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Red Rocks Struggle On Beam, Rebound on Floor in Win Over Sun Devils

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Gymnastics Championship Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Red Rocks gymnastics continued their winning ways Friday night after toppling Arizona State 197.400 to 196.100 despite numerous issues on the beam, an event they ranked first nationally heading into the event.

The evening kicked off with a pair of 9.800s from junior Jillian Hoffman and Cammy Hall before a deafening silence fell over the Huntsman Center when Hall collapsed in front of the scorer’s table before being attended to by head coach Tom Farden and a handful of trainers and assistants. She was later seen celebrating with the team by the end of the rotation walking on her own accord without a limp. The Red Rocks finished the rotation with 9.900s from sophomore Lucy Stanhope and senior Alexia Burch, who hit the only stuck routine of the first rotation.

Freshman Amelie Morgan opened the second rotation with a 9.875 and the night’s second stuck landing before Burch closed out her night with another 9.900 and the Red Rocks’ second consecutive stick. Freshman and Utah’s sole all-around competitor, Grace McCallum was the highlight of the event scoring a 9.925 off a routine that flows effortlessly and continuously with aerial bar transitions that highlight her Olympic-level experience.

McCallum’s night continued on the beam where she fell off the apparatus shortly after mounting, ultimately costing her all-around honors, and continuing a trend of falls that started with senior Cristal Isa and junior Mailie O’Keefe at the end of the second rotation. Issues would continue to plague the Red Rocks when a massive balance check saved what was nearly another fall for senior Adrienne Randall as she was coming out of a double back handspring. Junior Abbey Paulson failed to correct course for the squad as she fell victim to the second straight balance check that should have been a fall, but it was Isa who turned things around with a flawless routine that had the crowd on their feet to celebrate her 9.975 with one judge scoring a perfect 10.000. O’Keefe closed out the third rotation with an equally impressive 9.950 that barely qualified for a stuck landing after a late step back that was not counted by the judges.

The Red Rocks capitalized on their upward momentum swing as they moved to the floor in the final rotation with junior Jillian Hoffman making her season debut in the event and posting a 9.975 that had Farden himself pumping his fists from the other side of the gym as soon as she stuck her landing. In the end, Utah’s floor roster covered for the mistakes made on the beam with a 9.925 from junior Jaedyn Rucker, and 9.950s from O’Keefe and senior Sydney Soloski, helping Utah close out the event with a 197.400, topping ASU’s 196.100.

Fans are invited to return to the Huntsman Center next Saturday, January 29th when the team hosts Stanford for an afternoon conference matchup that kicks off at 2:00 PM MT.