With fans inside the Huntsman Center for the first time in nearly 12 months, the University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team put together another strong performance against the deceivingly talented Bears of Cal Berkeley.
A relatively rough start for the Red Rocks, as junior Cristal Isa had the lone stuck landing of the rotation, as Utah opened on the vault as the home team, however her 9.775 was victim of the dropped score due to a low start value, with no gymnast able to break in the 9.900 range.
Sophomore Abby Paulson and freshman Alani Sabado opened the bars with a pair of 9.800’s before senior Alexia Burch kicked things up with a 9.850. Sophomore Mailie O’Keefe amazed with a double Arabian dismount, earning a 9.875, an event high that was matched by Isa to close out the rotation.
Isa’s strong night continued on the beam, her final event of the evening with a quick triple back handspring and a flawless dismount that earned a 9.950 from the night’s particularly stingy judges. O’Keefe’s outstanding run on the beam continued with a team-high 9.975, maintaining her season-long streak of no beam routines to score under a 9.900.
Having made up .200 points on the beam, Utah took their first lead of the night after losing the first two rotations by .025 each, though that lead was in jeopardy after three straight routines netting 9.850 each, while Cal was in lock-step scoring a trio of 9.875’s on the beam before senior Kyana George secured a 9.925. Utah sophomore Jaedyn Rucker came through with a clutch 9.950 in the four spot to keep the surging Bears at bay. Senior anchor Sydney Soloski’s 9.925 was enough to clinch another conference victory to remain undefeated in PAC-12 play.
O’Keefe took home all-around honors after losing for the first time all season last week, as the Red Rocks scored a 197.375, edging out Cal by .250. Next up, Utah travels to Oregon State on March 5th for a 6:00 PM MT matchup against the 35th ranked Beavers.