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BYU Roundup: Women’s track wins NCAA indoor distance medley title

By Darnell Dickson daily Herald - | Mar 12, 2021

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The BYU distance medley relay team of Courtney Wayment, Olivia Hoj-Simister, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes and Alena Ellsworth turned in a school record time of 10:52.96 to win the NCAA Indoor Championship on Friday.

The Cougars finished more than four seconds ahead of the second-place team from Arkansas and was the sixth-fastest time in NCAA history.

The previous record of 10:53.95 was set by Ellsworth Barnes, Ellsworth, Whittni Orton and Anna Camp-Bennett last February.

BYU track and field’s Halley Folsom Walker finished 14th overall in the pentathlon with a score of 3,899 points at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships to receive All-America Second Team recognition.

Folsom Walker is the first BYU pentathlete to be named an All-American since former Cougar and national champion Amy Menlove Otis collected All-America honors in 2010.

In her NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships debut, Folsom Walker opened the meet with an 8.94 in the 60m hurdles before clearing 1.66m/5-5.25 in the high jump. The senior finished with a toss of 11.61m/38-1.25 in the shot put before recording a mark of 5.09m/16-8.5 in the long jump.

Folsom Walker’s most impressive performance of the day came in the final event, the 800m. After working her way through the pack of pentathletes early in the race, Folsom Walker pulled away in the final lap to take first place with a career-best 2:10.86.

The indoor championships continue through Saturday.

Gymnastics team posts record score

No. 12 BYU celebrated its highest score since 2004, a 197.300, against No. 11 Denver on Thursday in the Marriott Center.

The Cougars narrowly fell to the Pioneers by a mere .075 as Denver posted a 197.375. In addition achieving the team’s season-high team score, BYU notched season-high scores on both beam and floor during the competitive, crowd-pleasing meet.

“We’ll take that score,” head coach Guard Young said. “That’s our highest score since I’ve been the coach. We accomplished a 197 at home. We’ve been doing that on the road, so I’m super happy. It’s a great send off and a great tribute to our seniors. Every meet that we’ve had this year has been a privilege and this just topped it.”

A highlight included senior Abbey Miner-Alder competing in the all-around for the fourth time this season, achieving a new career-high of 39.525.

To start off the night, BYU headed to vault where it racked up a 49.175. Four Cougars snagged a 9.825, including freshman Allix Mason and seniors Haley Pitou, Angel Zhong, Avery Bennett. Competing in the all-around for the fourth time this season, senior Abbey Miner-Alder led the pack by tying her career-high score of 9.875. After the first rotation, Denver led by .250, after Lynnzee Brown and Jessica Hutchinson kicked off the meet with impressive scores of 9.950 on the uneven bars.

In the second rotation, the Cougars made a comeback, notching their eighth-highest bars score in program history, a 49.375. This is the second time this season BYU put up this tally. The seniors racked up impressive scores. Helody Cyrenne celebrated a season-high score of 9.925. Abby Boden-Stainton followed with a 9.900 and Pitou achieved a 9.875. At the halfway point, the Cougars traded places, gaining a .250 lead over the Pioneers, 98.550-98.300.

BYU’s momentum carried into the third rotation, notching another season-high tally for the night, a 49.400 on beam. This is the program’s highest score on the apparatus since 2005 and ranks as the fifth highest in program history. Stainton led with a 9.925, her season-high score. Freshman Elease Rollins and Alder followed with solid scores of 9.900. Even with Denver’s massive 49.500 score on floor the Cougars maintained their lead, 147.950-147.800.

In the final rotation, BYU earned a 49.350 on floor. Junior Brittney Vitkauskas and Alder put up 9.900 scores, the highest in the lineup. Currently, the two are the top-ranked floor performers in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. Senior Jordan Danbury-Matthews followed with her career-high score of 9.875. In the end, Denver came from behind with another impressive tally, a 49.575 on beam. This would give the Pioneers the final edge over the Cougars.

Denver’s Brown took home the all-around title, achieving a 39.775.

To finish off the night, the crowd celebrated BYU’s seven seniors: Abbey Miner-Alder, Avery Bennett, Helody Cyrenne, Jordan Danbury-Matthews, Haley Pitou, Abby Boden-Stainton and Angel Zhong.

“They’re leaving big shoes to fill next year,” Young said. “You know, they can be proud of the program that they built. They can be proud of the program that they’re leaving behind for these young ones that come in.”

Next week, BYU heads to Logan for the MRGC Championships on Saturday, March 20.

Softball loses pitchers’ duel

SAN MARCOS, Texas – On its second day in Texas, the BYU softball team was on the wrong side of a 2-1 pitching duel against Texas State on Thursday evening.

“We had runners in scoring position several times and couldn’t get the timely hit,” BYU coach Gordon Eakin said.

Autumn Moffat-Korth took the loss but stuck out six in a complete game.

After a scoreless first inning, Alyssa Podhurcak gave BYU the 1-0 lead on her second homer of the week. A two-run single gave Texas State the lead in the bottom of the third frame.

Moffat-Korth downed the three batters she faced in the bottom of the sixth but the Cougars were unable to get one across in the top of the seventh and the Bobcats took the 2-1 win.

The Cougars will play their final game in San Marcos, Texas, against UTSA on Friday, before heading to Austin, Texas, for a doubleheader on Saturday.

Baseball drops second straight to Utah

The BYU baseball team has lost five games in a row to Pac-12 schools, including Friday’s’ 7-1 loss to the University of Utah. The Cougars fell 6-3 to the Utes on Thursday.

In Friday’s game, Utah chased BYU starter Cy Neilson with a four-run fourth and held BYU to just one run on five hits. K Robeniol pitched six innings of scoreless ball for the Utes.

The Cougars scored their only run of the game in the seventh when Wilk singled to score Josh Cowden.

BYU and Utah complete the three-game series on Saturday in Provo at Miller Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Women’s volleyball reschedules matches

The BYU women’s volleyball matches with Santa Clara that were originally scheduled for Feb. 2-3 have been rescheduled for March 30-31 in Provo.

Both matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse and will be broadcast on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv app. A limited number of tickets will be made available for purchase prior to each match.

This week’s matches at home against Pacific were canceled due to COVID-19 protocols in the Tigers’ program.

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