Utah Gymnastics Set For Pac-12 Championships
Second-seeded Utah gymnastics (10-1, 6-0 Pac-12) will vie for a conference championship at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships this Saturday, March 20 at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. The Utes will compete in the evening session at 7 p.m. MT against California, which earned the top seed, along with Arizona State and UCLA. The No. 5-8 seeds competing in the day session at 12 p.m. MT are Oregon State, Arizona, Washington and Stanford. Teams earned seeds based on National Qualifying Score.
Both sessions of the Pac-12 Championships will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, while the evening session will be broadcast on ESPN 700 radio. There will be no spectators at the Pac-12 Championships outside of the student-athletes family/guest pass lists.
IN THE RANKINGS
Utah dropped a spot following the final week of the regular season to No. 6 in the nation after its NQS remained the same. Utah ranks No. 3 on beam, No. 6 on vault, No. 8 on floor and tied at No. 15 on bars. Maile O'Keefe continues to lead Utah in the individual event rankings where she is tied for No. 1 in the nation on beam, No. 9 in the all-around and tied for No. 21 on bars. Abby Paulson is tied for No. 5 on beam, Alexia Burch is tied at No. 9 on vault, Sydney Soloski is tied for No. 11 on floor, while Cristal Isa is tied at No. 17 on beam to round out the Utes ranked in the top-25.
TAKE A SEED
Utah, which was the No. 1 seed into the Pac-12 Championship from 2013-16, is making its fifth appearance as the No. 2 seed (also in 2012, 2017-19). The Utes won the 2017 Pac-12 Championship as the No. 2 seed, while finishing second in 2012, 2018 and 2019. As the No. 2 seed, Utah will start the meet on the uneven bars, followed by beam, floor and vault. Cal will begin on vault as the top seed, while Arizona State will begin on beam and UCLA on floor.
• The Red Rocks will have eight gymnasts looking at their first taste of postseason competition at the Pac-12 Championships. The three Ute freshmen, along with sophomores Maile O'Keefe, Abby Paulson and Jaedyn Rucker will enter the first postseason of their careers on Saturday. Additionally, juniors Cammy Hall and Cristal Isa will make their debuts as well after both missed the conference championships their freshman season due to season-ending injuries.
• Utah has claimed the only two Pac-12 Regular Season Championships to date, and has collected three Pac-12 Championships since joining the conference.
• The Utes are the only team in the conference to finish in the top-3 at every Pac-12 Championships.
• A Ute has won the Pac-12 all-around title six times, including a mark of five-straight wins (Tory Wilson (2014), Georgia Dabritz (2015), Breanna Hughes (2016) and MyKayla Skinner (2017 and 2018)). Utah has had nine Pac-12 champions combine for 24 Pac-12 titles.
• Utah has seen the same six gymnasts in the vault lineup every meet this season, while eight have competed on bars, beam and floor of the 12 available athletes.
• Utah has hit 204-216 routines this season. Gymnasts who have hit every routine are O'Keefe (34-34) and Sydney Soloski (9-9).
• Individual event winners this season are O'Keefe (19), Burch (5), Soloski (4), Isa (3), Hall (2), Paulson (2), Jaedyn Rucker (2) and Lucy Stanhope (1).
• Pac-12 award winners this season for Utah are O'Keefe as Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 21, Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Mar. 9); Soloski (Jan. 21, Feb. 23), Paulson (Feb. 2), Burch (Feb. 9) and Rucker (Mar. 2) as Specialists of the Week; and Rucker (Jan. 21, Feb. 9) and Burch (Feb. 2, Feb. 23) as the Coaches' Choice winners.
LEADING THE PAC
• Utah is No. 1 in the Pac-12 on vault and beam. Alexia Burch is ranked No. 1 in the conference on vault, Maile O'Keefe is No. 1 on beam and in the all-around, while Sydney Soloski is No. 1 on floor in the Pac-12.
• Utah has the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 gymnasts on beam in the Pac-12 in O'Keefe, Abby Paulson and Cristal Isa. O'Keefe boasts an NQS of 9.975, while Paulson comes in with a 9.95 and Isa with a 9.925.
• Utah holds the highest event scores in the conference this season on vault (49.475) and beam (49.600), along with the highest individual scores on vault (Burch, 9.975) and beam (O'Keefe, 10.0), while Soloski is tied for the highest score on floor with a 9.975.
Utah gymnastics will continue postseason action at the NCAA Regionals at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Serving as one of the four regional hosts, Utah will begin its postseason run in the second round on Friday, April 2. Regional draws will be announced on Monday, March 22. Based on national qualifying score, teams 1-16 are seeded, while the remaining teams are placed geographically.