USU gymnasts stun BYU with winning performance
By Dan Chase
But Aggie senior Christy Denson was meaner.
Falling off the beam three times and being handed a 197.075 to 193.175 loss by the No.4 ranked University of Utah on Monday, the Aggies, led by Denson's heroics, rebounded in a big way on Friday night and stunned No. 14 Brigham Young University with a score of 195.550 to 195.450.
"Even though Christy Denson lit this place up tonight, everybody stepped up a notch and batted home runs," USU head coach Ray Corn said. "That's all I can say. I am so pleased."
"They learned tonight how to finish a meet of determination, of grit," Corn added. "My hat's off to BYU--they've got a very good team. I can understand why now they are ranked the 14th team in the country and we just beat them."
And Denson had a lot to do with it.
Knowing that they needed to see a big performance from her to see an Aggie win, the crowd erupted and rallied when Denson--the last performer of the night--stepped onto the floor.
"It was definitely a big motivator," Denson said of the crowd's rally. "Having the whole crowd behind you makes it a lot more fun."
And her performance was everything the crowd hoped it would be--until her 9.875 score was announced.
Though temporarily met by fans' disapproval, boos turned to cheers as the final score was announced.
"Tonight we really showed that we could all put it together and come out with a big score," said Denson, whose 39.400 score edged BYU's Kim Little's 39.275 for the all-around. "We've been working really hard on beam and just getting the whole team together."
"Getting that together and then everything coming together was the best feeling and such a relief. We're so ready to move on now."
And while Denson's floor performance may have been huge, what was more huge was her uneven bars score.
Denson led the way with a 9.925, followed closely by teammates Jessica Porter and Kristen Bloom. Porter earned a 9.875 and Bloom earned a 9.850--a personal best.
But Corn said he was most pleased with the team's performance on the beam.
"The last three days a lot of pressure was placed on them on beam in practice," Corn said. "Last time we were toe to toe with Utah and we weren't successful on beam. Tonight we were successful."
"I'm just ecstatic," Corn added. "This is now, truly, the beginning of our season."
Denson and Aggie freshman Tina Ellis notched the second and fourth place on the beam with scores of 9.875 and 9.775, respectively. They joined the first, third and fifth finishers--BYU's Little, Jennifer Thomas and Kelly Parkinson--with respective scores of 9.925, 9.825 and 9.750.
On the vault, the Aggies struggled. Denson and Stephanie Huff earned a 9.725, while Kristen Fargo and Megan Woolstenhulme received a 9.800 and 9.750, respectively. BYU's Little and Parkinson tied for first place with a score of 9.850, and Angie Hickman took the fourth spot with a 9.775.
But Corn said the Aggies were relatively flawless.
"We only made two mistakes tonight," Corn said. "We did not have to count a fall for team score."
"We beat a very, very good team tonight," Corn added. "We'll continue to get better, I guarantee it. We will continue to get better."