It was a battle for the No. 4 University of Utah gymnastics team during the NCAA National Championships on Friday, April 14 after a shaky start to the meet.
Competing against No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Denver, No. 11 Washington and No. 12 Oregon State, the Red Rocks fell behind their opponents after the first two events. Utah rallied back on beam and floor, and it finished the first semifinals in third to advance to the Super Six.
In all-around, freshman MyKayla Skinner came out on top with a total of 39.6125 points. Senior Baely Rowe finished all-around in fifth with a score of 39.4, and sophomore MaKenna Merrell tied for seventh with a score 39.3875.
Utah had a rough start when Rowe scored a 9.765 on her vault. Although sophomore Macey Roberts followed with a 9.8, the Red Rocks had a hard time scoring anything higher until junior Tiffani Lewis finished her performance with a 9.85. Skinner saved the event with a 9.9 as the anchor.
After a bye in the second rotation, the Red Rocks headed over to bars where Skinner started the event with a solid 9.8375 performance. Despite her high ankle sprain, sophomore Kari Lee performed on bars, but after struggling with her landing she earned a 9.6625, and her score was dropped. It wasn’t enough for the Red Rocks as they finished the third rotation in fifth place.
Junior Maddy Stover had a strong leadoff on beam in the next rotation as she scored a 9.85, and she set the tone for the rest of the event. Sophomore Shannon McNatt also scored a 9.85 following a 9.9 from Merrell and a 9.9125 from Skinner. Those scores put the Red Rocks ahead of Washington, Denver and Oregon State.
The Red Rocks had their best rotation of the night on floor when Merrell scored a 9.9 followed by a 9.925 by Rowe. Skinner dominated the event with a 9.9625, securing her team’s spot in the top three by the end of the meet.
Up next for the Red Rocks, they will advance to the Super Six along with Oklahoma, UCLA and the top three teams from the second semifinals. The Super Six will take place on Saturday, April 15 and is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT.