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Gymnastics: Delaney’s Senior Night Redemption Stirs Emotion At Regionals

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Christopher Ayers

The days are starting to count down as the Utah gymnastics team gears towards the biggest meet of the year in Fort Worth, Texas — the NCAA Championships. It will be a big test for this young Red Rocks team, which has the confidence and upbeat demeanor to compete with the best teams in the country.

A lot of eyes will be watching the younger gymnasts like Sabrina Schwab, Samantha Partyka and Maddy Stover compete in their respected events, but attention will also be directed towards the senior group, who will be donning their Utah leotards for the last time in their careers.

The road to the end for each member of the senior class started a couple weeks ago against Georgia at Senior Night. Even though the road has been bumpy with a few rough patches along the way, Breanna Hughes, Kassandra Lopez and Kailah Delaney all stepped up when they were needed most.

This was especially the case for Delaney at Regionals over the weekend, who had an emotional night all around competing in her last meet at home in Salt Lake City.

“It was just a great way to end that part of my gymnastics career with competing in the Huntsman Center,” Delaney said. “I was really happy with it, and I kind of made it my senior night.”

Co-head coach Megan Marsden also wasn’t hesitant to mention that Delaney’s routines on the beam and vault were her favorites of the night.

“In terms of individual performances that was the most gratifying,” Marsden said. “There were a few things that made me very happy but [Delaney’s] night was special.”

Delaney’s routines created emotion throughout the team for good reason. During Senior Night in March, Delaney made a few mistakes that put a damper on the night that was supposed to be all about herself and her fellow seniors. Even though it created disappointment, it stirred her competitive drive to do better in the postseason.

“Obviously, Senior Night didn’t go the way I wanted with the fall on beam,” Delaney said. “It was great to have my last meet at the Huntsman Center be Regionals, and to have that great of a meet.”

Delaney’s redemption from the final meet of the regular season happened on Saturday, and Marsden was happy to see her learn from her mistake on the beam, knowing that Senior Night placed a lot of pressure on her shoulders to deliver.

“To me, Regionals for [Delaney] was more her Senior Night,” Marsden said. “I’m so glad because I know on our real senior night it was disappointing for her because of the fall on beam. She’s been here a long time and watched a lot of seniors rise to the occasion on senior night. It has to be somewhat pretty nerve-wracking for the senior girls when it’s the night all about them.”

Her routine and finish on the vault also sent the team and fans into a frenzy, developing chills within Marsden, as she was excited for her senior moment to happen at the best time.

“I’m so glad she had an opportunity to try again,” Marsden said. “Nobody was happier than me when she stayed up on that balance beam, and then be the last competitor on vault, which was the last event, and do a brilliant vault, get a nice 9.90 score but even have one judge give her a perfect fixed score with a 9.95, it just gave me goose bumps.”

With Delaney’s redeeming moment out of the way at the Huntsman, Marsden and the rest of the team are now looking to seeing her continue her stride at Nationals.

If her performance on those two events continue to deliver, Delaney will be a massive factor in the team’s chase for a Super Six spot.

[email protected]

@chad_marquez

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