Ute Gymnasts Picked To Repeat As Pac-12 Champions In Preseason Coaches Poll
SAN FRANCISCO – Utah gymnastics has been voted as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 title the league office announced on Thursday afternoon. It is the second year in a row the Utes have been placed at the top of the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll, which is voted on by the conference's coaches.
Coming in with back-to-back Pac-12 regular season titles and the 2021 Pac-12 Championship title, Utah led the poll with six first-place votes cast and received 48 points. UCLA collected two first-place votes and 41 points to finish second, while California (40) finished third.
Rounding out the top-five teams were Arizona State (30) and Oregon State (26). Arizona (17), Stanford (14) and Washington (8) completed this year's Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll.
Utah has gone undefeated in conference action the last two seasons and has not dropped a Pac-12 regular season meet since Feb. 23, 2019. The Ute gymnasts have claimed the only two regular season titles in conference history and have totaled four Pac-12 Championships (2014, 2015, 2017, 2021). Last season, the Pac-12 had four teams finish the year ranked in the top-12.
The 2022 Utah squad returns two-time national champion Maile O'Keefe, along with fellow All-Americans Cristal Isa, Abby Paulson, Sydney Soloski and Alexia Burch. Utah returns a total of seven 2021 All-Pac-12 selections, as well as five Pac-12 champions. O'Keefe was the 2021 Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year, while Burch earned the Pac-12 Specialist of the Year.
Joining the stacked Utah lineup for their freshman seasons are Olympic silver medalist Grace McCallum, Olympic bronze medalist Amelie Morgan, Olympic alternate Kara Eaker and uneven bars national champion Sage Thompson.
Utah gymnastics returns to the Huntsman Center this Friday, Dec. 17 for the annual Red Rocks Preview. The intrasquad event will begin at 7 p.m. MT and is free admission. Utah's season opener is set for Friday, Jan. 7, when the Utes head to the Rio Tinto Best of Utah at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.
Utah will face BYU, Utah State and Southern Utah at 7 p.m. MT. Tickets are available here and the meet will also be televised on BYUtv.
2022 Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Utah - 48 (6 first-place votes)
2. UCLA - 41 (2)
3. California - 40
4. Arizona State - 30
5. Oregon State - 26
6. Arizona - 17
7. Stanford - 14
8. Washington - 8