SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The top beam team in the country did not look like it Friday night at the Huntsman Center.
But the Utah gymnastics team is so deep and so talented, they had more than enough to pull out another victory, posting season-high scores on bars and floor.
The #2-ranked Red Rocks easily defeated #13 Arizona State at the Huntsman Center, 197.400 to 196.100.
Maile O’Keefe turned in 9.90’s on both the beam and the floor. Jillian Hoffman (floor) and Cristal Isa (beam) tied for the high score in any event with 9.975’s.
“The ultimate takeaway from tonight is that we have to put together all four events,” said head coach Tom Farden. “Coming into warmups, I saw the vibe from the very beginning and as coaches we have to help them come in a little more prepared and be more intentional right out of the gates. I know when they are on and that was last weekend. I know when they have some quirks and that was this weekend.”
Utah started the night with solid production on vault, which was led by Alexia Burch and Lucy Stanhope’s that had gone on to earn a share of the event title. Utah combined for a 49.275 on vault to lead Arizona State, which posted a 49.225 on bars, through the first event.
The Utes looked to have some momentum working its way through the bars rotation after posting a season-high 49.425 as a team. Amelie Morgan set the tone early as she posted a season-high 9.875. In her first bar routine of the season, Burch swung her way to a career-high 9.90 to keep the hot start going. Sage Thompson followed with a 9.85 before McCallum collected a season-high 9.925 that would earn her the first uneven bars title of her career.
Working with a slim 98.700-98.400 lead over the Sun Devils, Utah opened beam with a 9.775 from Morgan, but struggled to find any sort of consistency throughout the next three gymnasts. Following a fall from Grace McCallum and a pair of scores in the 9.6-range, Isa had a huge bounce back routine and brought the crowd to their feet as she rolled in a career-high 9.975. The routine seemed to be the momentum changer the Red Rocks needed as O’Keefe stepped up next and worked her way to a 9.95 to wrap up an otherwise subpar rotation for Utah.
Utah held onto a 0.250 lead heading into the final rotation following the 49.025 on beam. Keeping the momentum, Hoffman led off the floor team with a career-high 9.975 in her first floor routine of the year. Hoffman’s routine, which went on to be the first event win of her career, sparked the rest of the lineup as the Utes finished with four floor scores of 9.90 or better, combining for a 49.675.
Stanhope posted a 9.875 in the second spot, while Rucker cruised to a 9.925. With the meet seemingly in control after Arizona State had its own issues on beam, O’Keefe and Sydney Soloski closed out the night in fashion with a pair of 9.95s.
Utah will be back in action next Saturday, Jan. 29, to host Stanford.