A Handful of Perfect Scores Propel No. 4 Utah Gymastics Past No. 9 Minnesota on Senior Night


Kiffer Creveling

University of Utah women’s gymnastics senior Sydney Soloski performs on the floor in a dual meet vs. Penn State at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


In their final home meet of the season, the No. 4 University of Utah Gymnastics team topped No. 9 Minnesota with an impressive performance. The Red Rocks recovered from somewhat of a blunder last week, losing to the unranked University of Arizona team. 

With this being the last home meet of the season, Utah honored seniors Cristal Isa, Adrienne Randall and Sydney Soloski. Among the graduating seniors was also Cammy Hall, who kicked off the meet for the Utes on vault with a 9.925 performance, where she was met with a pleasant reaction from the Huntsman Center crowd. Despite Lucy Stanhope adding a 9.90, the Red Rocks overall didn’t have a great first rotation performance, but to their delight, neither did Minnesota. The two squads were deadlocked 49.375-49.375 after rotation one.

Even though it was senior night, freshman Grace McCallum stole the show with a 9.975 on bars, causing a borderline earthquake from the Red Rocks faithful in attendance. Jealous of the crowd reaction, Sage Thompson took matters into her own hands by posting a perfect 10 on bars for Utah. Needless to say, the best fanbase in all of college gymnastics was thrown into a frenzy by Thompson’s routine.

Maile O’Keefe, though happy for her teammates, was eager for some love from the fans herself. Like Thompson and McCallum, O’Keefe ate her Wheaties this morning, posting another perfect 10. While Utah has had their fair share of perfect 10’s this season, a 10 is essentially equivalent to hitting a grand slam in baseball in regards to how frequently they occur. The fact that Utah pulled off two in a row is nothing short of rare.

The back-to-back perfect 10’s from Utah made senior Cristal Isa’s last home routine on bars appear anticlimactic, despite the fact she posted a 9.95. Overall, the Utah bars lineup came to play, posting a 49.800 to give them a 99.175-98.825 lead going into the third rotation.

Throughout the season, Utah’s beam lineup, which is ranked as one of the best in the nation, has been relatively hit or miss. Tonight it was undoubtedly a hit, as the Red Rocks saw 9.90’s from Amelie Morgan and Kara Eaker. In addition to this, Grace McCallum posted a 9.95, her second 9.95 or above of the evening. Feeding off the residual adrenaline from her perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maile O’Keefe landed yet another perfect 10. While this is not confirmed, it is safe to assume the Richter scale in the earth sciences department on campus went on with the crowd’s reaction.

With a 49.725 overall score on beam, Utah went into the final rotation with a 148.900-148.375 lead. With a career-high finish, Jaylene Gilstrap posted a 9.90. Jaedyn Rucker followed with a 9.925, and so did Grace McCallum to finish off a career night. Capping off a career night of her own, Maile O’Keefe tallied a 9.95, essentially putting the meet out of reach. This did not stop Sydney Soloski from posting a 9.975 in her last routine at the Huntsman.

In the end, Utah would top a talented No. 9 Minnesota team. The Red Rocks travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana next week to face LSU in their final regular-season meet before the Pac-12 championships on March 19 at the Maverik Center.


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