Since falling to Oklahoma just two weeks ago, the University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team has dominated their in-conference competition. After a 197.075-195.650 tilt against Arizona last week, the Red Rocks were back home to face the Washington Huskies in a Saturday night match-up that allowed the home team to flex their prowess in a statement that will certainly catch the attention of the rest of the PAC-12.
Strong performances on the vault from junior Cammy Hall (8.850), senior Alexia Burch (9.925), and sophomore Jaedyn Rucker (9.525), combined with multiple falls from the Huskies on the bars resulted in a massive 49.225 to 48.100 lead for the Red Rocks.
Sophomore Abby Paulson kicked off the second rotation with a career high 9.850 on the bars, followed by an impressive routine from freshman Alana Sabado that resulted in a shockingly low 9.775, a sentiment that carried over throughout the event with ESPN’s commentary staff after a series of well-executed Red Rocks routines failed to break the 9.900 threshold until anchor Cristal Isa (junior) finally notched a team-high 9.925, ending the second rotation with a 49.300, opening a 1.575 lead over the visiting Huskies.
Burch’s 9.900 quickly erased senior Emilie LeBlanc’s fall and ultimate 9.250 from memory. Utah’s top all-arounder and top five gymnast on the balance beam, Mailie O’Keefe, however, was flawless, scoring the first perfect 10.000 on the season, and keeping her streak of 9.900+ scores on the beam alive. Sophomore Abby Paulson, whose routine was equally clean, earned a 9.950, with one judge finding a deduction to keep back-to-back perfect scores out of reach. The dominating performance in the third rotation netted an additional 49.575, extending the Red Rocks lead to a whopping 2.500 points.
Immediately after anchoring the beam with a 9.950, Paulson turned around to open the final rotation on the floor, earning a 9.900, giving Utah all the momentum necessary to close out one of their most complete meets in recent memory, though only senior anchor Sydney Soloski was able to break over a 9.900, with a commanding 9.975, likely finding a small deduction on a slight leg separation on her first tumbling pass that featured a powerful double layout.
The home team would ultimately pull out a season high 197.475, crushing Washington’s 193.300 effort, with O’Keefe running away with the all-around behind a 39.525.
The Red Rocks will next hit the mat on February 6th at Arizona State. The event will be broadcast on the PAC-12 Network at 1:00 PM MT.