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No. 5 Red Rocks Bounce Back With Dominant Win in Best of Utah

Utah continually improved their scores in each event, leading to their highest score of the season.
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+Mary+Allen+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Mary Allen
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 Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

After a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad, No. 5 University of Utah gymnastics returned to the Maverik Center to compete in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah.

Freshman Camie Winger got the Red Rocks started on vault. Scoring a 9.950 in the Collegiate Quad, Winger recorded a 9.800 this time around before fellow Freshman Ella Zirbes tallied 9.850. Transfer Ashley Glynn nearly fell, recording a 9.650. Makenna Smith came in with a 9.875, followed by Jaedyn Rucker with a 9.825. Jaylene Gilstrap came in at the anchor, scoring 9.725 to give the Red Rocks 49.075 on vault.

Despite scoring lower on vault than Saturday, the Red Rocks held the lead through the first rotation. Utah was the only team to crack 49.000, with BYU in second with 48.950.

Smith started on bars for the Red Rocks with a 9.850. Alani Sabado made her only appearance of the afternoon, tallying 9.775. Zirbes came in with a 9.825 before Amelie Morgan scored a team-high 9.950, quickly matched by Grace McCallum. Maile O’Keefe finished off with a 9.925, giving the Red Rocks 49.500 on bars and 98.575 through two rotations.

The Red Rocks struggled on bars at the Collegiate Quad, seemingly fixing things today. Halfway through the meet, Utah held a sizeable lead over the competition. BYU held second place, followed by SUU and Utah State.

Moving over to beam, Morgan started with a 9.950 as the Red Rocks looked to expand their lead. Elizabeth Gantner scored a 9.750, followed by a 9.875 from Smith. McCallum scored a 9.775 before Abby Paulson tallied 9.950. O’Keefe came in at the anchor with a perfect 10, the 12th of her career and the second of the season. O’Keefe continues to build on her school record, bouncing back after recording only 9.150 on beam at the Collegiate Quad.

The Red Rocks recorded 49.550 on beam, pushing their total to 148.125. BYU followed with 147.000, SUU with 146.350 and Utah State with 144.525.

With just floor left, Utah held a strong lead and the meet seemed all but over. Smith started with a 9.925, giving her first place in all-around competition with 39.525. Winger followed with a 9.800 before Paulson got a 9.925 of her own. Gilstrap scored 9.850, McCallum scored 9.950 and O’Keefe finished off with a 9.950 of her own to give the Red Rocks 49.600 on floor.

After an unfortunate performance on Saturday, the Red Rocks bounced back with 197.725 in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah. The team continually improved their scores in each event, leading to Utah’s highest score of the season. BYU finished with 195.775, SUU finished with 194.000 and Utah State finished with 193.600.

The Red Rocks now host Arizona State on Jan. 26 at 6:00 p.m. MST. The Sun Devils have struggled early in the season, failing to score over 197.000 in both of their meets. Tickets are available here, and the meet will be broadcast on Pac-12 Mountain.

 

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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.

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