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Utah Gymnastics Beats Stanford 197.150-195.875

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Deena Lofgren, University of Utah file photo

The Red Rocks appear to be rounding into form really nicely, as they beat Pac-12 rival, and No.12 ranked Stanford by a score of 197.150-195.875. Utah has now won 2 straight meets since their last routine loss to UCLA a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, records don't really matter in gymnastics, it's all about the score, which is why Utah actually jumped in the rankings after the UCLA loss. The 197.150 score ties the Red Rocks high for the season, which they also got against Arizona.

Utah has three regular meets remaining, next at Cal, before jumping into post season and the Pac-12 Championships. Utah will wrap up the regular season at Michigan and at home against SEC rival Georgia.

For the complete meet breakdown, see the press release below:

STANFORD, Calif. -
With their beam coach back in the hotel sick with the flu, the No. 5 Utah gymnasts gave Megan Marsden a get-well gift with a red-hot finish on beam that finished off No. 12 Stanford 197.150-195.875.

"On the bus coming to the meet, I told the team that Megan was feeling under the weather and to go out and win one for her. Obviously, they delivered," said co-coach Tom Farden. "This team has a competitive spirit and a chip on their shoulder. They have what it takes to block things out and finish meets."

Without question, the young Utes stole the limelight at Stanford's senior night in Maples Pavilion. Leaving the crowd of 1,288 (a season high for the Cardinal) no question about the better team on this day was sophomore Maddy Stover, who unleashed a 9.975 on beam as Utah's final competitor.

It was the fourth-straight 197 for the Utes--their second on the road--and the 197.150 tied their season high. Utah entered the weekend as one of just three teams in the country to score a 197 on the road. The Utes improved to 6-1 overall with the win and stayed atop the Pac-12 standings at 4-1 after their first win ever at Stanford, where they are now 1-2 all time. Stanford dropped to 9-5 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-12.

"It's obviously a tough place to compete since we'd never won here," said Farden, "We started a little tentative on bars, then had a great vault set and just kept building. Our floor was outstanding and we were lights out on beam."

The meet began in a dead heat, with both teams putting up 49.150 scores on bars and vault, respectively. Sabrina Schwab and Breanna Hughes had Utah's best bar scores with 9.85s, but that was just a taste of what was to come.

Utah may have been tentative in its opening event, the bars, but Stanford encountered much bigger problems on its turn. Two Cardinal gymnasts fell off bars, which combined with a season-high 49.275 on vault by Utah, dropped Stanford sixth tenths of a point behind after two rotations. Hughes contributed a career-tying 9.90 (her fourth this season) and Delaney scored a 9.875.

Utah's lead ballooned to nearly a full point (147.800-146.925) after the third rotation, where Hughes and Samantha Partyka closed out a 49.40 floor set with matching 9.90s. Needing simply to stay on board the beam to win the meet, the Utes instead gave their ailing beam coach reason to smile with a season-best 49.30.

While Stover's 9.975 stole the show, her teammates had clinched the win before she even hopped on the four-inch plank. Kassandra Lopez also looked flawless in a 9.85 routine, as did Kailah Delaney, who turned in a season-best 9.90.

In addition to Stover's winning beam routine, Hughes captured the all-around for the third time this season with a 39.400. Both she and Partyka (39.175) beat the nation's No. 1 ranked all-arounder, Elizabeth Price of Stanford.

Utah has two more road meets--and two more "senior nights" against top 15 teams in the next two weeks-- with No. 15 California next Saturday and No. 3 Michigan the following Friday.