Red Rocks Show Guts, Stamp Ticket To Saturday’s Final

Apr 14, 2022, 1:43 PM
Utah’s Sydney Soloski, right, hugs teammate Kim Tessen following Tessen’s vault during the Ariz...
Utah’s Sydney Soloski, right, hugs teammate Kim Tessen following Tessen’s vault during the Arizona State and University of Utah gymnastics meet at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

FORT WORTH- Only the top two from each of Thursday’s semi-finals can advance to Saturday’s National Championship Final. The early session wrapped up around 1 p.m. MT with #1 Oklahoma (198.1125) and #4 Utah (197.7125) advancing over #8 Minnesota (197.1125) and #5 Alabama (197.100). It won’t be known who the other two competitors are till later in the day.


The Red Rocks wasted no time establishing some dominance in Thursday’s quad-meet on floor. Outside of judging being a tad tight to start, Utah posted very good scores with Grace McCallum (9.9375) and Sydney Soloski (9.9125)  posting the highest individual scores on the event. As a team, the Red Rocks posted a 49.4750 which gave them the lead after the first round.


Typically not their best event, the Red Rocks continued their good showing on vault with several impressive stuck landings. Jaedyn Rucker (9.9625) and Alexia Burch (9.9250) were the individual standouts for the Utes who earned a collective 49.4250 team score. However, Oklahoma did put together a very impressive bars rotation in round two that put them in the first place for the rest of the meet.


Gymnastics is a game of tenths and bars is where the Utes’ left a few points on the competition floor. Normally, the Red Rocks show out on bars, but today was not their day on the event. Sage Thompson and Maile O’Keefe both posted 9.9s, however, some sloppy landings and missed handstands made the overall score lower than normal with a 49.2125. The end of the third rotation was the hairiest part of the entire meet with Alabama closing the gap on Utah for second place, but costly mistakes in the final rotation prevented the Crimson Tide from overtaking the Red Rocks.


Once again the Red Rocks came into the final rotation on beam with nerves of steel and executed the event to near perfection. Utah did not post a score lower than a 9.8750 and had three athletes (Kara Eaker, Abby Paulson and O’Keefe) posting a 9.9375 to ice second place and a trip to the finals on Saturday.

Up Next

The Red Rocks will briefly relax the rest of the day while waiting to find out who the other two competitors will be for the finals on Saturday. Fans can tune in at 11 a.m. MT on ABC to catch all of the action.


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Red Rocks Show Guts, Stamp Ticket To Saturday’s Final