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Skinner’s Sweep Powers Utah Over BYU 196.900-194.175

Alex Stark

The No. 5 Utah Red Rocks (2-0) improved to 2-0 after defeating rival BYU (2-2) 196.900-194.175. The Red Rocks were led by a dominant performance from freshman MyKayla Skinner, who swept every event. Skinner posted a 9.950 on floor, a 9.900 on vault (where she tied with teammate MaKenna Merrell for the win), and 9.875s on bars and beam. The win gives Utah a 37 meet winning streak against the Cougars.

"We have a unique situation in that her teammates make MyKayla better and she makes them better," said Ute co-coach Tom Farden. "They have a great competitive spirit."

This healthy competition that makes the team better was clearly illustrated on vault where sophomore MaKenna Merrell "stuck her (vault) like a lawn dart," said Farden. "So MyKayla sees MaKenna's 9.90 score come up and she's thinking 'I can do that.' And she did!"

While the meet was excellent overall for Utah, the one area where Utah could improve was on bars to open the meet. The Red Rocks were excellent on bars against Michigan to open the season, so it could have just been some jitters due to this being the first road meet.

"We looked cautious and tentative and missed some handstands," said Farden about the team’s bar routine. "But we got better and better as the meet went on. We had a good vault set and were spectacular on floor and beam."

Utah did score a 49.175 on bars, which is certainly not a bad score. They had a lead after the first rotation after BYU scored a 48.700 on vault. The team though built off each gymnast and each event, getting better as the night wore on.

"We are showing signs of being an emotionally strong team, but also showing signs of a young team. Remember, we have just one senior," said Farden.

Utah put the meet out of reach on floor, where Sabrina Schwab and Skinner posted 9.900 and 9.950 back-to-back to close out a 49.275 floor set. This again showed how Skinner built off what her teammates did before her. Also during Utah’s floor routine, junior Tiffani Lewis pounded the cougar on the mat with both fists and flashed the U to end her routine. BYU, who was on beam, fell to a 47.875. Utah closed out the meet with a 49.200 beam set to seal the 196.900-194.175 win.

The Red Rocks will compete again in a quad-meet against Boise State, Denver, and Illinois-Chicago on Friday at the Huntsman Center.