University of Utah women's gymnastics senior Kari Lee performs on the floor 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)

 

It was a meet to remember, as the No. 3 University of Utah Red Rock Gymnastics team defeated rival Brigham Young University with a score of 197.250 to 196.485 in the hundredth meeting between the two schools. The win marks the 40th consecutive victory for the Red Rocks.

The team took to the bars for their first rotation. Junior gymnast Kim Tessen started her routine strong, but a fall on the dismount tanked her score, and she ended with a 9.100. True freshman Hunter Dula was the next gymnast on the bars and scored a solid 9.750 in her first collegiate routine.

University of Utah women’s gymnastics freshman Adrienne Randall 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 momentum saw a turn for the better when Senior MaKenna Merrell-Giles’ routine earned a 9.825, followed by Missy Reinstadtler and true freshman Cristal Isa. Both gymnasts scored 9.800 on the event, and MyKayla Skinner rounded out the event with a 9.875. Utah headed into the second rotation 49.150 to 49.050, up by only a tenth of a point.

The Utes dominated on the vault, with all but one gymnast scoring higher than their BYU counterparts. Kari Lee hit a beautiful vault to start the event, earning a 9.900 in the process. Isa followed up with a 9.675 in her first collegiate vault.

Senior Macey Roberts scored a career-high 9.900 on her first event of the night to keep the scores trending upward. Sophomore Alexia Burch also scored a career-high with a score of a 9.875. Rounding out the event was Merrell-Giles (9.900) and Skinner (9.975), both proving why they are nationally ranked in the event.

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)

At the end of the second rotation, Utah had gained some distance and led 98.650 to 98.125.

BYU wasn’t going to go down without a fight, however, and it showed in the third rotation. The Cougars roared out of the gate and, with an upset on the line, showed out on the beam, with the lowest score being a 9.800.

While the Cougs were dominating the beam, Utah took to the floor. Opening things up for the team was Roberts, who showed her skills on the floor with a routine that earned a score of 9.850. True freshman Adrienne Randall may have stumbled a little bit on her first floor routine as a Red Rock, but she showed major potential for the team. Her score of a 9.625 was the lowest on the event for the team.

Lee had a strong performance on the floor which showed with her score of 9.875. Sophomore Sydney Soloski showed fans yet again why she is such a powerful gymnast when she scored 9.825 on her lone event of the night.

University of Utah women’s gymnastics sophomore Sydney Soloski performs on the floor 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)

Finishing strong for the team was Merrell-Giles and Skinner who pulled out all the stops in their routines earning scores of 9.900 and 9.950, respectively.

The teams would head into the final rotation with half a point between them, as the Utes led 148.050 to 147.450.

The Red Rocks took to the beam in their last event of the night. The beam was the Red Rocks’ toughest challenge last week.

Starting things off was Burch who had a strong performance. Even though she fell on the dismount, she still scored a 9.775 on the event. Reinstadtler was next to the event, and while she did not fall off the apparatus like last week, she did bobble once during the event, and still scored a 9.825. Lee and Merrell-Giles gave the team some breathing room with both gymnasts scoring 9.850 on the event.

Randall clinched the win for the Red Rocks with a beautiful performance that scored a 9.875, which was the highest score on the event for the team all night. Competition was capped off by a performance by Skinner, who’s routine earned a 9.800.

Skinner won the All-Around category with a total score of 39.600. Merrell-Giles placed second in the same category, with a score of 39.475. Skinner won all events at the meet except the balance beam.

The team will be back on the road next week opening up Pac-12 competition against Oregon State on Saturday, Jan. 19.

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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