The No. 5 Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team (10-2, 5-1 Pac-12) will compete for the Pac-12 Championship today at 7:00 p.m. MDT at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. Utah drew the No. 2 seed for the meet, meaning they compete in the evening session along with reigning Pac-12 Champion No. 1 seed UCLA, No. 3 seed Oregon State, and No. 4 seed Washington. UCLA (No. 3) and Oregon State (No. 10) are both ranked in the top 10 nationally. The team with the highest score regardless of session will be named the 2017 Pac-12 Champion. The highest score from the early session came from Stanford with a 196.625.
As the No. 2 seed, Utah will start on bars, followed by beam, floor, and ending on vault. UCLA will start on vault and follow the events in the order of the home team. Oregon State will start on floor, while Washington will start on beam.
Utah is the only team to finish in the top three at each Pac-12 Championship to date. Utah has won the Pac-12 Championship twice (in 2014 and 2015) and finished second twice (in 2012 and 2016). Oregon State (2013) and UCLA (2012 and 2016) are the only other teams to win the Pac-12 Championship since the conference expanded. Utah has also won or shared the Pac-12 regular-season title the last four years, including this year. Utah’s 198.150 (2015) and 197.925 (2014) are the two highest scores at Pac-12 Championship meet. Former Utah gymnasts Corrie Lothrop (2012), Tory Wilson (2014), Georgia Dabritz (2015) and Breanna Hughes (2016) were all Pac-12 all-around champions.
Utah holds a winning record against every other Pac-12 team with an all-time record of 348-61-5 (85%) against Pac-12 teams. Utah's individual series record against each Pac-12 team is as follows: Arizona (59-0-0), Arizona State (72-16-1), California (18-1-0), Oregon State (65-10-1), Stanford (29-6-0), UCLA (52-28-1), and Washington (53-0-2).
According to sophomore Kari Lee, who made her return to the all-around last week against Georgia for the first time since her Achilles’ injury last season, said “We are just going to go out there and try to be average. We don’t want to try to hard.” Utah’s “average” is top 5 in the nation. “If you try to hard you are not going to do good. If you don’t try enough, you’re not going to do good. Meeting in the middle of that average is the perfect amount of good and not good,” said Lee.
Reigning Pac-12 floor champion Tiffani Lewis, echoed Lee’s sentiment, “I am just hoping to go in and do what we have done all season. We have had bumps in the road, but I feel like this season we have been pretty success on what we have done. We have had a really good mentality going into this season. I feel really confident about everyone and what we can do.”