No. 5 Utah Defeats No. 20 Utah State 197.275-196.500 In Regular Season Finale
SALT LAKE CITY – Although No. 5 Utah gymnastics struggled to put a complete meet together from start to finish on Friday night in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, the Utes walked away with a win over No. 20 Utah State. Utah (10-1, 6-0 Pac-12) topped Utah State (2-10, 2-7 MRGC) 197.275-196.500 to end the regular season dual slate.
"We had a hard time building momentum tonight," said head coach Tom Farden. "We had a lot of mistakes and there were significant mistakes on every event. We definitely took a dip. We have trained the athletes to the best of our ability and are still fine-tuning things, but we all have to get together on the same boat and start rowing in the same direction. We just misfired too many times."
Utah had glimpses of momentum, but could not maintain a flow routine-to-routine and event-to-event. The Utes had a nice vault from Cristal Isa to begin the meet that scored a 9.825, but had to overcome a mishap early on after a fall from Cammy Hall in the second spot. Maile O'Keefe matched Isa's score of a 9.825 before Lucy Stanhope fired off a career-high 9.90. Jaedyn Rucker dialed in a 9.875 for the Utes, while the set was anchored by Alexia Burch's 9.90.
Able to move on from vault with a 49.325 despite the fall early on, Utah held a 0.300 lead through the first rotation. The uneven bars set for Utah saw the back half lead the group once again, but only managed to put up one score hitting the 9.90-mark. O'Keefe tallied Utah's highest score of a 9.90 from the fifth spot, while Isa and Emilie Leblanc pulled in 9.875s. Alani Sabado scored a 9.825 and the remaining score came from Abby Paulson's leadoff 9.775. Utah totaled a 49.250 on bars to push the lead to 98.575-98.175.
After building momentum from the last three routines, Burch got the beam rotation started and had uncharacteristic wobbles that resulted in a 9.725, which Utah would look to drop. There to turn it around was Stanhope with another career-mark, this time recording a 9.875 on beam to get the beam team fired up. Utah then received a pair of back-to-back 9.90s from Isa and Paulson to lift the event score further and set up the final two routines.
Adrienne Randall recorded a 9.825, while O'Keefe left no doubt in her routine and scored a 9.95 to push Utah to a 49.450 on beam as the best rotation of the night. Utah extended the lead 148.025-147.350 and looked to floor to close out the meet.
Coming off the highest event score of the night, Utah could not maintain the energy and after Randall earned just a 9.65 in the leadoff on floor, Isa suffered a fall immediately after and caused Utah to have to count the leadoff score and hit the remaining routines to avoid the upset.
Stanhope took on the challenge and recorded her third career high of the night on her third event competed. She posted a 9.90 on floor to lead Rucker into her own 9.90 performance, before Sydney Soloski continued her streak of now eight-consecutive 9.90 or higher marks on floor with a 9.95 tonight. The 49.250 on floor closed out the meet and secured a 197.275-196.500 win over Utah State.
Stanhope won her first career event victory after earning a share of the vault title with Burch, who recorded her fifth vault win of the year. O'Keefe won the uneven bars title, along with her seventh beam title in nine meets. Soloski took home her fourth floor win of the year.
Utah will compete for another conference title next Saturday, March 20 at the Pac-12 Championships. The 2021 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships will be held at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.