Top-10 Matchup Set For Friday Night As No. 4 Utah Hosts No. 9 California
No. 4-ranked Utah gymnastics (7-1, 4-0 Pac-12) will close out its home conference slate this Friday night, Feb. 26, welcoming the No. 9-ranked California Golden Bears (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) to the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The meet between the two remaining undefeated teams in Pac-12 play will begin at 7 p.m. MT and will air on the Pac-12 Networks. Brian Webber will serve as the play-by-play announcer, while Amanda Borden will be the color analyst.
IN THE RANKINGS
Utah slid one spot to No. 4 in the nation heading into the final week of rankings being based on season average scores. Starting on Monday, March 1, rankings will be determined by National Qualifying Score (NQS). A team's NQS this year will be an average of four scores, two of which must be away scores. The Utes rank No. 3 on beam, tied for No. 4 on floor, No. 6 on vault, and No. 9 on bars. Maile O'Keefe leads the Red Rocks individually, ranking No. 3 on beam and No. 9 in the all-around. Sydney Soloski is tied for No. 12 on floor and Cristal Isa is No. 15 on bars.
• Utah is No. 1 in the Pac-12 on vault, beam and floor, and is No. 2 on bars. Utah is the only school in the conference to rank in the top-two on each event. Utah is the only Pac-12 school to rank in the top-10 nationally on every event.
• Four Red Rocks hit or surpassed a career-high mark on an event against UCLA. Matching career highs were Alexia Burch (VT), Abby Paulson (FX) and Lucy Stanhope (VT, FX), while Jaylene Gilstrap posted a career-high 9.875 on floor.
• Utah has hit 137-144 routines this season. Gymnasts who have hit every routine are Maile O'Keefe (23-23), Cristal Isa (20-20), Stanhope (13-13), Adrienne Randall (9-9), Sydney Soloski (6-6) and Gilstrap (4-4).
• Individual event winners this season are O'Keefe (10), Burch (4), Soloski (3), Hall (2), Isa (2), and Paulson (2).
• Pac-12 award winners this season for Utah are O'Keefe as Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 21, Feb. 2, Feb. 9); Soloski (Jan. 21), Paulson (Feb. 2) and Burch (Feb. 9) as Specialists of the Week; and Rucker (Jan. 21, Feb. 9) and Burch (Feb. 2) as the Coaches' Choice winners.
FEELING IT ON FLOOR
Utah has been extremely consistent in 2021 on floor and ranks No. 4 in the nation despite shuffling the lineup in all but one meet from the previous week. The Utes have changed the order in all but one outing, but have scored between a 49.300 and 49.450 in all six meets. Utah ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 on floor and is coming off a season-high 49.450 effort against UCLA that went on to win the meet. The 49.450 is the highest floor score in the Pac-12 this season. Soloski leads the group with three floor titles and has scored a 9.90 or higher in all but the season opener, marking five five-straight scores of 9.90-plus, including her 9.925 against UCLA to win the meet. Last meet, Utah collected 9.875s from Jaylene Gilstrap, Lucy Stanhope and Jaedyn Rucker, a 9.90 from Abby Paulson and Soloski's 9.925 to close out the meet at home.
Utah leads the all-time series with Cal 26-2, including a 9-0 record in Salt Lake City. The Utes have won six straight against the Golden Bears and are coming off a 197.550-197.325 win in Berkeley last season. Utah and Cal were tied through three rotations before the beam team earned a whopping 49.625, which saw 9.95s from Adrienne Randall, Maile O'Keefe and Abby Paulson, to outscore Cal's floor effort and win the meet.
Co-Head Coaches: Justin Howell, Elisabeth Crandall-Howell
2020 NCAA Finish: No. 9
National Ranking: No. 9
Record: 4-0, 3-0 Pac-12
Notes: California heads into the matchup after posting its fourth-best score in school history, scoring a 197.425 against Oregon State for its first win in Corvallis … Cal has improved its score in every outing this season and is undefeated to this point … Cal is ranked No. 8 on bars, No. 10 on beam and No. 12 on vault in the nation … Kyana George, Maya Bordas and Nevaeh DeSouza lead the team as all-arounders … George is ranked No. 10 in the all-around and holds the Pac-12's highest score (39.650), while Bordas is No. 16 in the nation.
Utah gymnastics will close out the 2021 conference season on the road against Oregon State next Friday, March 5 in Corvallis, Ore. The time for the road meet is set for 5 p.m. PT.