready for this kind of thing by this time of year," he said, "you're in trouble."
Utah coach Greg Marsden, meanwhile, is cautious heading into the contest with BYU. "We want to go down to Provo and have a good road meet," he said. "It's going to be tough because it's finals week and we don't have much training time. We need to try and build confidence as we go into the postseason.
"Hopefully we'll be up for the meet Saturday," he continued. "It's our rival and (the Cougars) have the best team they've had in a while. They're undefeated at home and we, at times, have been very average on the road."
The Utes are led by junior Angie Leonard, a two-time All-America who started the week as the nation's third-ranked all-arounder. She is the only Ute to go all-around in all eight meets this season. Utah scored its season high against BYU, a 196.825, in February.