It was senior night for the No. 5 Michigan gymnastics team (9-4, 4-1 Big Ten), but that did not stop the No. 6 Utah Red Rocks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) from defeating Michigan for the first time in Ann Arbor, Mich. since 2012 with a score of 197.525-197.050. This marks the sixth straight week the Red Rocks have scored better than 197.000.
"I told the team we are rounding into championship form," said co-head coach Tom Farden. "I liked the demeanor, which was light and fun. They're at their best when they are having fun and they had fun from start to finish tonight. Our team chemistry is at a high right now."
Utah started out strong on the bars, tying their season-high of 49.475, led by a 9.975 by senior Breanna Hughes, who had a huge night. Michigan started with a 49.275 on vault thanks to a 9.90 from Hughes. In the second rotation, Utah scored a 49.225 on vault. Michigan had a huge bar set, posting a 49.500, to give the Wolverines a 98.775-98.700 lead after two rotations. It was the first time all season the Red Rocks trailed at the halfway point.
The event that decided the meet was the balance beam. On their third rotation, Michigan suffered two falls on the beam, leading to a 48.800. Meanwhile, Utah posted a 49.375 on floor. After three rotations, the Red Rocks led UM 148.075-147.575. Michigan attempted to mount a comeback with 49.475 on floor, but the Red Rocks finished strong on the beam, posting a season-high 49.450 on the event. The beam set included back-to-back 9.90s from Kassandra Lopez and Baely Rowe and a 9.925 from Maddy Stover to close out the event, sealing the victory for the Red Rocks. Hughes finished the meet with a career-high 39.650 in the all-around.
"We had a nice bar set to start things out, finished strong on vault and had a beautiful floor," said Farden. "To close out the meet with that beam set was tremendous."
The win gave the Red Rocks their third straight victory over a top 15 opponent on the road (No. 12 Stanford, No. 14 California and No. 5 Michigan).
The final home meet, which is "senior night," is on Saturday, Mar. 12 in the Huntsman Center against No. 10 Georgia. It will be the final regular season home meet for seniors Hughes, Lopez and Kailah Delaney. Utah will also host an NCAA regional on Apr. 2.