No. 3 Utah Gymnastics is Dealt First Loss of Season from No. 11 UC Berkeley

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Kevin Cody

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 Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor

 

After their closest meet so far this season last Friday, a 197.750-197.650 victory over No. 22 UCLA, the No. 3 University of Utah gymnastics team traveled to the Bay Area to face the University of California, Berkeley on Saturday night. So far this year, the Utah Red Rocks have not had an easy schedule, as they have faced a top-25 team in every meet up to this point in the season, including No. 11 Cal on Saturday.

While it was no secret that Cal would certainly provide a significant challenge to Utah, it is safe to conclude that not many people anticipated the Golden Bears handing the Red Rocks their first loss of the season. Indeed, in a battle of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-12, the Red Rocks were dealt their first taste of defeat in quite some time in a 197.525-197.275 loss.

Utah began the meet on bars, posting a 49.300 in large part thanks to a 9.925 score from sophomore Amelie Morgan, as well as a 9.90 from anchor Maile O’Keefe. The Red Rocks then proceeded to the vault, where they tallied a score of 49.375, highlighted by a near-perfect 9.975 routine from junior Jaedyn Rucker, in addition to a 9.90 from freshman Grace McCallum

After two rotations, Cal held a slight lead of 98.800-98.675. This would change, however, as Utah transitioned to the floor in the third rotation. Led by a 9.975 score from Sydney Soloski, Utah’s 49.525 combined floor score gave them a 148.200-148.000 lead heading into the final rotation. 

At this point, although the lead was slim, the meet appeared to be over, especially given the Red Rocks’ track record in final rotations. Cal, however, had different plans, posting three straight 9.90 scores, followed by a 9.95 score from Andi Li

Despite Utah tallying a combined score of 49.075 on beam, which featured a 9.925 score from O’Keefe, Cal’s groundbreaking rotation on floor propelled them past the Red Rocks, with a 49.475 combined score which contributed to the final score of 197.525-197.275.

It was a relatively shocking defeat for Utah, however, it came at the hands of an incredibly talented Berkeley squad. For Cal, this was a statement win with a magnitude that rivaled Utah’s victory over then-ranked No. 3 Oklahoma a few weeks back.

The Red Rocks return home next Friday, facing off against a talented Oregon State team. Utah fans, be sure to make your way out to the Huntsman Center, as the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive an autographed poster of the four 2020 Olympians on the Red Rocks roster. Who knows, even if you don’t take the poster home and hang it in your room, it might be worth some money on eBay a few years down the road.

 

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@Chase_Chat