#4 Utah Gymnastics Closes Out Home Schedule Against #9 Minnesota Friday Night
No. 4 Utah Gymnastics is set to close out the 2022 home slate with a top-10 matchup, welcoming No. 9 Minnesota to the Jon M. Huntsman Center this Friday, March 4. Utah and Minnesota will compete at 7 p.m. MT with introductions set to begin at 6:45 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City. Utah will celebrate and honor its seniors prior to the meet. The top-10 battle will be live streamed for free on Pac-12 Insider, as well as broadcast live on Utah's flagship radio ESPN 700 by Mike Lageschulte and Kyndal (Robarts) Pond. Tickets for the final home meet can be purchased here.
FOR THE FANS
Utah's final home meet of the season will be senior night as the team's seniors will be recognized prior to the competition during introductions. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats at 6:45 p.m. MT to help send off the seniors one last time in the Huntsman Center. There will be light sticks given away for fans in attendance and members of the MUSS will receive free light-up glasses. The meet will also be the annual Ford Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear to throw onto the floor post-meet to donate to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The Ford Kids Zone will also be open with balloon artists, face painters and a poster making section. Trading cards of three gymnasts will also be in the concourse.
IN THE RANKINGS
Utah remained fourth in the national rankings this week following week eight of competition. The Red Rocks are ranked second on beam and floor, fourth on vault, and fifth on bars heading into their final home meet. Leading the Utes individually is freshman Grace McCallum, who is ranked in the top-20 on all four events. McCallum is No. 4 in the all-around and on floor, while she is No. 13 on vault and beam, and No. 16 on bars.
Along with McCallum on beam, Utah has five gymnasts ranked in the top-25 as Maile O'Keefe is second in the nation, Cristal Isa is No. 10, Abby Paulson is No. 17, and Amelie Morgan is No. 22. Sydney Soloski is ranked third on floor, Lucy Stanhope is sixth on vault, Jaedyn Rucker is No. 13 on vault, and Sage Thompson is No. 22 on bars.
BY THE NUMBERS
• Maile O'Keefe has scored a 9.925 or better in seven of nine beam routines this year, which includes a 9.95 or better in five competitions.
• Sage Thompson is coming off her third 9.925 of the season on bars and has not scored below a 9.85 since the season opener. Thompson has the team's best season average on bars with a 9.875 this season.
• Grace McCallum has scored a 9.90 or better in nine of her last 12 routines.
• Utah posted a 197.950 at Washington, which is the team's best road score of the season.
• Utah reached the 198-mark for the first time this season against Oregon State, which was also the first time since Feb. 23, 2020.
• Utah has three Minnesotans within the program as head coach Tom Farden hails from Dayton, Minn., while Abby Paulson is from Anoka, Minn., and Grace McCallum joined the Utes from Isanti, Minn.
• Utah has had 10 of the 16 gymnasts who have competed at least one routine this season earn an event title.
• The floor lineup has seen 11 gymnasts compete at least one routine this season.
• Grace McCallum posted a career-best 39.775 in the all-around at Washington, which is the fifth best score in program history. McCallum is the first Ute to score a 39.775 or better in the all-around since 2017.
• Utah has hit 202-216 routines this season. Gymnasts who have hit every routine are Maile O'Keefe (26-26), Amelie Morgan (18-18), Lucy Stanhope (14-14), Sage Thompson (12-12), Jillian Hoffman (9-9), Sydney Soloski (9-9), Kara Eaker (2-2), Jaylene Gilstrap (2-2) and Alani Sabado (1-1).
• Individual event winners this season are McCallum (14), O'Keefe (6), Cristal Isa (5), Alexia Burch (3), Soloski (3), Jaedyn Rucker (3), Stanhope (2), Thompson (2), Hoffman (1), and Abby Paulson (1).
• Pac-12 weekly award winners this season are: Gymnast of the Week: Isa (Jan. 11), O'Keefe (Feb. 1); Specialist of the Week: Rucker (Jan. 11, Feb. 15), Thompson (Jan. 18), Hoffman (Jan. 25), Isa (Feb. 1, Feb. 22), O'Keefe (Feb. 8); Freshman of the Week: Morgan (Jan. 11), McCallum (Jan. 18); and Coaches Choice: Hoffman (Jan. 11, Feb. 15).
Utah leads the all-time series with Minnesota 31-1 with the last regular season meeting coming during the 2008 season in Salt Lake City. Utah is 13-0 on its home floor over the Gophers and the sole loss in the series history occurred in 2000 at a neutral site competition in Tempe, Ariz. Most recently, Utah and Minnesota met at the 2019 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional where Utah came away with a pair of wins. The Utes and Gophers advanced to the regional final by means of a 196.800 and 196.300, respectively. Utah then picked up its second win over Minnesota in the final 197.250-196.900.
Head Coach: Jenny Hansen
2022 Ranking: 9
2021 Final Ranking: 8
Notes: Minnesota is coming off a program-record 198.025 last weekend, which included Perfect 10s on beam from Lexy Ramler and floor from Mya Hooten … Minnesota is led by three-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Lexy Ramler, who also won the prestigious 2021 AAI Award … Minnesota is ranked No. 3 on floor, No. 7 on vault, and No. 11 on bars … Ramler is No. 2 in the nation in the all-around, No. 5 on bars and beam, and Ona Loper is No. 12 in the all-around and No. 18 on floor.
Utah Gymnastics will head across the country for its regular season finale as the team is set to take on No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge, La. The Red Rocks and Tigers will square off in the top-five matchup on Friday, March 11 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 6:30 p.m. MT. The meet will be streamed on SEC+.