No. 6 Red Rocks Hold No. 2 Seed Heading into Pac-12 Championship


The Utah Red Rocks during their final home meet of the 2020-21 season at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. March 12, 2021. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


The postseason begins this weekend for the No. 6 University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team. The Red Rocks will be the No. 2 seed in this week’s Pac-12 Championship at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. The late session will feature the No. 1 seed Cal (No. 5 in this week’s national rankings), No. 3 seed Arizona State (No. 11 overall) and No. 4 seed UCLA (No. 13 overall). No. 24 Oregon State, Arizona, Washington and Stanford will compete in the early session.

The Red Rocks are chasing their fifth Pac-12 Championship meet victory this week. The last time the team hoisted the trophy was in 2017 but they have won the regular-season championship for the last two years. Last year was the first time that the conference implemented the regular-season title to a team. They are looking to be the first undisputed champion since the implementation of the regular season champion during the 2019 season.


Scouting the No. 5 Golden Bears  

Record: 7-1, 6-1 Pac-12 

Last meet: W vs Washington, 197.600-196.025

National Qualifying Score: 197.575

Ever since Cal’s loss to Utah a few weeks ago the Golden Bears have been on a tear, wracking up the highest score in the conference (198.050) and skyrocketing in the rankings in the process. Nevaeh DeSouza, Kyana George and Maya Bordas continue to lead the team in the all-around while Emi Waterson scored a perfect 10 on the bars a few meets ago.

Cal ranks No. 7 in the country on the vault, No. 1 on the bars, No. 9 on the beam and is tied for No. 10 on the floor.

The Golden Bears will open their championship night on the vault.


Scouting the No. 6 Red Rocks 

Record: 10-1, 6-0 Pac-12 

Last meet: W vs Utah State, 197.275-196.500

National Qualifying Score: 197.469

After what the team felt was a disappointing win last week the Red Rocks will compete from the second seed spot for fifth time since joining the Pac-12 (2012, 2017-19). While the No. 2 seed isn’t what the regular-season champion was expecting, they have won it all from this position before, most recently in 2017. The Red Rocks will start the night on bars, then head to beam, floor and then ending their night on vault. 

In the rankings the Red Rocks fell one spot this week, to No. 6. The Red Rocks didn’t post a score last week that would have a positive effect on their NQS. But the team remains in the top 15 on all the events, led by a No. 3 ranking on the beam. They rank No. 6 on the vault, No. 8 on the floor and No. 15 on the bars.

Sophomore Maile O’Keefe continues to lead the team as she is once again tied for No. 1 in the country on the beam. She is No. 9 in the country in the all-around and is tied for No. 21 in the country on the bars. Alexia Burch is ranked No. 9 on the vault while Abby Paulson is tied for No. 5 in the country on the beam. And senior Sydney Soloski is tied for No. 11 in the country on the floor.


Scouting the No. 11 Sun Devils 

Record: 5-5, 4-3 Pac-12 

Last meet: L vs Boise State, 196.700-196.750

National Qualifying Score: 197.088

The Sun Devils have emerged this season as a program on the upswing. Head coach Jay Santos is building a program in Tempe that is reaching new heights and has a bright future ahead of them. Ever since they posted their season high score of 197.450 versus Arizona at the end of February, things have not been as smooth, as the teams scores have continued to drop headed into this week’s championship.

Hannah Scharf and Cairo Leonard-Baker have continued to be staples in the team though with Scharf scoring a season high 9.95 on floor while Leonard-Baker’s 9.90 on the beam is the best the team has seen this season.

ASU is tied for No. 11 in the country on the vault and bars, No. 20 on the beam and No. 14 on the floor. Their first event will be the beam.


Scouting the No. 13 Bruins  

Record: 6-2, 4-2 Pac-12 

Last meet: W vs San Jose State 197.100-193.575

National Qualifying Score: 197.038

The only two losses the Bruins have this season have come at the hands of Utah and Cal. But one thing is for sure, this is not the UCLA team of years past. They have only crossed the 197-point mark three times this season, with a season-high score of 197.100.

Freshman Chae Campbell, junior Margzetta Frazier and senior Nia Dennis lead the Bruins, with consistent scores of 9.90 on multiple events.

In the rankings, UCLA comes in tied for No. 8 on vault. They are also tied for No. 13 on the bars while they are No. 19 on the beam and are tied for No. 6 on the floor.

UCLA will start the night on the floor.


How to Support the Red Rocks

Both sessions of this year’s Pac-12 Championship will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network on Saturday, March 20, starting at 12 p.m. MST. The late session that will feature Utah will begin at 7 p.m. MST. Fans can listen to the late session on the Home of the Utes ESPN700 as well.


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