#4 Utah Gymnastics Reaches 198-Mark, Gets Back On Track With Win Over #13 Oregon State
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 4 Utah Gymnastics became the fourth team in the nation to hit the 198-mark this season after downing No. 13 Oregon State 198.000-197.150 inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Friday. The Red Rocks' season high is the first time in nearly two years that Utah has reached the 198 barrier.
"Besides the setback on vault, we were pleased with how bars picked up the momentum and then balance beam continued it," said head coach Tom Farden. "I thought balance beam was really the highlight of the whole meet. It was a great floor set, too."
Farden continued on the season-high score, "As a coach, you are watching the other super elite teams already clicking. I've said this before that we literally see 9.90 after 9.90 after 9.90 in practice, so to see that transpire and mimic what they do in practice is what we are looking for."
Utah began the night slowly with a vault rotation that only saw one score come in over a 9.90. Leading the group was Lucy Stanhope, who matched a career-high 9.95 in the third position. Sage Thompson vaulted for the first time of her Ute career and led off the rotation with a 9.775, while Cammy Hall followed with a 9.85. After a fall came the routine after Stanhope, a last minute change in the lineup saw Alani Sabado compete her first routine of the season, which scored a 9.80. Grace McCallum wrapped up with a 9.85 to hand Utah a 49.225 to begin the night.
Even with the slow start, Utah still managed to lead Oregon State by 0.225 heading into bars. Amelie Morgan led off with a strong 9.85 before McCallum glided to a 9.95 to win a share of the uneven bars title. Abby Paulson returned to the bars lineup and scored a 9.85, while Sage Thompson matched a career-high 9.925 from the fourth position. Maile O'Keefe continued the strong rotation with a 9.90 and Cristal Isa's 9.875 rounded out a 49.500 for the group.
The separator and highlight of the meet was found on the balance beam as Utah had five gymnasts score above a 9.90 and had all six stick their dismounts. Morgan began the team with a 9.825, which went on to be dropped after each score built up the rest of the way. McCallum continued her strong night and posted a 9.90 in the second spot, while Adrienne Randall scored a season-high 9.925.
Paulson continued the strong start on beam and matched a season-high 9.95 in the fourth spot to set up the remaining Red Rocks nicely. Isa bounced back from her uncharacteristic mistake last week perfectly after she cruised to the first 10.0 of her career. Isa's 10.0 is the third of the season for Utah and the second on beam. Rounding out the Utes was O'Keefe, who scored a 9.95 after receiving a 10.0 from one judge.
Utah's monstrous 49.725 on beam tied its season high on the event, which is also the nation's best beam score of the season. The phenomenal rotation pushed Utah to a 148.450-147.725 lead over Oregon State and from there the floor team would take control and put an exclamation point on the evening.
Paulson closed out her excellent night tying her career-high 9.925 to start things off. Stanhope returned to the floor lineup with a new edition of her routine and posted a 9.875, while Jaedyn Rucker scored a 9.90. McCallum closed out her night in the all-around with a 9.925 to earn a share of the floor title with Paulson and Sydney Soloski, who anchored the team with a 9.925. O'Keefe posted a 9.875 in the fifth spot as well. With no score lower than a 9.875, Utah's floor team combined for a 49.550 to reach the 198-mark and take the win.
Utah will turn its attention to a Monday night matchup at Washington on President's Day (Feb. 21). The Utes and Huskies compete at 7 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.