PROVO Heath Ledger's Joker would see it as funny, and others might view it as ironic, but the BYU gymnastics team just had to take yet another blow and plow on ahead as if nothing had happened.
Before the Cougars matchup against the Oregon State Beavers could even commence, the freshman-dominated, ultra-injured gymnastics team lost yet another competitor due to injury. Holland Davis tweaked her ankle during vault warmups and wasn't able to compete on any of her three events, causing BYU coach Brad Cattermole to have to replace her routines all through the night.
"She's going to have an MRI tomorrow, but she'll be OK. It happens. I hate to see it happen to a freshman because they're so excited about getting out there and getting going, and her parents came up from Arizona to see her perform," said Cattermole about his steady freshman performer.
He added that even though injuries always affect a team, it's just necessary for other competitors to step up and do their jobs. But the Cougars had a rough time putting up scores in the meeting against Oregon State and finished with a 194.550-188.975 loss, making them 0-4 so far this season.
"Gymnastics is like women's football. People get hurt," said Cattermole, who added that his goals for the young season are for his gymnasts to go out there and hit their routines, noting that he'd be pleased if five out of six on every event didn't fall, so they didn't have to count those scores.
So far that's been a problem for the Cougars this year.
"Every meet we're going to get better and better. This team doesn't give up, it just keeps going," said Cattermole about his girls who are showing up much better in practice so far than in meets.
There were a few bright spots during the night, the first coming on vault where freshman Krysten Koval finished with the Cougars' highest score of the event with a 9.675. Danielle Goldman had a 9.625, and Megan Donehue scored a 9.6. Bars had a few issues as without Davis' routine, the Cougars were thrown off.
"Bars is a bit of an emotional event. We're used to having Holland start. She's just steady and does her thing, and it gives the girls confidence," said Cattermole, but instead of that confidence, the Cougars suffered a pair of falls and some huge breaks in otherwise good routines.
Melissa Hough did perform with a solid 9.625 to lead the team on that event.
Another pair of falls marred beam, but Kaylee Gallup stood up strong for the Cougars and posted the team's highest score of the night on any event with a 9.775. Jennifer Lezeu added a 9.7 to provide the Cougars with another bright spot.
Three steps out of bounds took down floor scores, and Danielle Goldman, who was a surprise all-arounder on the evening, finished with a team-high 9.575.
Cattermole has high hopes for big improvement from his young team.
And the youthful exuberance was definitely felt throughout the gym as the freshmen competitors performed for the first time on the BYU home floor.
"Words cannot describe this. It is something I've dreamed of since I was seven years old," said freshman Krysten Koval, who performed on three events for BYU.Fellow freshman Emiko Ono added about competing in front of the BYU college crowd, "I was a little nervous because this was completely different than anything I've ever done."