With post season just around the corner, the No. 4 Utah Red Rocks capped their regular season off in style, defeating No. 20 Georgia GymDogs 198.150-196.350. This marks the first time Utah gymnastics has topped 198 in a meet since the 2015 Pac-12 Championship. In front of a crowd of 15,208, Utah again secured the highest average attendance for all women’s sports. Before the meet, Utah honored their three seniors: Tiffani Lewis, Erica Muhaw (who graduated in three years), and Maddy Stover. It was an emotional night for all three of them and their teammates.
Utah started the meet on vault where they counted 9.875s from Kari Lee, Missy Reinstadtler, MyKayla Skinner, and Kim Tessen, and they were led by Lewis with a 9.900. Utah posted a 49.400 to hold the early lead. Georgia scored a 49.150 on bars, led by a 9.875 from Emily Schild.
In the second rotation, Utah headed to the bars while Georgia was on vault. Lewis led Utah off with a 9.850. MaKenna Merrell-Giles had an excellent routine, posting a 9.925. Reinstadtler posted a 9.850, and Lee scored a 9.900. Skinner anchored the event with a 9.925, scoring a 10.0 from one judge (and only a 9.85 from the other). Skinner and Merrell-Giles tied for the win on the event. Utah scored a 49.450 on bars to sit at 98.850 halfway through the meet. Georgia was led on vault by Sydney Snead with a 9.925, who won the event. Georgia scored a 49.275 on the event to post a 98.425 after the first two events.
On the third event of the night, Utah competed on balance beam and Georgia was on floor. Utah posted a 49.525 anchored by 9.950 from Skinner, who won the event and 9.925s from Merrell-Giles and Reinstadtler. Georgia struggled mightily on floor, only scoring a 48.800. Four Georgia gymnasts scored a 9.725 or lower with one fall. Sabrina Vega did post a 9.900 to lead the GymDogs on the event. After three events, Utah led the meet 148.375-147.225.
For the fourth and final rotation, Utah finished on floor and Georgia on beam. While the meet was well in hand at this point, Utah did not let up, posting their highest event score of the evening. Lewis got the event off with a bang, scoring a 9.975. Lee followed that with a 9.900. Freshman Sydney Soloski scored a 9.925. Merrell-Giles brought the house down with a perfect 10.0 to seal the 198 for Utah. Skinner capped off the night with a 9.975. With a 39.725, Skinner won the all-around, she also won balance beam and tied Merrell-Giles for the win on bars. Merrell-Giles also won floor and tied her career-high in the all-around with a 39.675.
“Missy Reinstadtler (who opened the meet for Utah on vault) set the tone for the night,” said co-head coach Tom Farden. “She’s been sticking that vault in practice and she let one fly tonight. I could tell from the demeanor when they (the Utes) walked in the arena that they were dialed in.”
This meet came at the perfect time to give Utah momentum heading into the Pac-12 Championship next Saturday in Tucson, Ariz. It comes after two meets where the Red Rocks struggled and shows the resiliency of this team to not quit.