BYU gymnastics finishes second at Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet 5

BYU gymnasts celebrate a great floor routine during the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019.

In 2020, the BYU gymnastics team earned its highest national ranking in 15 years, claiming the No. 16 spot in the nation, and won the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference for the first time in program history. These high expectations motivate the team as the 2021 season approaches.

With plans to live up to an impressive 2021 preseason ranking of No. 17, head coach Guard Young called seniors Abby Stainton and Abbey Miner Alder to lead the team as captains. However, he expects all seven of his seniors to set the example, just as they have in the past.

“We have Angel Zhong who is coming back for a fifth season after tearing her achilles,” Young said. “Abbey Miner will continue in the all-around. Avery Bennett has been a vault staple for the last three years. Abby Stainton has been solid on three events all year. Jordan Matthews was a solid backup on floor last year and she has elevated herself to a starting position. Haley Pitou has been a great starter for us on both bars and vault. And, Helody Cyrenne is someone I know I can count on for beam.”

During the 2021 season, the Cougars are scheduled to participate in 10 meets leading up to the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships in Logan, Utah, on Friday, March 22.

The schedule starts with the second annual Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet against University of Utah, Southern Utah University and Utah State University on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. MST at the Maverik Center.

BYU will go on to host four meets in the Smith Fieldhouse. Three of these home meets will take place in February when the Cougars host all three MRGC rivals Southern Utah (Feb. 5), Boise State (Feb. 19) and Utah State (Feb. 26). In March, BYU will welcome both Illinois State and University of Denver for a tri-meet on March 11.

A few out-of-state meets include visiting No. 2 University of Oklahoma (Mar. 11) and No. 21 Arizona State University (Jan. 16).

This schedule is finalized, but could see changes due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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