University of Utah women's gymnastics sophomore Sydney Soloski performs on the balance beam in the PAC 12 conference championship at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)
University of Utah women's gymnastics sophomore Sydney Soloski performs on the balance beam in the PAC 12 conference championship at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The journey to postseason is finally here for NCAA women’s gymnastics. The No. 6 University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team will participate in one of the four regional competitions in hopes of making it to the NCAA Finals. The Red Rocks will compete in the first session of the Baton Rouge Regional on Friday, April 5 against Minnesota, BYU and Arkansas. The top two finishers of this session will then compete in the regional finals on Saturday, April 6 and will take on the top two finishers from the late session the day before. Competing in the late session is site host LSU, Auburn, Arizona and the winner of the George Washington-Lindenwood play-in meet.

 

Scouting the Utes

Regional qualifying score: 197.535

Highest score this season: 198.025

The Red Rocks finished the regular season ranked in the top five in three out of the four events. The team finished in second place on the vault and fifth place on both the floor and the bars. They also finished the season in 10th place on the beam to end the season.

At the individual level, several members of the team finished the regular season in the rankings as well.

Three Utes are ranked in the All-Around category heading into this week’s showdown. MyKayla Skinner, MaKenna Merrell-Giles and Kari Lee are the representatives for the Red Rocks. Skinner is ranked No. 3, Merrell-Giles is No. 11 and Lee is tied at No. 21.

Skinner is the lone Ute ranked on each the vault, bars and floor. She is ranked No. 2 on the vault and is tied for No. 6 on bars. On the floor, she is tied for No. 6 in the nation.

Lee is the lone Ute ranked on the beam and she tied for the 16th spot on the event.

At this week’s meet, the Red Rocks will compete in vault, bars, beam and floor in that order.

 

Scouting the No. 11 Golden Gophers

Regional qualifying score: 196.885

Highest score this season: 197.500

Minnesota finished in fourth at last week’s Big Ten Championship. They were led by Lexy Ramler who won the championship on the beam and was named the gymnast of the year by the conference. She also shares the title for the All-Around.

The Gophers’ head coach Jenny Hansen was named the conference coach of the year last week as well. This is not the first time she has gotten this award — she was also recognized as coach of the year in 2016.

At the regional competition Minnesota will compete on the beam, floor, vault and bars in that order.

 

Scouting BYU

Regional qualifying score: 196.570

Highest score this season: 197.000

BYU is the only opponent in this session that Utah has faced this season. Utah took down the Cougars in the 100th meeting between the two schools 197.250 to 196.475. Since then, BYU has had an up and down season.

Last week, the team took third at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship. The team scored a 195.750 in the loss to both Boise State and Southern Utah.

Even though the Cougars didn’t come away with the conference championship, they did leave with some hardware. Gymnast Shannon Evans was named MRGC Gymnast of the year. Evans was also named specialist of the year on the bars and co-speciality of the year on the floor.

Head coach Guard Young was named the conference’s coach of the year. This is the first time he has received the honor.

BYU’s rotation is as follows — floor, vault, bars, beam.

 

Scouting Arkansas

Regional qualifying score: 196.380

Highest score this season: 197.000

The Razorbacks are heading into regionals after finishing fifth in the SEC championship. The team took part in the first session for the conference and finished in first. Their scored lead to a fifth-place finish overall.

The team had three girls named to the All-SEC team. Kennedy Hambrick (All-Around), Amanda Elswick (vault) and Sarah Shaffer (bars).

The Razorbacks’ rotation at regionals is bars, beam, floor and vault in that order.

 

Fast Facts for Session 2:

LSU:

Regional qualifying score: 197.810
Highest score this season: 198.175
Utah was narrowly defeated by the Tigers 197.25-197.075 at the GymQuarters Invitational.

Auburn:

Regional qualifying score: 196.695
Highest score this season: 197.100
The Tigers finished in sixth place at the SEC championship last week.

Arizona State:

Regional qualifying score: 196.320
Highest score this season: 196.625
The Red Rocks took down Arizona State 197.375-195.825 earlier this season.

George Washington:

Regional qualifying score: 195.450
Highest score this season: 196.025
GW took second place at last week’s East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championship last weekend.

Lindenwood:

Regional qualifying score: 195.400
Highest score this season: 195.850
Lindenwood tied for first place in the Midwest Independent Conference championship last weekend.

 

It’s Honors Time

Last Tuesday, the Pac-12 Conference released their yearly Pac-12 All-Conference team and 13 Red Rocks were given conference honors.

All-Around First Team:

MyKayla Skinner
MaKenna Merrell-Giles

All-Around Second Team:

Kari Lee

Vault First Team:

Skinner
Merrell-Giles

Vault Second Team:

Macey Roberts
Lee

Bars First Team:

Skinner

Beam First Team:

Lee

Beam Second Team:

Skinner

Merrell-Giles

Floor First Team:

Skinner

Floor Second Team:

Merrell-Giles

At the national level, both Skinner and Merrell-Giles were named All-Americans on the season.

Where to Watch

The regional semifinals on Friday will be aired on SEC+. The first session will begin at 1 p.m. and the second is set to start at 6 p.m. Saturday’s competition will be live streamed on ESPN3 and SEC+.

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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