Battle of the Best as No. 3 Utah Gymnastics Set to Take on No. 3 UCLA

University+of+Utah+women%27s+gymnastics+junior+Sydney+Soloski+performs+on+the+Floor+in+a+dual+meet+vs.+Oregon+State+University+at+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+15%2C+2020.+%28Photo+by+Abu+Asib+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah women's gymnastics junior Sydney Soloski performs on the Floor in a dual meet vs. Oregon State University at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor

 

The biggest meet of the season is upon the No. 3 University of Utah gymnastics team.

The team will make the journey to Los Angeles to take on in-conference foe No. 3 UCLA. This meet is one that fans circle every season, as the two teams combined hold seven of the last eight conference championship titles. The Red Rocks last won at Pauley Pavilion in the 2018 season. This meet will be the first time that these two teams will compete this season. The next time will be at the Pac-12 Championship in March.

 

Scouting No. 3 Red Rocks

Record: 8-0, 3-0 Pac-12

Last Meet: W vs Oregon State, 197.100-196.275

The Red Rocks are headed to Pauley after hosting Oregon State last week. The Red Rocks had a strong lead heading into the final rotation but after two falls on the floor, the team received their lowest score since mid-January. 

There was still some good that came from that meet. Freshman Maile O’Keefe was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the second time this season. This title comes after O’Keefe was nearly perfect on her beam routine, scoring a 9.975. This routine comes the week after she scored a 9.950 on the same event versus Cal.

In the event rankings, the Utes come into this week’s competition ranked No. 6 on the bars and vault. After a less-than-stellar performance on the floor last week, the Red Rocks fell to No. 12 on that event. Beam has proven to be the Red Rocks’ best event, as they are ranked No. 4 in the nation.

At the individual level, Kim Tessen is ranked No. 6 on the bars and No. 13 on the vault. Cristal Isa is No. 10 on the beam and O’Keefe cracked the Top 25 on the beam, coming it at No. 23.

 

Scouting No. 3 UCLA

Record: 8-2, 3-1 Pac-12

Last Meet: W vs Arizona State, 197.200-195.475

The Bruins are coming off a road win versus Arizona State. The Bruins were led by Felicia Hano, who won her first all-around title last week. Kyla Ross was named the conference’s Specialist of the Week after her performance, which included a pair of 9.950s on the bars and beam. Both scores earned her the event titles. Nia Dennis won the vault with her score of 9.900, and Gracie Kramer won the floor title with a score of 9.950. 

UCLA is No. 5 on the vault. They are the No. 2 team in the nation on the bars and No. 1 on the floor. They are ranked the lowest on the beam, coming in at No. 22.

At the individual level, Ross is ranked on all the events. She is No. 8 on the vault, No. 1 on the bars, No. 4 on the beam, No. 6 on the floor and No. 2 in the all-around category.

 

How to Watch 

This week’s meet will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 starting at 4 p.m. Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke will be on the call for this meet. Live scores will also be available on utahutes.com 

 

Up Next for the Red Rocks

This week’s meet will be the first in yet another two-week road trip for the team. Next week the team will be in Seattle to take on Washington. 

 

[email protected]

@s_mora99