What do you get for a team that usually gets what it wants?
The Olympic sports teams at BYU have been extremely successful over the years, and this year has been no exception to that rule. In reality, these programs lead the way in how BYU can compete on a national level.
Here are a few things on their Christmas wish list.
A fantastic, unknown outside hitter
With the graduation of McKenna Miller, BYU will need to find some offense from the outside spot next year. A few years ago, Alexa Gray went from lightly recruited Canadian high schooler to the all-time leader in kills at BYU. Roni-Jones Perry wasn’t a big-time recruit out of Copper Hills High School but as a senior was a first-team All-American and led the Cougars to the Final Four. Who’s got next?
A season of health and good fortune
The Cougars were young last year — only one senior — but had a tough season with injuries and just bad luck. If everybody can stay healthy, this team is talented enough to return to the Final Four.
A healthy knee for Shaylee Gonzales
BYU’s leading scorer from 2018-19 suffered an ACL injury this summer and will miss the whole season. But this team has some youthful talent that is still developing and a relentless rebounder in Lauren Gustin redshirting after transferring from SLCC. Put a healthy Gonzales with this group and next year could be really special.
Men’s and women’s swimming and diving
An All-American in 2020
The swimming program already got a big present in 2018 with the renovation of the pool, but they’ve been extra good so how about an All-American performer? The last All-American for the men was in 2016 (Payton Sorenson) and for the women it was 2007 (Angela Goodson).
A return to the NCAA Tournament
The Cougars made it to the tourney in 2017 but have missed out the past two seasons. Head coach Mike Littlewood already got a pretty big present for 2020 with the No. 16 rated recruiting class.
Consistent pitching and a trip to a Super Regional
The Cougars haven’t been able to advance to the Super Regional since 2010. Dominating the WCC hasn’t been a problem, but having enough pitching to get past the first couple of days in a regional would be a great gift.
Some young defenders to have a good year in 2020
Head coach Jennifer Rockwood has done just about everything in college soccer since taking over 25 years ago. She graduates her whole back line and goalkeeper after this year’s 21-1-1 performance, so she’s going to need some defenders to step up.
Guard Young’s program earned a No 23 ranking in the preseason poll, so why not wrap up a Top 10 finish in 2020 and put it under the tree?
Track and field
Not one but two NCAA titles this spring
Is it greedy to ask for two? The Cougars had a national champion in the 10,000-meters last spring in Clayton Young. He’s graduated, so maybe Conner Mantz or Matt Owens can turn that trick in 2020. On the women’s side, it could be Erica Birk-Jarvis or Whittni Orton.
Men’s and women’s golf
An individual Top 10 finish in the spring national championships
Peter Kuest has been tearing up any and all courses during the fall and at one time was ranked No. 1 in the country. He’ll have a real shot at making some magic in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in May.
Men’s and women’s cross country
A gift certificate to Home Depot
The men won the national title in 2019 and the women finished second. Hey, everybody has those relatives or friends that are just hard to buy for when Christmas time comes around. Former Olympian Ed Eyestone took over the program in 2013 and is the gift that keeps on giving, so a gift certificate is the best choice.