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Utah Gymnastics Wins the Salt Lake Regional

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Utah Wins 2016 Salt Lake Regional
Utah Wins 2016 Salt Lake Regional
Alex Stark

The No. 5 Utah Red Rocks won the Salt Lake Regional with a score of 197.125 to head to nationals for a record 41st straight time. Joining Utah at nationals is UCLA (196.375).

Utah and Southern Utah were on bye to open the meet. Washington claimed the lead after one event with a 49.200 on floor. UCLA was in second with a 49.050 beam set (led by a 9.900 by Danusia Francis). Utah State posted a 48.750 on vault, which was good for third, and Illinois came in fourth with a 48.675 on bars.

In the second rotation, UCLA and Utah State were on bye. Utah came out strong on the bars, posting a 49.350. Every Utah gymnast scored at least a 9.800, and Breanna Hughes (9.925) and Tiffani Lewis (9.900) both scored a 9.900 or better. Washington posted a 49.000 on vault, to give them a two event score of 98.200. Illinois posted a 48.875 on beam, to give them a 97.550 after two events. In their first event of the night, Southern Utah posted a 48.925 on floor.

Illinois and Washington were on bye in the third rotation. Utah posted a strong beam set (49.225), with every gymnast scoring at least a 9.800. Kailah Delaney, Kassandra Lopez, Samantha Partyka, and Baely Rowe all posted a 9.850. UCLA, led by Sadiqua Bynum (9.950) and Francis (9.900), posted a 49.400 on floor. Southern Utah posted a 48.850 on vault, and Utah State scored a 48.650 on bars.

After the third rotation, each team had completed two events. Utah led 98.575, followed by UCLA (98.450), Washington (98.200), Southern Utah (97.775), Illinois (97.550), and Utah State (97.400).

In the fourth rotation, Utah and Southern Utah were on bye. Led by a 9.900 from Madison Preston, UCLA scored a 49.125 on vault. Illinois scored a 49.275 on floor. They were led by strong scores from Lizzy Leduc (9.950) and Erin Buchanan (9.900). Bars did not go well for Washington, with the Huskies only managing a 48.525. Utah State scored a 48.675 on beam. After three events, UCLA led with a 147.575, followed by Illinois (146.825), Washington (146.725), and Utah State (146.075).

In the fifth rotation, UCLA and Utah State were on bye. Utah took to the floor, scoring a 49.300, led by a 9.925 from Hughes. After three events, the Red Rocks had a total of 147.875. Washington capped their night with a 49.100 on beam, led by a 9.900 from Allison Northey. The Huskies posted a 195.825 at the meet. After the strong floor set, Illinois did not finish strong on vault, posting a 48.525, to give them a 195.350 for the meet. Southern Utah scored a 48.825 on bars.

In the final rotation of the night, Illinois and Washington were on bye. The Red Rocks capped their night on vault with a score of 49.250 (Delaney led the Red Rocks with a 9.900), to give Utah a final score of a 197.125. UCLA struggled on the bars (having to count a 9.375), only scoring a 48.800, but Christine Peng-Peng Lee won the event with a 9.950. UCLA finished second in the meet with a 96.375. Southern Utah had two falls on beam, leading to a 48.350, to finish with a 194.950. Utah State finished with a 48.950 on floor, giving the Aggies a 195.025.

The final scores were Utah (197.125), UCLA (196.375), Washington (195.825), Illinois (195.350), Utah State (195.025), and Southern Utah (194.950). Utah and UCLA will advance to nationals.

Delaney (vault) and Hughes (all-around) were individual event winners. Utah hit 24-of-24 routines on the night, and no Utah gymnast scored lower than a 9.800 in any event.

Utah's 197.125 tied them for third with Alabama. Only Oklahoma (197.575) and LSU (197.300) outscored the Red Rocks in Regionals. Joining Utah and UCLA at Nationals are No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 12 Nebraska, No. 4 Alabama, and No. 9 California in the NCAA Session II, and in NCAA Session I are No. 2 Florida, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 6 Auburn. No. 18Stanford, No. 3 LSU, and No. 9 Georgia.

Nationals will be held in Fort Worth, Texas on Apr. 15-16. Utah will compete in the second session, which will take place on Apr. 15 at 7 p.m. CT/6 p.m. MT.

Post-meet audio

Co-head coach Tom Farden

Breanna Hughes, Baely Rowe, Samantha Partyka, and Kailah Delaney