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Red Rocks Struggle in Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad

Oklahoma took the win with 197.900, followed by LSU with 197.150, UCLA with 197.100 and Utah with 196.975.
Utah+gymnast+Maile+OKeefe+performs+her+floor+routine+at+the+Sprouts+Farmers+Market+Collegiate+Quad+at+Maverik+Center+in+West+Valley+City%2C+Utah+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+13%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+%E2%80%9CAxe%E2%80%9D+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Xiangyao Tang
Utah gymnast Maile O’Keefe performs her floor routine at the Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad at Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Coming off of a win against Boise State, No. 2 University of Utah gymnastics took on the Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad, ESPN’s first-ever invitational. The event was also Utah’s first regular-season appearance on ABC.

The invitational will likely be Utah’s toughest competition of the season, with all four teams reaching the NCAA Championship semi-finals last year. Utah, LSU and Oklahoma reached the final, with Oklahoma taking the championship home.

The Red Rocks started the afternoon on bars with a 9.750 from Makenna Smith. Alani Sabado followed Smith, posting a 9.750 of her own. Freshman Ella Zirbes followed, scoring only 9.150 after falling on her dismount. As the Red Rocks started to fall behind, Amelie Morgan came in with a much-needed 9.825. Grace McCallum followed with a 9.850 before Maile O’Keefe finished the rotation with a 9.875 to give the Red Rocks 49.050 through one rotation. At this point, Utah sat in third, behind Oklahoma and UCLA.

Moving to beam, Morgan started off with a 9.825. Smith followed with a 9.875 before Jaylene Gilstrap scored 9.750. McCallum scored a 9.800 before Abby Paulson scored Utah’s first 9.900 plus of the meet, a 9.925. O’Keefe fell off the beam during her performance, scoring only 9.150.

Usually Utah’s strongest event, the Red Rocks were only able to score 49.175 on beam, falling to fourth place through two rotations. Sitting at 0.100 behind third place, the Red Rocks needed big performances on floor and vault.

Smith started on floor for the Red Rocks, putting together a beautiful performance and scoring 9.900. Paulson followed with a 9.875 before Gilstrap tallied a 9.850. Jaedyn Rucker scored a 9.850 of her own, McCallum scored 9.875 and O’Keefe had another difficult performance, scoring 9.575. The Red Rocks finished on the floor with 49.350, their best event yet.

The Red Rocks were able to gain some momentum after floor, passing LSU and moving into third place. With just vault left, the Red Rocks looked to avoid slipping back down to fourth.

Camie Winger got the crowd fired up, scoring 9.950 to get the Red Rocks started on vault. Zirbes scored 9.850 before Ashley Glynn scored 9.725 in her only performance of the afternoon. McCallum fired the crowd up again, tallying a 9.875 before Smith scored a 9.925. Rucker finished off for the Red Rocks with a 9.800. The Red Rocks finished vault with 49.400, their highest-scoring event of the day.

LSU’s 49.650 on bars pushed Utah back to fourth place as the invitational ended. Oklahoma took the win with 197.900, followed by LSU with 197.150, UCLA with 197.100 and Utah with 196.975. Smith finished with 39.450 in the all-around competition, followed by McCallum who finished with 39.400

“Obviously not the finish that we were anticipating or wanting tonight,” Head Coach Carly Dockendorf said. “But the mistakes that we made are ones that we’re going to need to learn from and adjust moving forward.”

The Red Rocks will soon return to the Maverik Center, competing in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah on Jan. 15 at 4:00 p.m. MST.

 

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@seanoverton3

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About the Contributors
Sean Overton, Sports Editor
Sean Overton is the Editor of the Sports Desk. He is currently a senior and is majoring in Business Administration with plans to attend law school.
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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