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Top-Three Showdown Set for Utah Gymnastics Sunday on ESPN2

Jan 11, 2021

Meet Notes - Oklahoma

The No. 3-ranked Utah gymnastics team is set for a top-three showdown on Sunday, Jan. 17, traveling to Norman, Okla. to take on No. 2-ranked Oklahoma in the Lloyd Noble Center. The clash between two of the nation's top programs will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. MT/4 p.m. CT. Bart Conner will provide the play-by-play commentary, while Kelly Garrison Funderburk will serve as the color analyst.
• Utah won its eighth-straight season opener on Saturday after picking up the program's second-straight win at the Rio Tinto Best of Utah. Utah was dominant in the season opener against in-state programs BYU, Southern Utah and Utah State.
• Utah has not had a regular season dual meet against a Big 12 opponent since Utah and Iowa State competed in 2010.
• The Utes posted the third-highest score in the nation in the opening week to sit third in the nation. The rankings are currently based on season average score. Utah ranks tied for first on floor, third on beam, tied for fourth on vault, and tied for 11th on bars.
• Utah and Oklahoma are two of just six programs to have ever earned a national championship.
• Utah and Oklahoma both finished the 2020 season unbeaten with Utah finishing the season 11-0, while Oklahoma posted a 16-0 record.
• Three Utes made their collegiate debuts on Saturday at the Best of Utah with Jaedyn Rucker, Lucy Stanhope and Alani Sabado entering a Utah lineup. Rucker and Stanhope both earned spots on vault and floor, while Sabado stepped into the bars lineup.
• Maile O'Keefe won her first career victory on floor at the Rio Tinto Best of Utah, posting a 9.90 to lead the competition. O'Keefe also earned a share of the beam title with Abby Paulson and now improves her career total to seven event victories.
 • Alexia Burch appeared in the Utah bars lineup for the first time of her Ute career. The senior from Sparks, Nev. scored a 9.80 in her first scored bar routine.
• Utah has hit 24-24 routines this season. Gymnasts who have hit every routine are Cristal Isa (4-4), Maile O'Keefe (4-4), Alexia Burch (3-3), Abby Paulson (3-3), Emilie LeBlanc (2-2), Jaedyn Rucker (2-2), Lucy Stanhope (2-2), Cammy Hall (1-1), Adrienne Randall (1-1), Alani Sabado (1-1) and Sydney Soloski (1-1).
• Individual event winners this season are O'Keefe (2), Hall (1), Isa (1) and Paulson (1).
After the long-awaited return to the competition floor, the Utah gymnastics team picked up where they left off the 2020 run. Although 10 members of last year's team returned, the 2021 Utes have a different look this year thanks to the talent of the newcomers, as well as the strides made by the returners. At the Rio Tinto Best of Utah, the Red Rocks saw half the routines competed by upperclassmen and the other half by the underclassmen. The even split showed the depth among each class of gymnasts and the consistency of talent being brought in year after year.
Junior Cristal Isa and sophomore Maile O'Keefe stepped into all-around roles, while senior Alexia Burch added bars into her now three-event repertoire and sophomore Abby Paulson firmed up her position in the bars lineup to also compete three events. Sophomore Jaedyn Rucker and freshmen Lucy Stanhope and Alani Sabado gave Utah a big lift as underclassmen, while senior Sydney Soloski and juniors Adrienne Randall and Cammy Hall competed on their signature events in the season opener.
Utah leads the overall series with Oklahoma 28-10, which includes a 3-2 record on the road. Utah and Oklahoma have not met in the regular season since 1992 when the Utes downed the Sooners 195.800-187.000 in Salt Lake City. Utah has not competed in Norman since the 2011 NCAA Regional, while the last dual meet in Norman came during the 1990 season. Utah has dropped the last five meetings, which all came at the NCAA Championships.
Coach: K.J. Kindler (15th Season)
Ranking: 2nd
2020 Final Ranking: 1st
Notes: The defending national champions opened the 2021 season with a 197.450-194.725 win over Arizona State … Oklahoma has won three of the last four national championships, while being the runner-ups in 2018 … The Sooners are led by all-arounder Anastasia Webb, who posted a 39.600 in the season opener to win the AA, while also claiming the beam and floor event titles … Oklahoma posted the highest bars score in the nation in the opening week, and ranks No. 2 on vault and beam, and No. 3 on floor.
The remainder of the 2021 Utah gymnastics schedule is yet to be determined. For all information regarding schedule updates, follow @Utahgymnastics on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The most up to date information about the 2021 schedule can also be found on