Maile O’Keefe Proves Perfect In Utah Gymnastics’ Season Opener

Jan 5, 2024, 11:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s only fitting the reigning NCAA beam and all-around national champion would open the 2024 gymnastics season with a perfect 10.

That’s exactly what Utah’s Maile O’Keefe did on Friday night anchoring beam as the Red Rocks opened their 2024 campaign against Boise State. It was O’Keefe’s 12th career perfect 10 and 11th perfect 10 on beam.

After the meet, O’Keefe dived into what that moment meant to her after a really tough off-season for her and her teammates.

An Emotional 10 For Maile O’Keefe

As mentioned above, earning perfect 10’s is nothing new for O’Keefe. Earning them on beam is even less new. However, there was something about the 10 she earned on beam Friday night that hit just a little different than some of the others.

“Honestly? It was probably one of my more emotional 10’s,” O’Keefe said. “I just feel like starting the season off like that is kind of crazy and surreal. I just feel like we went through so much turmoil this preseason and everything. I am going to be totally honest- I wasn’t sure I was looking forward to season, but I feel like once you get here and have the first one under your belt with your team, that atmosphere changes.”

The Red Rocks had a tumultuous off-season after former head coach Tom Farden was accused of abuse and later parted ways with the program.

Despite the allegations, O’Keefe had a really good relationship with Farden.

New head coach Carly Dockendorf, who celebrated her first win as the leader of Utah gymnastics, noted what happened over the fall was tough for everyone, but particularly so for O’Keefe. She believes her star athlete did a good job feeling what she needed to feel, and it resulted in a perfect score.

Dockendorf hopes O’Keefe will continue to channel whatever her emotions she has through her gymnastics as everyone continues to figure out how to move forward.

“I think her, and Tom have a very close relationship, they had been together for five years,” Dockendorf said. “He’s a really special person to her and I think just competing out here without him, in her senior year hurt. She cares about him, and I think she’s just using whatever she can inside of her to be great for her for this season and for this team. I think for her- they have a really special relationship and I think it’s important for her to recognize those emotions and they are totally ok for her to have.”

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Maile O’Keefe Proves Perfect In Utah Gymnastics’ Season Opener