No. 4 Utah Gymnastics Surpasses the 198-Mark as they Top Oregon State


Kiffer Creveling

Cristal Isa performs on the balance beam in a dual meet vs. The University of Kentucky at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


After a relatively shocking first loss of the season last week, albeit to an highly-talented UC Berkeley squad, the No. 4 University of Utah gymnastics team bounced back this Friday at the Huntsman Center, as they topped No. 13 Oregon State. The Red Rocks surpassed the 198 mark, as they beat the Beavers 198.000-197.150. 

Friday night wasn’t just a meet between two top fifteen teams, it also happened to be Olympian Night, Alumni Night, and Pride Night, as Utah honored the handful of past and present Olympians to have sported Red Rocks attire. The team also honored members of the LBGTQ community.

Per usual, Utah opened up the meet on vault. Despite a rocky performance overall, no pun intended, Utah still finished the first rotation with a 49.225-49.000 lead. While scoring a 9.90 or higher is considered a highly respectable feat in college gymnastics, Utah fans have become somewhat accustomed to seeing multiple 9.90 scores per rotation. During the first rotation of Friday night’s affair, however, the only score above 9.90 for Utah came from Lucy Stanhope, posting a 9.95.

Utah then transitioned to bars, where they ultimately scored a 49.500 to give themselves a 98.725-98.325 lead after two rotations. On Olympian night, United States Olympic silver-medalist, Grace McCallum, posted a 9.95 on bars. Sage Thompson followed with a 9.925, and the Red Rocks started to roll from that point on.

One of the biggest storylines for the University of Utah gymnastics team so far this season has been the team’s beam performance, as the beam lineup has been touted as arguably the best in the nation. The beam lineup did not disappoint. Grace McCallum posted a 9.90, to which Adrienne Randall followed with a 9.925.

Both McCallum and Randall received a more-than-friendly response from the Huntsman Center crowd, and this prompted Abby Paulson and Maile O’Keefe to post 9.950 scores in order to get some love from the Red Rocks faithful for themselves. Despite the handful of 9.90 and above scores, the story of the third rotation was undoubtedly Cristal Isa’s perfect 10, the first of her career. Needless to say, the Huntsman Center absolutely shook. 

“I really thought the balance beam was really the highlight of the whole meet,” said head coach Tom Farden.

In total, Utah posted a 49.725 in the third rotation, taking a 148.450-147.725 lead into the final rotation. While Utah’s floor lineup is regarded as one of the best in the country, there have been a handful of meets this season where Utah’s performance prior to the final rotation has essentially sealed the meet before the floor lineup even has a chance to perform. Friday was really no different, although the floor lineup still went out and performed.

Jaedyn Rucker would post a 9.90 on floor in the last rotation, and this was accompanied by three 9.925 scores from Abby Paulson, Grace McCallum, and Sydney Soloski. In the end, Utah would post a total score of 49.550 in the fourth rotation, leading to a 198.000-197.150 victory over the Beavers.

The Red Rocks now look forward to next Monday, Feb. 21, as they travel to Seattle to face the University of Washington Huskies.


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