No. 5 Red Rocks Fall in Norman

Jaedyn+Rucker+in+the+vault+event+in+a+meet+versus+the+LSU+Tigers+at+the+Jon.+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah%2C+on+Jan.+6%2C+2023.

Xiangyao Tang

Jaedyn Rucker in the vault event in a meet versus the LSU Tigers at the Jon. M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Jan. 6, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Writer

 

With the Best of Utah over, the No.5 Red Rocks (4-1) turned their attention to No. 1 Oklahoma in what will likely be their toughest meet of the season. These two teams last faced off in the 2022 NCAA gymnastics championship where Utah finished third and Oklahoma ended up with the title.

But the Red Rocks looked to leave the past behind them and come away with a win. Utah started on the uneven bars, posting a score of 49.150. Cristal Isa led the Red Rocks with a 9.875 on her routine.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma was on the vault where they posted a high 49.650, besting Utah’s season-high of 49.525. The Red Rocks put up an incredible performance with Grace McCallum, Makenna Smith and Jaedyn Rucker all posting at least 9.900.

After two events the Red Rocks were behind 98.675-99.075. Hoping to decrease the lead, the team got started on floor. Utah scored 49.200, finishing off with a 9.925 from McCallum.

Unfortunately, the Red Rocks were unable to shrink the gap as Oklahoma posted a 49.350 on the beam. Utah was putting up good numbers, but they were still unable to keep up with the top-ranked Sooners.

With only beam left, the Red Rocks chances were looking slimmer and slimmer. Maile O’Keefe led Utah, hitting an impressive 9.975. Utah put up an impressive 49.400 on the beam, but it wasn’t enough to lift them past the Sooners.

The Red Rocks were unable to get the win in Norman, posting 197.275 to Oklahoma’s 197.925. But with plenty of the season remaining, these two teams may meet again in the NCAA gymnastics championship.

McCallum finished as Utah’s only all-around competitor, totaling 39.350 on the night. She also ended as Utah’s highest performance on floor with 9.925.

The Red Rocks’ first loss of the season comes in their first away meet, and they will certainly look to improve before their next away game at Arizona State on Feb. 20.

Unable to keep up with Oklahoma, the Red Rocks now turn their attention to Pac-12 competition, starting off facing No. 22 Washington in Salt Lake. The meet will be on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. MST.

Utah will then remain home to take on No. 4 UCLA before heading to Fort Worth to compete in the Metroplex Challenge.

Be sure to pack the Huntsman and support the Red Rocks as they open up Pac-12 competition against Washington. Utah is 19-1-1 against the Huskies with an 11-0 home record. Utah’s last loss to Washington came in 2001, and Utah looks to extend their winning streak to nine this Saturday.

 

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