The #3 Red Rocks traveled to Pauley Pavilion to take on the #22 UCLA Bruins for a big PAC 12 showdown. The Utes have started the season 6-0 including a win over #2 seeded Oklahoma on January 14. UCLA enters this meet 1-3 with a win over Arizona on January 30th. The Utes are coming off a win over #19 Stanford last Saturday.
The Red Rocks began the meet on the bars and absolutely did not disappoint. The highlight came with a perfect 10 from Olympic star Grace McCallum. The Red Rocks also managed to score a few 9.900’s in that first rotation as well to set the mark for the evening. Overall you could tell the determination as it seemed every Red Rock was out to stick their landing and build a lead early. Both UCLA and Utah set team-high marks on their respective rotation with UCLA on the vault and Utah on the Bars. Utah jumped out to a 49.500 with UCLA scoring a 49.275.
For the second rotation, the Red Rocks headed to the vault and the Bruins moved to the bars. If you thought the Red Rocks were coming out on fire after the bars then they took the vault to a totally different level. Alexia Burch was the lowest score dropped due to a fall on the vault but it didn’t matter; Jillian Hoffman scored a 9.875, Cammy Hall with a 9.925, Lucy Stanhope with 9.950, Jaedyn Rucker with 9.900, and Grace McCallum with a 9.900. The Bruins are having one of their best performances of the season but it’s just not enough to compete tonight with the Red Rocks. The Red Rocks have extended their lead after the first two rotations 99.100-98.725.
For the third rotation, Utah took to the floor and UCLA on the beam. Grace McCallum continued her impressive performance on the night with a 9.950 and has been fantastic. The Utes had 4 gymnasts who scored a 9.900 or higher on that routine despite some difficult blind landings. After 3 rotations the Red Rocks once again extend their lead 148.700-148.050.
On the fourth and final rotation, Utah transitioned to the beam and UCLA took to the floor. Utah ranks #1 in the nation on the beam but had an uncharacteristically poor night on the beam as they had falls from Adrienne Randall and Grace McCallum (who has been their star on the night). Despite the falls, the Red Rocks had clutch performances from Amelie Morgan (9.900), Abby Paulson (9.900), Cristal Isa (9.925), and Maile O’ Keefe (9.975) who had to step up and deliver after Jordan Chiles scored a perfect 10 on the floor for the Bruins.
The Utes hung on to win the meet 197.750-197.650. The Red Rocks looked poised entering the fourth rotation to get a score higher than 198, which only 4 teams have accomplished this year. However, once the Utes had back-to-back falls on the beam the goal shifted to simply winning the meet after UCLA had their best overall performance of the season. Under incredible pressure Maile O’ Keefe had an incredible performance on the beam to secure the win. You absolutely have to love the fight from the Red Rocks; even when we had a miscue or a fall they responded well the rest of the routine; that fight will absolutely be needed come the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament. Solid win for the Red Rocks in a difficult conference matchup.
Next Up: Red Rocks @ California on Saturday, February 12 at 5 pm MT