As the globe stares down the reality of a crippling pandemic, the sports world halted overnight, leaving Utah gymnastics as one of countless teams to see their season cut short, postponed or altogether canceled. The situation as a whole is nothing short of tragic, but considering the Red Rocks historic season, the blow stings just a little more.
Stringing together 11 consecutive wins, including six victories over ranked teams, Tom Farden’s inaugural season as sole head coach was off to a fantastic start, with only one regular season meet remaining, a rematch against Utah State, before the postseason began.
Having edged out their biggest obstacle, UCLA 198.075-198.025, on February 23 on the road, the Utes were poised to clinch their first PAC-12 championship since 2017 had their success continued on March 21st at the Maverik Center.
Headlined by veteran talents Kim Tessen and Sydney Soloski, the team had seen steady improvement week after week, with their marquee event coming on the beam, where they ranked 2nd nationally, improving greatly from last year where it was an obvious weak point for the squad, ranking 9th. Part of the success on the beam can be attributed to junior Emile LeBlanc who had transferred this season from Maryland, where she hit a 9.900 high on the event in her sophomore year, including a 9.800 at the Athens NCAA Regional.
With Missy Reinstadtler and Kim Tessen the squads lone seniors, the Red Rocks bring back a bevy of talented athletes for the 2020-21 season; a season that could prove to be monumental for a program that has been seeking their elusive 11th national title for the last sixteen seasons.