University of Utah women's gymnastics junior MyKayla Skinner performs on the balance beam in a dual meet vs. Penn State at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The University of Utah Red Rocks Gymnastics (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) team hits the road for the first time this season when they take on BYU (0-0) on Friday, Jan. 11 at the Marriott Center. The Red Rocks are coming off a dominating win against Penn State, and the Cougars will open up their 2019 season in this meet.

Scouting the Utes

Utah jumped up to the number three spot in the most recent national rankings. The team is also ranked as the second-best team in the nation on vault, bars and floor after opening weekend. The Red Rocks rank 10th in the nation on the beam.

University of Utah women’s gymnastics senior MaKenna Merrell-Giles performs on the uneven bars in a dual meet vs. Penn State at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Although the team is nationally ranked, several individual members are getting national recognition in their own light. On the vault, MyKayla Skinner is tied for fourth place, and MaKenna Merrell-Giles is tied for seventh place in national rankings. Skinner also represents Utah on the bars, where she is currently tied for first place, and true freshman Cristal Isa is tied for third, after an impressive performance on the bars.

While last week’s beam performance was not the strongest, Merrell-Giles is still tied for seventh place on the event nationally. On the floor event, both Skinner and Merrell-Giles are ranked as well. Skinner is tied for first place and Merrell-Giles is tied for eighth place.

Both Merrell-Giles and Skinner are also ranked in the “All Around” category. The tandem comes into Friday’s meet at sixth and second, respectively.

Both Skinner and Isa were named to Pac-12 honors this week, with Skinner earning Gymnast of the Week and Isa earning freshman of the week. This is Skinner’s 13th time being honored by the conference.

The Opponent

BYU is coming off a season to remember, earning their highest national ranking in program history. While the team as a whole did not make it to nationals last year, one athlete did. Shannon Hortman Evans was the lone Cougar to qualify. She competed on the bars where she scored a 9.9 at the regional competition.

University of Utah women’s gymnastics junior Missy Reinstadtler performs on the balance beam in a dual meet vs. Penn State at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

This season, BYU will compete against three opponents who are currently ranked nationally, opening against Utah and then competing against Cal and Arizona State.

Utah leads the all-time matchup 97-2, including victories in the past 39 straight meetings.   

Road trip time

This is the first of three road contests the team will face to start the 2019 campaign. After competing in Provo this weekend, the team will head to Corvallis to start Pac-12 competition against Oregon State on Jan. 19. The road trip will end the weekend of Jan 26. in Tempe against Arizona State.

The Red Rocks will then come back and compete at the Huntsman Center on Feb. 1, taking on Arizona in a Pac-12 face off.

How to watch

The meet will be televised on BYUtv. Live Utah commentary and scores will be available on utahutes.com

s.mora@dailyutahchronicle.com

@s_mora99

Sammy Mora
Sammy Mora is currently in her second year of writing for The Daily Utah Chronicle. Before writing here, Sammy was a four year staff member of her high school newspaper The Speaking Eagle where she reached the level of sports editor.

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