The annual competition between the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes took place on January 11. The Utes have defeated BYU in the last 21 match up against the two teams, with their goal of tonight being their 22nd.

The night kicked off with BYU on vault and Utah on bars. Sophomore Haley Pitou lead off the Cougars on vault with a Yurchenko full with a large hop back for a 9.775. All arounder for the night, Shannon Evans, went next on vault and hit her Yurchenko 1/2 for a 9.825. Freshman Rebekah Bean closed on vault for the Cougars with a front handspring pike 1/2 off with some hops for a 9.825.

Shannon Evans
Photo: BYU

Junior Kim Tessen lead off the Utes on bars, performing a solid routine, but unfortunately fell to her knees on her full out dismount. Hoping to drop Tessen’s 9.100, freshman Hunter Dula took to the uneven bars next. Dula hit her routine and scored a 9.750. All arounder Makenna Merrell-Giles went next, hitting her Deltchev and sticking her full out dismount for a 9.825. Junior MyKayla Skinner closed for the Utes on bars, performing her new sky high Ray and sticking her full out dismount, scoring a 9.875.

Following the first rotation, the Utes led the Cougars by one tenth – 49.150 to 49.050. The teams then switched events with the Utes going to vault and the Cougars going to bars.

Senior Kari Lee lead off on vault for the Utes and performed a great Yurchenko full with a small hop back, scoring a 9.850. Halfway through the lineup, senior Macey Roberts stuck a gorgeous Yurchenko full for a 9.900. Second-to-last, MaKenna Merrell-Giles went 9.900 for her Yurchenko 1.5. MyKayla Skinner anchored with her signature Yurchenko double full and scored a massive 9.975.

Macey Roberts after a fantastic vault
Photo: The Salt Lake Tribune

Freshman Helody Cyrenne began on bars for BYU, hitting her routine for a 9.800. Shannon Evans closed and posted the highest score on bars for the Cougars, tying MyKayla Skinner’s 9.875.

Going into the third rotation, Utah lead BYU 98.650 to 98.125.

On beam, senior Cheyenne Hill opened up for BYU, hitting her routine for a great lead off score, a 9.800. Abbey Miner, a sophomore and Utah native, followed Hill with a fantastic routine for a 9.900. Senior Natasha Marsh also came in to score a 9.900. Closing a phenomenal beam rotation for BYU was Shannon Evans who had another hit routine for the Cougars, scoring a 9.800. The Cougars went 49.325 on the event.

After a phenomenal vault, Macey Roberts lead off for Utah on floor. Roberts opened up with a gorgeous front layout, Rudi combination and closed with a 1.5 twist to front layout; an amazing routine for a 9.800. Following a solid bar routine and vault, MaKenna Merrell-Giles posted a 9.900 for her fantastic floor routine. Closing for the Utes on floor, MyKayla Skinner opened up with a double double and continued her amplitude all the way through to her closing tumbling pass, a full in. Skinner scored a 9.985, helping the Utes to go 49.400 on floor.

MaKenna Merrell-Giles mid switch ring leap
Photo: Utah Utes

While the Cougars had a fantastic beam rotation, the Utes increased their lead after their floor rotation and lead the Cougars 148.050 to 147.450  going into the final rotation.

Leading off on beam, Utah’s final rotation, was sophomore Alexia Burch who had a solid lead off routine for a 9.775. The scores continued to increase for the Utes with Kari Lee in the third position scoring a 9.850. In the fourth position, Makenna Merrell-Giles had a great routine with a great triple series and a stuck 1.5 twist dismount for a 9.850. Second to last in the lineup, Adrienne Randall hit a phenomenal routine including her unique full twisting back handspring swingdown and stuck her double full dismount, scoring a 9.875. As she did on the other three events, MyKayla Skinner closed for the Utes on beam. Skinner opened up with her back handspring, layout step out and was solid throughout, all the way to her double back dismount. Skinner scored a 9.800, helping the Utes finish with a 49.200 on beam and a 197.250 total.

Abby Boden lead off floor for BYU’s final rotation, opening up with a double back and closing with a 1.5 twist to a 1/2 twist for a 9.725. Following Boden, Natasha Marsh was having a solid routine until she sat down her last pass, a 1.5 twist to front tuck, and scored a 9.075. Now with some pressure on the Cougars, freshman Brittney Vitkauskas followed and had a solid routine for a 9.775. Shannon Evans closed on floor for BYU with her Mario-themed routine, scoring a 9.900. Evans posted the highest score for the Cougars on the floor and allowed for BYU to drop the 9.075 and score a 49.025 on the event. The Cougars had a total team score of 196.475.

Shannon Evans on floor Photo: BYU Photo

The Utah Utes went on to defeat the BYU Cougars 197.250 to 196.475 with MyKayla Skinner winning the all around with a 39.600, MaKenna Merrell-Giles finishing second with a 49.475, and BYU’s Shannon Evans taking third with a 39.400. On the individual events, MyKayla Skinner won the vault title with a 9.975. Skinner and Shannon Evans tied for the bars title with a 9.875. Abbey Miner and Natasha Marsh tied for first on beam with a 9.900, and Skinner won the floor title with a 9.950.

Next weekend, the BYU Cougars will compete against the Utah State Aggies at Utah State. The Utah Utes will face the Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-12 matchup at Oregon State.

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