On what was an off night for the No. 2 University of Utah gymnastics team on Friday, the Red Rocks came together and beat the No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils, 197.075–195.400.
“I was afraid of this meet,” said co-head coach Tom Farden. “I call them a trap meet. We cranked it out pretty high octave, just coursing through meet after meet and cranking it out. I didn’t know if they were going to overlook Arizona State who is much improved. Their coaches are doing a tremendous job down there.”
According to Kari Lee, Senior Missy Reinstadtler shocked the team with an impressive score of 9.775 on the vault.
“We definitely had some highs and lows of the meet,” Lee said. “But, I think we came together in the end, and we fought through everything. We’re going [to] go back in the gym and work on the little details and rest our body and get ready for next week.”
MyKayla Skinner, who won every event during the evening, finished as the all-around winner. She said the Red Rocks will use this meet as motivation to help them moving forward.
“Sometimes you can’t always be perfect,” Skinner said. “Sometimes it’s good to have those little mistakes to push you even harder for the next one, and I think it was definitely good for us to go out there and see if we can handle the pressure.”
MaKenna Merrell-Giles had her first fall of the season on beam, but she came back and redeemed herself by earning a score of 9.925 on floor.
“Falling just flat out stinks, there no other word for it, it just stinks,” Merrell-Giles said. “In a way, I’m kind of a little happy for it because now I’m more fired up and more ready to go, and I know that it’s definitely a learning experience.”
Along with the fall from Merrell-Giles on beam, Reinstadtler stepped out of bounds on her floor routine. The Red Rocks were without freshman Sydney Soloski on floor as she was unable to compete due to hitting her nose.
“We let our guard down a little bit, it’s a little frustrating,” Farden said. “But it’s my job to make sure we get back on and get back to our potential. We’ve got to go back to the basics. We’ve gone two meets in a row where we haven’t hit 24 routines, and we’re just mathematically giving ourselves a shot to score our potential.”
Even with the ups and downs the Red Rocks faced throughout the night, Merrell-Giles said for them to come back the way they did, it shows the strength they possess. Farden was proud of his team’s efforts.
“It’s hard not to be proud of this team, they’re fighters,” Farden said. “They could have closed it in, they could have closed shop after the second kid on beam wobbled all over the place. But they didn’t. It’s just really hard for me to think that this team doesn’t want to dig deep and reach its potential.”