The No. 7 Utah Red Rocks gymnasts team (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) lost for the first time this season on the road at the No. 5 UCLA Bruins (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12) in Los Angeles, Calif., 197.100-197.075. The top 10 meet drew a crowd of 7,546 fans to Pauley Pavilion.
Utah posted a 49.200 on bars to open the meet. The Bruins posted a 49.075 on vault to open the meet. UCLA scored a 49.175 on bars, and the Red Rocks posted a 49.100 on the vault. On floor, Utah posted a 49.425, while the Bruins posted a 49.250 on beam. The Red Rocks held 147.725-147.500 lead heading into the final event. Utah posted a season-high 49.350 on beam, but it was not enough to hold off UCLA, who is No. 1 in the nation on floor. The Bruins 49.600 on floor was just enough to overtake Utah for the win. It all came down to the final gymnast for each team. Utah's Maddie Stover posted a 9.900 on beam for Utah, which meant UCLA's Sadiqua Bynum needed a 9.950 or better to get the win, and she got a 9.950, giving the Bruins a 0.025 win. Four of the five floor routines that UCLA counted were 9.925 or better. With a 39.450, Utah's Samantha Partyka got her first career win in the all-around.
"It was an awesome meet for our young team going against a very talented UCLA team on its home floor," said Utah coach Tom Farden. "We did well on bars and vault to start the meet and were just outstanding down the stretch on floor and beam. We coaches are so proud of how our gymnasts responded in this environment against one of the elite teams in the country. It shows we have the confidence to go head-to-head against anyone anywhere."
While a loss is disappointing, posting a score above 197.000 on the road is impressive. It is the second consecutive meet this season where the Red Rocks have scored above a 197.000 (they had a 197.150 in a win at home against Arizona on Monday). The team is young this year, and it took them a few meets to hit their stride, but they appear to be firing on all cylinders now. Utah returns home to take on Washington at the Huntsman Center on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. MT.