No. 3 Red Rocks Set to Host Rival No. 14 UCLA

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University of Utah senior Sydney Soloski in a NCAA Women’s Gymnastics meet vs. the Washington Huskies at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 30, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor

 

It’s the meet fans have been waiting for as the No. 3 University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team is set to host rival No. 14 UCLA at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. This week’s meet will take place on Friday, Feb. 19, starting at 7 p.m. MST. These two teams have won eight of the last nine Pac-12 Championships, most recently with the Red Rocks clinching the 2020 Regular season crown prior to the championship meet being canceled due to COVID-19.

Last season when the two teams met, both squads cracked the elusive 198-point mark as the Utes came out on top 198.075-198.025. Abby Paulson scored a 10 on beam to clinch the win for the Red Rocks. In 2019 when the Bruins came to SLC, they handled the Red Rocks, 197.625-198.025.

Scouting the No. 3 Red Rocks 

Record: 6-1, 3-0 Pac-12 

Last meet: W vs Arizona State, 197.450-197.150

The Red Rocks are coming off a bye week after their meet against Stanford, originally scheduled for Monday, was cancelled. In their last time taking the floor the Red Rocks were able to come back from behind and beat Arizona State in Tempe. Maile O’Keefe won the all-around title once again with her score of 39.525. She earned her third Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week honor after that performance. Alexia Burch was named the conference’s Specialist of the Week after she scored a career-high 9.975 on vault, 9.825 on bars and 9.850 from the lead off position on beam. Jaedyn Rucker won her second Coaches Choice Award after the ASU meet, scoring career-high scores on the vault and floor.

Even though they didn’t compete this past weekend, the Red Rocks maintained their No. 3 spot in the weekly rankings. The Red Rocks are also ranking in the top 10 on all the events heading into this week. They are No. 3 on the beam, No. 4 on the floor, No. 6 on the vault and No. 8 on the bars.

Individually, O’Keefe leads the team, coming in at No. 2 in the nation on the beam and No. 7 in the all-around competitions. Cristal Isa is No. 14 in the country on the bars, Sydney Soloski is tied for No. 17 on the floor and Cammy Hall rounds out the rankings, she is tied for No. 24 in the country on the vault.

Scouting the No. 14 Bruins 

Record: 4-0, 3-0 Pac-12  

Last meet: W v Washington, 195.625-193.500

This week’s meet for the Bruins will be their third meet in the last ten days. They opened the brutal competition stretch on Wednesday, Feb. 10, when they scraped by a victory over BYU in Los Angeles. They then headed to Seattle and easily beat Washington, while scoring their lowest score since the 2016 season.

Because of that low score, the team plummeted in the rankings, falling to No. 14. The Bruins are ranked No. 11 on the vault, No. 18 on the bars, No. 17 on the beam and No. 12 on the floor. They are led by all-arounders Nia Dennis and Margzetta Frazier, who both are known for their viral floor routines. Frazier also led the team on the bars versus UW with a 9.925 on the event. Chae Campbell led the team on the beam with a 9.900 on the event.

How to Support the Red Rocks

Friday’s meet will air nationally on ESPNU starting at 7 p.m. MST. Sam Gore and Samantha Peszek will be the commentators for the TV broadcast. Fans can also listen to the meet on the Home of the Utes, ESPN700.

 

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