A nationally televised matchup between the #3 University of Utah Red Rocks and the #2 Oklahoma Sooners delivered all the thrills and drama one would expect between two powerhouse programs.
Starting the afternoon on bars as the visiting opponent, the Red Rocks quickly jumped out to a 49.275-49.150 lead over the #2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners thanks to a trio of 8.875’s from sophomore Maile O’Keefe, junior Cristal Isa and senior Emelie LeBlanc. The hot start saw all six Red Rock competitors score a 9.800 or better, with freshman Alain Sabado falling victim to the dropped score with a team-low 9.800.
As Utah moved to the vault in their second rotation, clean landings became problematic, with senior Alexia Burch failing to stick her landing, asIsa, O’Keefe, junior Cammy Hall, and sophomore Jaedyn Rucker were able to salvage stuck landings with big steps coming off the platform. O’Keefe grabbed the high score with a 9.850, helping her all-around score improve to 19.725. Oklahoma’s solid performance on bars, led by freshman Audrey Davis’ meet-high 9.900 in the anchor position helped the Sooners take a 98.450-98.275 lead at the midway point.
Freshman Jaylene Gilstrap made her debut for Utah, notching a 9.850 on the floor, an event the Red Rocks currently rank 1st in nationally. Sophomore Abby Paulson was able to secure a 9.825 despite a big step coming out of her second tumbling pass, helping to keep within striking distance of the Sooners, who were nabbing impressive scores in the beam. Anchor Sydney Soloski needed a perfect score to tie the meet, and came a few dragged feet short, scoring a 9.900 behind a beautiful double layout in her first pass.
Utah trailed by a tenth of a point heading into the final rotation, tallying 147.575, a fact that added more pressure after LeBlanc mustered a 9.125 in a mistake-riddled routine to kick-off the beam. A clutch routine by senior Alexia Burch took some pressure off, as she scored a 9.800, however any momentum that could have been built off that performance was killed after Isa scored a questionable 9.625, making a comeback a long-shot as the Sooners began raking in 9.850+ scores on the floor. The tail end of the beam lineup mounted an impressive effort to salvage the event, with O’Keefe delivering a near perfect routine, scoring a 9.950, helping the sophomore clinch all-around honors, along with a 9.875 from junior Adrienne Randall, however the Red Rocks would ultimately fall short in Norman, Oklahoma.
Finishing the afternoon with a 196.550, behind Oklahoma’s 197.025, the Red Rocks posted their worst score since January 3rd, 2020, a meet where they edged out the visiting Kentucky Wildcats with a season-low 196.425. With the PAC-12 schedule still yet to be determined, it remains unclear if or when Utah will be able to rebound.