Brad Cattermole and the Brigham Young University gymnastics team are on the verge of doing something they haven't done since he began his tenure as coach: compete at Penn State's University Park.
They've gone to the postseason 19 times under Cattermole, but it's the first time for the Cougars at this venue.
They'll be faced with some stiff competition during their trip to Pennsylvania in No. 1 Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver, No. 22 Penn State and No. 30 Iowa State.
Of the six teams only two will qualify for nationals gymnastics meet in Athens, Ga.
"The trick is to get there (to regionals), and you never know what is going to happen. You just want to get out there and give it your best shot," said Cattermole, who admits his team is an underdog to defeat four of the other squads.
"There's nobody there that's a cupcake, but if we hit we've got a chance, and if we don't hit we haven't got a chance. Sometimes you get to nationals just because you hit and they didn't," he added, noting that he's not worried about the other teams, just the way his own team competes.
"This is no time to be cautious," he said, adding that if a team plays it safe and finishes in third instead of sixth, they still don't make it to nationals.
He's trying to keep the gymnasts feeling energetic by mixing in rest with practice, noting he doesn't want them going in overstretched and lethargic.
He wants them heading in with a little extra juice.
Injuries aren't as much of a concern this season as they were last as Kiki Barrett is back from a sprained ankle she suffered at Utah in BYU's final meet of the regular season. Alethea Boon is the other question mark as she has been all year, but her wrist is looking pretty good, and her leg and Achilles tendon are holding on.
Cattermole's hoping to capitalize on the fact that his team's bars routines have been looking pretty sharp lately, it's vaulting better, and the beam and floor routines seem to be improving as well.The Northeast Region competition is set to begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
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