Utah’s Sydney Soloski gets congratulated by teammates after her floor routine during the gymnastics meet with Oklahoma at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Coming into its high-profile regular-season meet against No. 3 Oklahoma Friday, No. 4 Red Rocks gymnast Cammy Hall said: “I think it’s definitely going to be one that you don’t want to miss.”
And for the 10,804 fans in attendance at the Huntsman Center and the many others watching live on ESPN2, the Friday night performance from Utah was a worthy show — and one fans didn’t want to miss.
From start to finish, the Red Rocks weren’t to be deterred and rolled to an early-season win over the visiting Sooners. Utah finished with a 197.775 score, which is the highest score recorded in the country this season to beat out Michigan’s previous high of 197.750.
Oklahoma finished the road meet with a 196.650 after a rough second half of the night after there were some missteps on floor and two gymnasts that fell off the balance beam to seal the victory for the Red Rocks.
“One thing we talked about a lot was carrying some calm but confident demeanor all the way through warmups, and then the same thing all the way through the meet,” Utah coach Tom Farden said. “It was really exciting to be back in the Huntsman with some fans. I feel like the energy, the athletes fed off of that and we built throughout the whole night.
“We want to compete against the teams that have been knocking on the doors of national championships — Oklahoma is an incredible, well-coached team, and they’re an incredible team. You could see the talent on the first couple events; it was just a barnburner. But for us, what it means for our program is we’ve got to keep — it’s another step in this process.”
In her Huntsman Center debut, Olympian Grace McCallum won the all-around with a 39.675 score, beating out Oklahoma’s Jordan Bowers (39.550) and Audrey Davis (39.375), in a confident and dominating performance by the freshman. McCallum capped off the night in strong fashion with a 9.975 score on floor — the final event of the night for the Red Rocks.
McCallum’s all-around score also leads the nation, beating out Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik’s high of 39.650.
“Grace came to play and you can see it last week,” Farden, who signed a contract extension on Thursday to keep him at Utah through 2026, said. “I think she was a little disappointed in how she did and had to get those jitters out.”
— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) January 15, 2022
Farden said the coaches made some adjustments with her over the week since the program’s Best of Utah win a week ago and it was a “quick study” in how well McCallum was able to take the advise and put it together in a high-profile setting.
And much like the team’s third-place finish in 2021, the Red Rocks finished the night in convincing fashion on beam and floor, recording event highs of 49.475 and 49.500, respectively. But it was a much-improve vault and bars that ultimately led to Utah’s dominating home win.
The Red Rocks started out the night on vault, an area of weakness in 2021, and set the tone with a 49.450 score behind an lead-off 9.80 score from Jillian Hoffman and an instant jump up in the second position by Hall’s 9.90 score. Lucy Stanhope added a 9.925 score in the third position, which was followed up by a 9.850 by Jaedyn Rucker and a 9.875 by Alexia Burch.
McCallum closed out the event with a stuck landing and a 9.90 score to give Utah an early tie with the Sooners — a strong indication the night was going in the Red Rocks’ favor and a visual representation of how much Utah has improved from a season ago.
The Red Rocks pulled ahead by the slimmest of margins (98.800-98.775) in the second rotation after having only one gymnast, freshman Sage Thompson, recording a score over 9.90. Thompson, in the second position, scored a 9.925 to led Utah to a 49.350 team score.
But on the second rotation for Oklahoma, in which they competed on vault, the cracks started to show for the Sooners, who were forced to record a 9.775 score after Allie Stern recorded a team low 9.725. From there, the Sooners were never able to rebound as the Red Rocks only got better.
It’s the first time Oklahoma has lost a meet during the regular season — a 2008 loss to Florida.
No. 3 Oklahoma
- Bars: 49.450
- Vault: 49.325 (98.775)
- Floor: 49.200 (147.975)
- Beam: 48.675 (196.650)
No. 4 Utah
- Vault: 49.450
- Bars: 49.350 (98.800)
- Beam: 49.475 (148.275)
- Floor: 49.500 (197.775)
Individual Utah scores
1st rotation: Vault
- Jillian Hoffman: 9.800
- Cammy Hall: 9.900
- Lucy Stanhope: 9.925
- Jaedyn Rucker: 9.850
- Alexia Burch: 9.875
- Grace McCallum: 9.900
2nd rotation: Bars
- Amelie Morgan: 9.825
- Sage Thompson: 9.925
- Abby Paulson: 9.775
- Grace McCallum: 9.875
- Cristal Isa: 9.850
- Maile O’Keefe: 9.875
3rd rotation: Beam
- Amelie Morgan: 9.750
- Grace McCallum: 9.925
- Adrienne Randall: 9.800
- Abby Paulson: 9.900
- Cristal Isa: 9.925
- Maile O’Keefe: 9.925
4th rotation: Floor
- Abby Paulson: 9.825
- Lucy Stanhope: 9.825
- Grace McCallum: 9.975
- Jaedyn Rucker: 9.925
- Maile O’Keefe: 9.850
- Sydney Soloski: 9.925
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