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Utah Gymnasts Repeat As Pac-12 Champions

Mar 19, 2022

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – No. 4 Utah Gymnastics hit the 198-mark for the third time this season en route to claiming its second-straight Pac-12 Championship on Saturday night at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Although a sluggish start, the Utes bounced back on the next three events and downed their regular season co-champions in California (197.425), Oregon State (197.250), and Arizona State (196.675).
"Not picture perfect, but definitely felt like after vault we threw that in the rear view mirror and put our blinders on and went forward from there," said head coach Tom Farden. "You could see we just picked up steam from there. It was really well done after that start and we are pleased to come away with the win."
Utah picked up four individual titles on Saturday night with Grace McCallum leading the way as she became a two-time Pac-12 champion after her freshman season. McCallum won the uneven bars title with her second 10.0 of the season, while she earned a share of the floor title after posting a 9.95. She was also the all-around runner-up with a 39.675. Alexia Burch earned the status of a Pac-12 vault champion after earning a 9.925, while Abby Paulson repeated as the Pac-12 beam champion with a meet-high 9.975.
Maile O'Keefe competed on vault for just the second time this season and opened the night with a 9.80. Although a solid start, the effort wasn't sustained and a setback in the second position caused the remaining four gymnasts needing a hit if Utah were to go without counting a fall to begin the meet.
Lucy Stanhope followed with a 9.85 in the third position, while Jaedyn Rucker poured in a 9.825. Alexia Burch fired off Utah's best vault of the rotation as she scored a 9.925 before Grace McCallum would wrap up the first event with a 9.875. The uneasy start for the Red Rocks put the squad in third place from the 49.275 on vault.
The momentum of the meet changed for good after Amelie Morgan led off the bars set with a 9.90, which was followed by a meet-winning 10.0 from Grace McCallum. The bars lineup followed through with a 9.925 from Cristal Isa and a 9.90 from Sage Thompson, while O'Keefe posted a 9.825 to round out the scoring five. The 49.550 on bars pushed the Utes ahead of the session, narrowly leading by a quarter tenth with a score of 98.825.
Morgan put an exclamation point on her night and continued to do what she has done all season by posting a 9.925 in the leadoff spot on beam. Her consistency moved through the lineup as McCallum and Burch scored a 9.85 and 9.80, respectively. The moment of the rotation came in the fourth spot as Abby Paulson recorded a near-perfect routine and recorded a 9.975. Isa and O'Keefe impressed as well and rounded out the rotation with consecutive 9.95s. The big performance on beam combined for a 49.650 and pushed the team to a 148.475 with the second place team (California) holding a 148.200.
Closing out the night on floor with hopes of its second-straight Pac-12 Championship, Utah kicked off the rotation with a 9.80 from Paulson and a 9.875 from Jaylene Gilstrap. Rucker ended her night with a 9.85 before the final three Red Rocks went 9.925 or better. O'Keefe and Sydney Soloski posted back-to-back 9.925s and McCallum ended her night in the all-around with a 9.95 to lead the set.
The 49.525 on floor cemented a 198.000 at the Pac-12 Championships for Utah, which is the third 198-plus of the season for the Utes. The title marks the second-straight conference championship, fifth Pac-12 Championship, and eighth overall with Utah's three consecutive regular season titles.
The 2022 NCAA Selection Show will be this Tuesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. MT on Utah will find out its postseason destination for the NCAA Regionals during the selection show, as well as the opponents that will compete at the same site. The four regional locations this year are Seattle, Wash., Auburn, Ala., Raleigh, N.C., and Norman, Okla.