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No. 4 Utah Hosts No. 15 California Today

Alex Stark

It is a showdown between undefeated, top 15 teams today at 1:30 p.m. MDT time when the No. 15 California Golden Bears (8-0, 3-0) come to the Huntsman Center to take on the No. 4 Utah Red Rocks (6-0, 1-0 Pac-12). Live television coverage of the meet is available on Pac-12 Network. If you are attending the meet, make sure to come early because it is “Character Day.” As part of “Character Day,” there will be popular children’s characters walking around the concourse, and the first 2,000 kids in attendance will receive their choice of a red Utah gymnastics light saber or white light-up crown. It is also the only opportunity this season to get autographs with the Utah gymnasts, which will happen after the meet.

The Red Rocks rank in the top 5 in each individual event. They are No. 4 on beam (49.306 season average), floor (49.244), and vault (49.238), and No. 5 on bars (49.288).

Freshman MyKayla Skinner is four-for-four on Pac-12 Gymnast and Freshman of the Week (stop me if you have heard that before). She is the only Pac-12 gymnast to do this more than once. Her four Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors ties a school record set last season by reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Sabrina Schwab. She has won 17 our of 20 possible events, including all four all-around, floor, and vault competitions. Skinner ranks in the top 10 in every event except bars: No. 2 in the all-around (39.625), No. 4 on beam (9.894) and floor (9.938), and No. 6 on vault (9.912). Senior Baely Rowe, who is second on the team with four wins, is No. 2 in the nation on beam (9.90) and No. 4 in the all-around (39.563). Other Utah winners this season are sophomore MaKenna Merrell (2) and junior Tiffani Lewis (1).

Cal is led by fifth-year head coach Justin Howell. Cal returns every routine from last season’s team that placed seventh at the NCAA Championship, their first appearance in 24 years. There will be showdowns on floor and beam. Like Skinner, Cal’s Toni-Ann Williams, a Jamaican National Team member since 2010, has gone four-for-four on floor competitions. Cal’s Desiree Palomares has three wins on beam this season. Cal’s season-high is 196.025.