TEMPE, Ariz. (ABC4 Sports) – In their first meet without injured star Grace McCallum, the 4th-ranked Utah gymanstics team suffered its first Pac-12 loss of the year, falling to Arizona State Monday afternoon, 197.550-197.500.
After a lackluster rotation on vault in the second rotation, Utah could not recover from the deficit despite a heroic effort on beam to try and complete the comeback.
Utah started the meet strong after posting a 49.500 on bars. Amelie Morgan started the set with a 9.825, while Makenna Smith began her day in the all-around with a 9.85. From there, the Utes posted four 9.90 scores or better to push out to an early lead over the Sun Devils. Abby Brenner and Sage Thompson recorded consecutive 9.925s, which were both season highs for the duo, before Maile O’Keefe and Cristal Isa each added 9.90s.
The Red Rocks couldn’t find any rhythm on vault and saw the lead disappear at the halfway point as Arizona State took a four-tenth lead. Jaylene Gilstrap kicked off the rotation with a 9.725 and Brenner added a 9.80 the following routine. Smith posted a 9.75 in the third spot, but a fall from Jaedeyn Rucker forced Utah to count both scores in the 9.7s with two routines remaining. Jillian Hoffman and Thompson each contributed 9.825s after the fall to limit the damage.
Brenner and Gilstrap turned things around on floor with back-to-back 9.90s, but the Utes couldn’t build up from there. Smith scored a 9.875, while Abby Paulson and Rucker added 9.85s. Rounding out the lineup was Kara Eaker, who scored a 9.825. Utah’s 49.375 on floor cut into the lead slightly, but still trailed 148.150-147.800 heading into the final rotation.
The Utah beam team gave it all they could to try and complete the comeback, counting no score lower than a 9.90 in the final rotation. Morgan started the set with a 9.80 that went on to be dropped with Smith kick starting the group after her 9.925 performance. Paulson and Eaker posted consecutive 9.975s to continue to chip away at the lead, and Isa added a 9.90 in the fifth spot. O’Keefe wrapped up the competition with a 9.925, but the Utes came up just short as the Sun Devils’ final routine gave the home team a 0.50 win over Utah.
Utah Gymnastics returns to the Jon M. Huntsman Center this Friday, Feb. 24, to host the sixth-ranked California Golden Bears.