For the first time ever, the Arizona Wildcats beat the Utah gymnastics team


Red Rocks stumble, falling to previously winless Wildcats

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah competes in their gymnastics meet with Stanford at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

With all the drama of the past few weeks, Utah Gymnastics needed an unremarkable meeting on Friday – a nice easy win to cap off the eventful week.

The Utes didn’t get it.

Instead, the Utes were upset by Arizona 196.85-196.775 in a stunning loss at McKale Center to the Wildcats.

Utah (9-2) entered the competition leading the series with the Wildcats 67-0 and the Wildcats were winless at 0-8. No win is guaranteed, but this one seemed as easy as it gets.

Utah’s fall came on beam where Adrienne Randall (8.925) and Cristal Isa (9.075) fell, leaving Utah with an event score of 48.725, their lowest event score in the year.

Meanwhile, Arizona put on one of their best performances on the ground, shooting a 49.3 to earn the win over the Utes.

The loss was a shock in a season of shocking results, but was made more so by an injury to Arizona’s Alysen Fears in warm-ups. Fears, considered Arizona’s best gymnast, had to be taken to the floor.

Individual results

Jump: Jaedyn Rucker (Utah) 9.95

Uneven bars: Sage Thompson (Utah) 9.925

Beam: Maile O’Keefe (Utah) 9.975

Floor: Grace McCallum (Utah) 9.925

All-around: Grace McCallum (Utah) 39.5

Utah coach Tom Farden was blamed as a coach for the loss.

“You could probably infer or theorize that it’s our own mental things with kids being able to do what they need to do at the decisive moment,” Farden said. “Believe me, in practice we don’t see that and that’s why it’s so confusing.”

Until the errors on beam, the Utes were enjoying a pro night, opening on bars with a 49.35, scoring 49.3 on vault and 49.4 on floor.

Sage Thompson led the bars with a 9.925 and Jaedyn Rucker paced the jump effort with a 9.95.

The Utes made a few steps on their trunk landings and Cammy Hall fell for the second straight week, scoring 9.25, but an upset didn’t seem possible before the final rotation.

Falls on the beam led to a loss for Utah at Cal, but the Utes have been very good on the event since then, scoring 49.725 against Oregon State and 49.6 against Washington.

The fact that the scraps came from some of the senior artists added to the surprising result.

Perhaps the effort of competing in three meets in one week got to the Utes. This reasoning is acceptable for most teams, but not for the Utes who wanted to use this series of meetings as a test for the post-season.

Instead, they are left with more questions than answers.

Farden refused to blame the schedule for the loss, noting the Utes looked good on the floor, an event that normally betrays tired muscles.

The only misstep was when Sydney Soloski jammed his toe and landed slightly short on a pass, scoring 9.825.

Soloski left cautiously but Farden said she’ll be fine.

The big question is, do the Utes?


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