Red Rocks Make History With ‘Gutsy’ Threepeat, Await Regional Destination

Mar 19, 2023, 9:29 AM | Updated: Mar 20, 2023, 12:44 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Red Rocks made history yesterday earning a “gutsy” threepeat as Pac-12 Champions and will now await their NCAA Regional destination.

No team has ever won three straight Pac-12 Championships for gymnastics until the Utes stepped up to the plate. Utah now has six total titles under their belt (2014, 2015, 2017, 2021, 2022, and 2023) which is also the most of any team in the conference.

The next step in the postseason gymnastics process is Regionals which will be announced on Monday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m. MT on NCAA.com. This year’s regional contests will be held at UCLA, Denver, Oklahoma, or Pittsburgh.

Regional play will run through Wednesday, March 29- Sunday, April 2.

A ‘Gutsy’ Win For The Red Rocks

It is no secret that college gymnastics has not only gotten significantly better in the Pac-12, but all across the country making competitions much stiffer than they once were even three years ago. Because of that fact, the Red Rocks were faced with a deficit early on in the meet they had to overcome falling to third place after the first rotation.

“I think it’s the whole team dynamic,” Maile O’Keefe said of the team’s comeback victory. “We’ve worked a lot on trust this year, and I think our trust is really there and now we are really working on our confidence. We deserve to be confident; we deserve to go into every meet with the confidence we had today. We’ll just hopefully carry that forward to the rest of postseason.”

Despite some uncharacteristic mistakes on beam in the next rotation, the Red Rocks began their ascension, clawing their way to second place, after a somewhat slow start to the meet on bars. In their third rotation on floor, the Utes put the pedal to the metal climbing to a tight first-place lead they would need to hang onto as they headed to vault in their final rotation.

“We don’t really focus on the scores going in so half of us didn’t have a clue going in,” Rucker said of needing a strong fourth rotation finish. “When I talked to the team, I just said we needed to give everything we have. Just go out and give it literally your all. It’s just three seconds to go out there and that’s exactly what we did.”

Anyone that has followed Utah gymnastics this season knows what and up and down ride vault has been for the team. Some meets they have been lights out, and other meets have been less than desirable. Ultimately, Utah was great and clinched a narrow .10 of a lead over UCLA, 197.925-197.825.

“This is the gutsiest win in Utah history in a long time,” head coach Tom Farden said. “Not history- but it’s been a while. I’ve been here for a long time, and this was pretty gutsy.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Red Rocks Make History With ‘Gutsy’ Threepeat, Await Regional Destination