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No. 5 Utah Red Rocks Defeat No. 14 California Golden Bears 197.025-196.750

Breanna Hughes on bars at California
Breanna Hughes on bars at California
Deena Lofgren

The No. 5 Utah Red Rocks (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) defeated the California Golden Bears (8-4, 3-3 Pac-12) at Haas Pavilion 197.025-196.750. The win keeps Utah perfect all-time against Cal is the fifth-straight score of 197 or better for the Red Rocks.

Behind three strong events from Breanna Hughes, Utah led during the first three events. Hughes won bars (9.90), vault (9.90), and floor (9.925). Utah led 49.300-49.175 after the first rotation thanks to a strong routine by Hughes and Kassandra Lopez (9.875). Utah tied their season-high 49.275 on vault (which included a 9.90 from Hughes and a career-high 9.875 from Baely Rowe) in the second rotation to take a 98.575-98.350 lead over Cal. Third up for the Red Rocks was floor. The Red Rocks scored a 49.250 behind a 9.925 from Hughes, who anchored the event. Utah held a slim 147.825-147.525 lead over Cal after three events.

After leading the entire meet, Utah was in trouble after Hughes suffered her first fall of the season in the final event of the night, beam, giving Cal their first lead. Three gymnasts were left for Utah on the event, with each needing to hit, and they all did. Strong scores from Kassandra Lopez (9.85), Rowe (9.875) and Maddy Stover (9.90) gave Utah the win over Cal.

"Those last three beam routines were just clutch," said Utah co-head coach Tom Farden. "I have full confidence that this team can finish a meet on the road on the balance beam and they proved it again today."

Despite the one mistake, Farden had a ton of praise for Hughes. "’Breezy’ [Breanna Hughes] is allowed to have a mistake. She’s been brilliant for us all season and she was brilliant on three events tonight," said Farden.

Utah was without senior Kailah Delaney for the meet, who sat out due to a knee injury, and sophomore Samantha Partyka was limited to just two events: bars and beam due to a sore leg. The gymnasts tasked with replacing them were freshmen MaKenna Merrell and Erica Muhaw. Rowe and Stover also participated for the first time this season on floor. Muhaw, in her first event to count routine, scored a 9.80 on vault. Merrell did well filling in on vault (9.825) and beam (9.80). She also had a 9.975 on floor. Stover (9.85) and Rowe (9.85) posted strong scores on the floor routine.

The No. 5 Red Rocks will again be away from home for the third-straight week when they travel to No. 4 Michigan for a meet on Friday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. MT.