University of Utah women's gymnastics senior MaKenna Merrell-Giles performs on the uneven bars in the Red Rock preview at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

It was an eventful weekend for the No. 4 University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team. On Friday, they competed in their first quad of the regular season, against Louisiana State University (LSU), Missouri and Stanford. The team took second in the quad, falling to LSU, but rebounded on Monday when they took on Stanford in a dual meet in Palo Alto.

Friday’s meet was one for the ages as Utah lead after the first two rotations with big scores on the vault and the bars. Utah was the highest-scoring team on the vault with a score of a 49.375 and tied for the best score on the bars with a 49.275.

The team then showed off their Achilles’ heel during the third rotation on the beam, letting LSU take the lead heading into the final rotation. They could not recover during their floor set, losing to LSU 197.250-197.075. Missouri came in third, scoring 196.475. Rounding out the competition was Stanford who scored a 195.850.

The team was not going to let what had happened in St. Charles derail their season. On Monday, the team trekked back across the country to take on Stanford for the second time in five days.

The team started off hot on the bars with scores in the 9.8 range for the first five athletes. MyKayla Skinner started her fantastic day scoring a 9.95 on her first event of the night. Utah lead 49.375-48.725.

The high scores continued going into the vault, with Skinner hitting a near-perfect vault, scoring a 9.975 and both MaKenna Merrell-Giles and Kim Tessen scoring 9.900’s on their tries.

Heading on to the floor the Red Rocks’ lead had grown to 98.825-97.600.

The night’s high score on the floor came from Adrienne Randall, who put up a 9.900 on her routine, earning her the event title for the night.

Heading into the final rotation, Utah was still in the driver’s seat pending a breakdown on the beam, 148.075-146.425.

The rotation started off on the right foot with Kari Lee, who scored a 9.80 but things got bumpy as both Sydney Soloski and Alexia Burch scored below a 9.7. Randall, Merrell-Giles and Skinner were able to salvage the rotation with both Randall and Merrell-Giles scoring above a 9.80 and Skinner finishing things off with a 9.900.

The Red Rocks took down the Cardinal with a final score of 197.125-195.800.

Red Rock gymnasts won all of the individual events with Skinner winning the bars, beam and vault. Merrell-Giles took the title of All-Around with a score of a 39.500.

The Red Rocks will take on conference foe UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 23 in a redout meet. This meet will start a long line of strong competition the team will face heading into the start of the postseason.

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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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