SALT LAKE CITY — Utah and BYU square off Friday in the Huntsman Center for the gymnastics portion of the Deseret Duel. The Utes, who fell to No. 3 in the rankings during their bye week, have never lost to BYU in Salt Lake and have a 29-meet win streak over the Cougars.
"It's tough to go to the Huntsman Center, but if you don't enjoy competing at Utah you shouldn't be doing this," said BYU coach Brad Cattermole. "It's a fair crowd, who obviously shows what team they favor, but will also recognize us when we do something really well because they are knowledgeable about gymnastics."
The visit to the Huntsman Center is the third straight road meet for BYU, which is coming off a win over in-state rival Southern Utah. Prior to that, the Cougars opened their season with a loss at North Carolina State.
"We had some struggles for sure in North Carolina, but improved on things at SUU," said Cattermole. "We still had to count some falls at SUU and made some mistakes, but I'm not unhappy with our second outing at all."
Leading BYU this year will be Utah native Megan Bain, who posted career bests of 9.9 on vault and beam and 9.825 on floor at SUU. Also expected to be key contributors are Krysten Koval and Raquel Willman.
"Last year Megan got into her own head and over analyzed everything to the point she lost some confidence. This season, she seems to be overcoming that and really taking what she does in workouts to the meets," said Cattermole.
"Krysten is one of those who, the bigger the meet the better she performs. Raquel is following and has stepped up and gotten in there for us to contribute."
The Cougars are without Haylee Rollins this season due to a heel injury that required correction to prevent further damage. Rollins was expected to be a top competitor in every event.
Overall, Cattermole expects the team to be competitive in three events, while he readily admits the beam is not quite there.
"We have some exciting new floor routines with our new gymnasts. I also think bars are fairly good and we should score well here and with vault. We had to recently count a fall with vault and I really couldn't remember the last time this happened because it's a good event for us. Beam is still a work in progress," said Cattermole.
BYU (1-1) at Utah (1-1)
Tonight, 7 p.m.
TV: Tape-delayed on
ABC, Sunday at 11 a.m.