In only their second-ever trip to Cedar City, Utah, the No. 7 Red Rocks (2-0) defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (1-2) 196.725-195.600. The crowd of 4,873 was at near capacity for Centrum Arena, and the front row of the crowd was nearly at floor-level. In addition to the hostile environment, Utah co-head coaches Megan Marsden and Tom Farden were forced to make line-up adjustments after three-event senior Kailah Delaney tweaked her knee during pre-meet warm-ups.
However, the Red Rocks did not let this get to them, as they came out strong on bars. The Red Rocks came into the meet No. 1 in the nation in bars (having scored a 49.225 in the event against BYU), and they showed why. Utah, after a great round on bars, led 49.475-48.925 after one rotation. Kassandra Lopez and Breanna Hughes posted back-to-back career high 9.925s on bars to lead the Red Rocks.
Hughes was not done. She went on to post a 9.90 on vault, winning her second event of the night. Utah had more than a one-point lead after two events with their strong start.
"We came out firing on bars and vault," said Farden. "On floor, we're still not sticking some landings and some of our beam routines were not as aggressive as we'd like, but overall it was a good step forward. We are moving in the right direction and handled the hostile environment like champions."
Hughes post her third career high in the meet with a 9.875 to lead off on floor. Kari Lee though had her second-straight fall on the event, and Tiffani Lewis also stumbled both on their finishing double back.
Beam brought highs and lows for the Red Rocks. Samantha Partyka (who posted a career-high) and Lee tied for first on the event with 9.90s.
"Samantha and Kari were poetry on the balance beam," praised Farden. "They floated up there."
After Lee's strong routine, Baely Rowe fell on her mount. SUU finished their night on the floor, which was their best event, putting pressure on sophomore Maddy Stover to close out beam for Utah. She responded with a 9.85 to give the Red Rocks the win.
Utah improved to 2-0 with the win and posted a season-high 196.725 in the process. Next, the Red Rocks will have their first home matinee meet in school history when they open Pac-12 play against Oregon State at 3 p.m. MT next Saturday at the Huntsman Center.