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Utah gymnastics advances to Super Six

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The sophomore sensation does it again. Lead by MyKayla Skinner, the Utah Red Rocks are on their way to the Super Six.

Skinner won her second NCAA individual title in two years, tied for first place on the vault with a 9.9375, and won her second NCAA all-around silver with a 39.725.

Utah has their floor set to thank. That’s how the team clinched third place and a trip to their 21st Super Six. The team’s 49.4625 floor score—the second best of the night—brought its total tally to 197.1375.

Their big night on the floor opened with a 9.875 from senior Tiffani Lewis, featured a 9.9125 from Sydney Soloski in the middle of the lineup and a 9.9375 from Skinner at the end. Locked in a tight battle with California after an off night on the beam, the Utes pulled away on floor for the final spread.

A routine with an error may have extended Utah’s season another day. After MaKenna Merrell-Giles fell from the No. 2 position on beam, Soloski—competing for just her fourth time on the event—scored a 9.750. Kari Lee was next up and she looked like she would suffer the same fate as Merrell-Giles, only to stay on board for a 9.725. Had Lee fallen, even the 9.8635 from Reinstadtler and Skinner’s 9.925 would not have been enough.

“That was sheer willpower by Kari Lee to stay on that beam after a technical error on an aerial and she did not give up another tenth after that,” said a relieved Farden. “After Kari kept us in it, Missy set up MyKayla brilliantly and MyKayla was perfect.

Skinner looked perfect all night, earning first-team All-America status in the all-around, vault, beam and floor and making the All-America second team on bars. In addition to tying first on vault and placing second overall in the all-around (across both sessions), Skinner was second in the second semifinal on beam (9.925), tied for third on floor (9.9375) and tied for fifth on bars (9.925). Making the NCAA All-America team for the first time were Reinstadlter in the all-around (39.400) and Soloski on floor (9.9125)—both second teamers. Reinstadlter’s all-around score tied for eighth in the session, while Soloski’s floor score placed her seventh in the evening semifinal.

Utah opened the meet by scoring a 49.2250 on the vault in a set highlighted by Skinner’s golden 9.9375 and 9.85s from Lee and Merrell-Giles. The Utes then took their first bye of the night. When they returned, all six teams had competed on at least one event for these one-rotation scores: Florida 49.475, Oklahoma 49.3750, Washington 49.2625, Utah 49.2250, California 48.9875 and Kentucky 48.6000.

Out of their first bye, the Utes turned in a nice 49.3375 bar set that featured a 9.925 by Skinner and a 9.875 from Merrell-Giles. It was enough to move the Utes up one place and into third at the midway point: Oklahoma 98.9625, Florida 98.7875, Utah 98.5625, California 98.2125, Washington 98.0625 and Kentucky 97.5875.

“We were about as good as we can be on both bars and beam,” said Farden, “But we pressed too much on vault and floor. The good news is we never gave up.”

After Utah’s struggles on beam, their lead over Cal became extremely tenuous with the three-event standings looking like this: Oklahoma 148.4375, Florida 148.1000, Utah 147.6750, California 147.5000, Washington 147.0625 and Kentucky 146.8125.