Today marks the last home meet of the 2017 season for the Utah gymnastics team when they host Stanford tonight at 7:00 p.m. MST. It will be the last time that senior Baely Rowe will compete in the Huntsman Center. The lone senior on the 2017 Utah Red Rocks team, Rowe hails from Federal Way, Wash. Rowe has been a fixture on the Utah gymnastics team, competing off and on in the all-around since her sophomore season in 2015, the final year under former head coach Greg Marsden. The Senior Night with the Stars meet will honor the team co-captain, All-American before competition starts.
“I haven’t tried to really think about it. This week I’ve been practicing like I practice every week going into each meet. Like the coaches have said, don’t go out there and try to be perfect on that one night because it’s not going to work. I am just going to try to approach it like any other week and enjoy it,” said Rowe.
“I feel like she’s been through this watching others, so I think she’s pretty well ready to know that it’s best to not worry too much about outcome and stay in the moment with her team. With a lot of her responsibility on the competitive floor this year, I think that will be natural. I don’t think she will leave her teammates hanging on Senior Night. I think that will keep her busy and allow her to do her gymnastics the way she does,” said Marsden.
The meet will not just be emotional for Rowe but for the rest of the team as well. It will be their last home meet until January 2018 and will be the last time competing with a team leader in Rowe. The coaches will try to help the team manage their emotions by sectioning off the emotional intros from the competitive portion of the meet.
“We talk about enjoying the moment in terms of the intros and the farewell intro to Baely. As soon as we go over and the girls get out of their warm ups and they head to the student section to do Red Rocks with the student section that’s kind of their cue that we’re done with their tears, we’re done with boo hoo Bae and it’s time to compete. We will try to put a marker on that with the team, so they can manage their emotions,” said Marsden.
“Man, it’s bittersweet. This season went by really fast. Every season goes by really fast, but this season in particular just flew by,” said Kari Lee.
“She’s the lone senior. It’s kind of weird because in the last couple of years we have had three or four seniors. This year it is only her. When the coaches talk about she only has so many practices left it is so surreal,” said Lee. “I think she’s handled it. She knew this was coming up. We all know that college goes by really fast. We have all been behind her every step of the way.”
Rowe will leave the Red Rocks with a great legacy. She has been a fixture of the Utah beam lineup since she was a freshman. She has been an all-arounder since her sophomore season. She has posted a career-best 39.625 in the all-around this season. She ranks in the top 20 in the nation in balance beam (No. 6), all-around (No. 12), and floor (No. 17).
“She’s been one of our greats,” said Marsden. “I’m just really proud of her that she’s been able in her career to just keep rising, and I think this is her best year yet.”
“I’ve had a great three, three-and-a-half years here, and I don’t really have a lot more to prove I just want to go out there and have fun and enjoy it with the team and enjoy the time I have left,” said Rowe.
While this will be the final meet where Rowe competes as a member of the Red Rocks team at the Huntsman Center, she will still be involved as a student coach with the team next year. She has the fifth year available and is the lone senior, so she was an easy choice for the coaches to fill in that role that has been previously held by Georgia Dabritz in 2016 and Breanna Hughes this season. It will allow her to help the team and work towards her future goals in marketing.
This will be the last time at the Huntsman Center that Rowe will moonwalk to Michael Jackson on the balance beam, her best event. That has been a great moment since she introduced it to her routine last season, and it will be emotional to see her do it for the final time at home.