The No. 4 Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team (7-0, 2-0 Pac-12) handed the previously undefeated No. 15 Cal team (8-1, 3-1 Pac-12) their first defeat of the 2017 season with a 196.450-195.725 win in a matinee meet yesterday. It is the lowest score on the season for the Red Rocks.
“I told our young team after the meet that I wanted them to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable, because that’s the kind of pressure they will face in every round of the postseason,” said co-head coach Tom Farden.
The meet did not start how the Red Rocks wanted. The Red Rocks started on vault and performed decently with a 49.275. Cal began the meet on bars, scoring a 48.875. Things however took a turn when Utah took to the bars. Both senior Baely Rowe and sophomore Kari Lee fell, leading to Utah scoring only a 48.425. On bars, only junior Tiffani Lewis (9.850) and freshman MyKayla Skinner (9.800) scored a 9.800 or better. Due to Utah’s mistakes, Cal was able to tie up the meet at 97.700 at the halfway mark.
The coach of bars, Farden remarked “I gave a stern lecture to the bar coach!”
The Red Rocks team that struggled out of the gate was a different team to close out the meet. Utah’s 49.275 on beam allowed the Red Rocks to take a 146.975-146.600. Cal scored a 48.900 on floor.
Utah would cap the meet with a season-high 49.475 on the floor routine, their highest score on any event this season. Skinner (9.950), Rowe (9.925), and Lewis (9.900), all topped 9.900 for the Red Rocks on floor. Cal closed out the meet with a 49.125 on beam, their best score of the night. The Red Rocks did enough though to close out the meet with a 196.450-195.725 win to stay unbeaten in 2017.
“This meet was a tale of two halves,” said Farden after the meet. “We gathered after bars and I told [the gymnasts] they needed to be aggressive and determined on the beam and finish the meet strong.”
Utah’s strong finish covered up for a problem they have had for much of the season, starting slow. The Red Rocks will get another shot to start the meet the way they want when they travel to Corvallis, Ore. to take on No. 14 Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 11.