University of Utah senior Kari Lee performed her floor routine in an NCAA Women's Gymnastics meet vs. UCLA at Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday February 23, 2019. (Photo by Curtis Lin | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

In their final regular season meet, the No. 6 University of Utah Red Rocks Gymnastics team fell to the No. 8 University of Georgia GymDogs in Athens. The team lost 197.525-197.450 in the showdown.

Georgia led during the whole meet, but the Red Rocks made a strong push at the end to tighten up the score.

The Red Rocks opened up the meet on the bars with Kari Lee. Lee scored a 9.775 on the event, with deductions coming from a step on her dismount. Next up for the Red Rocks was Hunter Dula who was back in the lineup after missing a meet two weeks ago. Dula scored a 9.825 on her lone event of the season. Kim Tessen scored a 9.850 on the event. Scoring the first 9.900 of the night was MaKenna Merrell-Giles. Missy Reinstadtler was next with a 9.850. Rounding out the lineup was MyKayla Skinner who started off her fantastic night with a 9.900 on the bars.

At the end of the first rotation, Utah trailed Georgia 49.325-49.475.

The Red Rocks then moved over to the vault where steps on landings seemed to be an issue for the team. Four Red Rocks scored 9.850’s on the event during the meet (Lee, Macey Roberts, Merrell-Giles and Tessen). Alexia Burch scored a 9.800 on the event and Skinner scored a 9.925 coming out of the fifth spot in the lineup.

The Utes still trailed heading into the third rotation but the GymDogs’ lead had shrunk 98.650-98.750.

The Red Rocks then took to the floor for their third rotation event. Roberts opened it up with a routine that scored a 9.850. Lee kept the 9.800 train rolling when she scored one of her own on the floor. Adrienne Randall was slated to compete in the floor lineup but was subbed out due to an apparent wrist injury, and so Burch replaced her. Although she started her routine strong, Burch stepped out of bounds on her final pass and scored a 9.625. Sydney Soloski got the team back on track when she scored a 9.850. Merrell-Giles and Skinner were back to doing what they do best when they scored 9.9 and 9.975, respectively. According to those in attendance, people on Georgia’s scorer table were in shock that Skinner did not get a ten on her floor routine.

Heading into the final rotation the Red Rocks remained behind, 148.025-148.175.

For the first few weeks of competition, the beam was the team’s weak spot, but in the last few meets the Red Rocks showed up and showed out on the event, and this match was no exception.

In her final event of the night, Lee had a strong leadoff performance that scored a 9.900. Things went a little bit south after that when Burch scored a 9.775. From there, the scores only got better. Soloski and Randall scored in the high 9.8 range (9.825 and 9.875 respectively). Merrell-Giles led the team on the event with a score of a 9.950 and a beautiful routine from beginning to end. Her score set a personal season high on the event. Closing out competition was Skinner, who scored a 9.875.

The competition’s beam score of 49.425 was the best the team has scored on the event all season, but it wasn’t enough. They fell to Georgia by an overall score of 197.525-197.450.

Even though the team did not come out on top, Skinner and Merrell-Giles finished in first and second place respectively in the all-around category.

Next up, the team will start their journey to the post season when they head to the Pac-12 Championships. The team will compete in the 6 p.m. session at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, UT on Sat. March 23.

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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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