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Red Rocks Stumble at NCAA Semi-Finals

Deena Lofgren, Utah Athletics

Utah gymnastics ended their season Friday afternoon after finishing last in the national championships semi-finals with a final score of 196.725, their lowest score of the year.

The Red Rocks opened the competition on the floor, scoring a 49.3125 and securing an early, though narrow lead, edging out Michigan by 0.0125 points through the first rotation. MyKayla Skinner clinched the top score, netting a 9.9375 to give Utah the slight edge.

As UCLA moved to the bars in the second rotation a trio of 9.900 scores from Margzetta Frazier, Rechelle Dennis and Madison Kocian moved the Bruins into the top spot. MaKenna Merrell-Giles and Skinner kept the high marks coming, posting scores of 9.9000 and 9.9250 respectively, but it wasn’t enough to fend off the Tigers and Wolverines, as the Utes slipped to fourth place at the end of the second rotation with a total score of 98.5375, a tenth of a point outside of the crucial second place spot. Utah would fail to break out of the fourth spot as the afternoon progressed.

Skinner again claimed the highest score for the Red Rocks on the bars, earning a 9.9125, but no other Ute managed to score higher than a 9.8750 in the event, leaving the Utah two tenths of a point outside of the second-place spot with beam, the team’s weakest event, still on the horizon.

In the final rotation, Utah failed to pull through with Adrienne Randall, Alexia Burch, Skinner and Merrell-Giles all posting sub 9.8000 scores, including a devastating 9.0875 from Giles who fell mid-way through her final routine as a member of the Red Rocks.

UCLA and LSU will advance to the final round of the NCAA championship, posting scores of 197.6750 and 197.5125 with the top two teams of the second session (which includes Oklahoma, Denver, Georgia and Oregon State) also advancing to the four-team final.