Red Rocks Out Last Competition At Seattle Semi-Finals With A 197.800, Advance to Saturday’s Regional Final
Mar 31, 2022, 11:14 PM | Updated: 11:23 pm
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SEATTLE- It didn’t look great for the Red Rocks early in Thursday night’s Seattle Regional Semi-Final, but a strong beam rotation firmly launched them to Saturday’s Regional Final. #4 Utah will be joined by Stanford from their semi-final along with #5 Alabama and #12 Michigan State from the earlier meet at 6 p.m. MT at Alaska Airline Arena to determine who’s national championship hopes stay alive.
𝙎𝙪𝙧𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 🙌
— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) April 1, 2022
“We would have liked to have seen a little bit stronger start in terms of their legs and little bit more pop,” head coach Tom Farden said. “It was a tale of two halves. I thought on intricate events the athletes settled in.”
Fighting Through Floor
Floor is normally a strength for the Red Rocks but a last minute substitution for Abby Paulson due to a back issue during warm-ups may be partially to blame for the slightly slow start. Paulson was also pulled from the bars and beam line-ups where she normally shines until further determinations of her health can be made.
“They don’t call it ‘March Madness’ for nothing,” Farden joked. “We had an athlete that became unavailable during warm-ups, actually in the running portion of warm-ups. Abby Paulson was out due to a concern with her back and we are evaluating that so we will find out what is going on with that.”
While not the best the Red Rocks have ever done on floor they did put together a 49.300, it just unfortunately put them in fourth place behind Illinois (49.400), Stanford (49.350) and Oregon State (49.325).
Vamping Up On Vault
Things turned around a little on vault for Utah after they posted a 49.325 on vault with senior Alexia Burch coming in clutch with a 9.950. The effort would move the Red Rocks into “2nd” place (98.625 total score) behind Illinois and Stanford who were tied with a 98.775.
Bars Was Fine, But This Is A Beam Team
Burch would continue her clutch performances through bars and beam posting a 9.950 on bars after Grace McCallum fell, and a 9.950 on beam as well. The Red Rocks would go on to team scores of 49.475 and 49.700 in both events to take first place.
“I would say the turning point was after Grace with Alexia Burch coming in with a 9.95- a career best on the bars,” Farden said. “As a bar coach, where she was a freshman to where she is now- you can’t help but smile as big as you can.”
As impressive as Burch was for Utah in the regional semi-finals, Adrienne Randall may have been even more so. After watching warm-up Farden and beam coach Carly Dockendorf made the quick decision to pull McCallum out of the line-up and put Randall in. Randall with just minutes to collect herself pulled off a 9.9 on beam in what ended up being a very impressive overall team effort.
“We feel as a staff that athletes are in different places at different times,” Farden said of Randall. “We used her on floor exercise and she was in a good space and then going over to balance beam we saw her warm-up aggressively. As everyone knows she has some of the most challenging moves in the NCAA on that event and they were flawless and so we made the decision.”
The Red Rocks will have a day in between competitions with Friday being a day they can rest and reset before competing for a final spot in Forth Worth, Texas for Nationals in two weeks.
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