Star-Studded Night In Salt Lake City Sees #4 Utah Down #9 Minnesota 198.575-197.850
SALT LAKE CITY – Senior night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center was one to remember as the fourth-ranked Utah gymnasts posted the program's second-best score in history, downing the ninth-ranked Minnesota Gophers 198.575-197.850. After the night that saw three Perfect 10s, which included two from Maile O'Keefe, and a school-record bars performance, the team score of 198.575 is tied for the highest score in the NCAA this season.
The departure of Utah's four seniors from the Huntsman Center started the night off with emotions running high and carried on through senior Cammy Hall's vault after she stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.925. The routine that brought the senior to tears would lead the vault rotation, which also included a 9.90 from Lucy Stanhope and a 9.875 from senior Alexia Burch. With a 9.85 and 9.825 added from Jaedyn Rucker and Grace McCallum, respectively, the Utes found themselves tied 49.375-49.375 through the opening event.
The night took a turn for good after a bars set that became Utah's new school record, breaking the previous 49.700 record set in 1993 after combining for a 49.800 on Friday night. The rotation received back-to-back Perfect 10s by Sage Thompson and Maile O'Keefe, which is the first time in school history two 10.0s have been scored on bars in the same meet. McCallum ignited the rotation with a 9.975 in the second spot, while Cristal Isa anchored the set with a 9.95. Abby Paulson and Amelie Morgan each posted 9.875s to add to the school-record performance.
Holding a narrow 99.175-98.825 lead, the Utah beam team bounced back from last week and recorded its third 49.725 of the season, which is the highest beam score in the country. O'Keefe carried the perfection over from bars onto beam and posted her second 10.0 of the night, and third of the season. Her perfect score on beam is the second this year and she became the first Red Rock to record two 10s in the same meet since Theresa Kulikowski in 1999.
Morgan began the rotation with a 9.90 before McCallum collected a 9.95 to keep the momentum going. After a 9.875 from Paulson, Isa continued her strong evening with a 9.975. Returning to the competition floor for the first time since the season opener, Kara Eaker hopped in the lineup and competed like she hadn't missed a beat. Eaker posted a 9.90 before O'Keefe's 10.0 capped off the huge rotation.
Looking to end the night strong, the Red Rocks built scores through the lineup and walked away with a 49.675 on floor to produce their second 198 of the season. Paulson kicked the floor party off with a 9.875, while Jaylene Gilstrap performed a career-best 9.90. Utah then received back-to-back 9.925s from Rucker and McCallum, while O'Keefe closed out her night with a 9.95. Last, but not least, was senior Sydney Soloski, who earned another 9.975 to wrap up her career in the Huntsman Center.
O'Keefe and Thompson's first 10.0 on bars in their careers earned the duo a share of the event title, while O'Keefe's perfect score on beam became her fifth beam title of the season. Soloski won her fourth floor title of the season and McCallum took home a share of her fifth all-around title with a 39.675.
No. 4 Utah will turn its attention to the regular season finale at No. 5 LSU next Friday, March 11. The Utes and Tigers will compete at 6:30 p.m. MT at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.
- Utah posted a school-record 49.800 on bars, breaking the previous record set in 1993. The score ties for the highest event total across all four apparatuses in school history.
- Utah's 198.575 ranks second in program history. The school record is a 198.600, which was set in 2004. Utah's 198.575 also is tied for the fourth-best in NCAA history.
- Sage Thompson scored the first 10.0 of her career. It is the first time in school history that two freshmen have scored a 10.0 in the same season on bars with McCallum doing so at UCLA (2-24-22).
- Maile O'Keefe earned 10s on bars and beam, becoming the first Red Rock to score multiple 10s in the same meet since 1999.
- Thompson and O'Keefe's perfect scores on bars are the first back-to-back 10s on bars in school history and the first consecutive 10s on any event since 2015. It is just the fourth time ever that Utah has achieved two 10s on an event in the same meet.
- In the final 18 routines, Utah scored a 9.90 or better in 14 routines and counted just one 9.875 to the team total.