No. 4 Red Rocks Take Down No. 6 California at Home


Xiangyao Tang

No. 4 Red Rocks’ celebrating the win over No. 25 Washington at Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Editor


After a tough loss at No. 22 Arizona State, the No. 4 Red Rocks (11-2, 4-1 Pac-12) are back home to face No. 6 California. The Red Rocks nearly pulled off an upset earlier this week, but a low vault rotation hurt the team.

This is the fourth top-10 matchup for the Red Rocks this season, previously facing LSU, Oklahoma and UCLA.

In the second meet without Grace McCallum, the Red Rocks were hoping to find their first win without the Olympian. The team previously lost at Arizona State, finishing 197.500-197.550.

The Red Rocks started out strong on vault, with Abby Brenner recording a season high 9.900, Jillian Hoffman got a 9.950 and Jaedyn Rucker landing a perfect 10.000. Rucker’s perfect score was the first of her career on vault.

After a disappointing vault rotation against Arizona State, the Red Rocks put up 49.525, a strong improvement from earlier this week. But despite the numbers, the Red Rocks trailed just behind California at 49.525-49.575.

But with bars next, the Red Rocks quickly gained the lead. Led by Maile O’Keefe and Brenner, both with 9.950, Utah posted a season-high 49.600 on bars. Cristal Isa also put up 9.925 at the anchor.

With two events done, the Red Rocks held a 99.125-98.725 lead in this top-10 matchup.

With beam up next, the Red Rocks looked to extend their lead. Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 beam team in the nation started strong with a 9.925 from Amelie Morgan.

Abby Paulson and Kara Eaker both recorded 9.975, both their second meet in a row hitting that mark.

O’Keefe came in at the anchor and set a school-record for most career perfect 10’s on beam with seven. The Red Rocks scored an incredible 49.750 on beam and took a strong 148.875-148.050 lead heading into the final event.

Multiple Red Rocks set career-highs on the floor, with Jaylene Gilstrap hitting 9.925 and Paulson hitting 9.950. All of Utah’s scoring gymnasts topped 9.925 on the floor. The team finished with 49.675 on floor, taking the 198.550-197.550 win over California.

Brenner competed in all events but beam, setting season-highs on vault, bars and floor. The Red Rocks seemed to be firing on all cylinders as they set their season-high 198.550.

The Red Rocks topped 198.000 for the second time this season, an impressive win and strengthening their position in the standings. With just two meets left until Pac-12 championships, the Red Rocks hit their stride at the perfect time.

With their next meet against Arizona, the Red Rocks will remain at home. The meet will take place at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. MST. Be sure to support the Red Rocks as they celebrate Senior Night.


[email protected]