#4 Utah Posts Season-High Road Score, Downs Washington 197.950-197.275 in Seattle
SEATTLE – The fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team handled the quick turnaround as good as they could have hoped for as the team downed Washington 197.950-197.275 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Monday night. The Utes built momentum throughout the evening and big performances on floor and beam capped off a meet just shy of the team's season-high score from Friday night.
"We wanted the athletes to come out here and just let their gymnastics happen and have some fun," said head coach Tom Farden. "We went in with that kind of attitude and I think it helped us."
Farden continued on the competition, "On bars, we wish we could take back a couple of dismounts, but the handstands were good and good shapes. On vault, we had a really strong finish. An uncharacteristic second spot from Cammy and stepping back like that, but the last two vaults were absolute knockdowns. On floor, we mixed up the lineups and were really pleased. The first half of beam was outstanding and just felt like maybe the last three pressed to much for those perfect scores. Nice team score on the road and overall pleased."
Utah began the evening with consecutive 9.90s from freshmen Amelie Morgan and Grace McCallum on bars, which would end up as Utah's highest scores of the rotation. Abby Paulson followed the pair of Utes with a 9.80, while Sage Thompson posted a 9.85 in the fourth spot. Rounding out the first rotation was Maile O'Keefe and Cristal Isa, who scored a 9.825 and 9.75, respectively.
Leading 49.350-49.325 after bars, Utah rotated to vault and after a leadoff 9.775 from Thomspon, the Utes had an uncharacteristic mistake from Cammy Hall in the second spot and had to ensure no falls ensued in the coming routines to drop her score. Lucy Stanhope got the group back in order with a 9.875 and Jaedyn Rucker dropped in a 9.85. Alexia Burch stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 to gain some energy within the squad and record a season-high 9.95. McCallum followed lead and stuck her vault in the anchor spot to post a career-best 9.95.
The 49.400 on vault would have Utah sitting with a one-tenth lead over the Huskies at the halfway point. Paulson led off the floor team for the third-straight meet and scored a 9.90, which is her fourth consecutive score of 9.90 or better on the event. Seeing her season debut was Jaylene Gilstrap, who matched a career-best 9.875, while Adrienne Randall continued the momentum with another 9.90.
Stanhope stumbled on her first pass, but the remaining two Red Rocks in McCallum and Sydney Soloski backed up their teammate and posted huge scores to close out the event. McCallum continued her strong night with a 9.95, while Soloski tied a career-best 9.975 for the second time this season. Utah combined for a 49.600 on floor to extend the lead 148.350-147.850 over Washington.
The Utah beam team couldn't have started any better after the first three routines all scored 9.95 or better. Morgan completed yet another excellent night as the leadoff and posted a career-best 9.95 to get the event started. McCallum closed out her night in the all-around with a career-best 9.975 on beam for her fourth 9.90 or better on the night and third 9.95 or better. McCallum totaled a career-high 39.775 to win the all-around.
Continuing the hot start on beam was Randall, who posted another season high with a 9.95. Paulson recorded a 9.875 in the fourth spot and Isa followed with a 9.85. Already with the win clinched, O'Keefe rounded out her night in the anchor spot, but thanks to the five gymnasts in front of her excelling, she did not need to have the score counted.
McCallum won the all-around, vault, and beam titles, while finishing second on bars and floor. Soloski took home her third-straight floor title. Burch also earned a share of the vault title. Behind her career night in the all-around, McCallum improved to a team-best 12 titles with the beam win being her first of her career on the event.
Utah Gymnastics will have its Pac-12 finale this Friday, Feb. 25, when the team competes at Arizona to close out the stretch of road meets in the month of February. The fourth road competition in five meets will be held in Tucson, Ariz., with competition set to begin at 6:30 p.m. MT at the McKale Center.