Utah Gymnastics Have Quick Turnaround, No Time To Dwell On Mistakes

Jan 13, 2024, 6:20 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – It goes without saying that the Sprouts Farmers Market Quad did not go how the Red Rocks would have liked, but they don’t have time to dwell on those mistakes anymore.

Utah will be competing on Monday, January 15 in the Best of Utah meet and must put what happened Saturday afternoon to bed.

Thankfully, that’s a situation the team is looking forward to and feel like they can really thrive in.

Not The Finish Utah Wanted

Utah competed with three other “top dog” teams in college gymnastics and came in fourth largely due to uncharacteristic mistakes.

Head coach Carly Dockendorf spoke with the media afterwards about the meet and how this team moves forward into another quad meet at the Maverik Center in just two days.

“Obviously, not the finish we were anticipating or wanting tonight,” Dockendorf said. “The mistakes that we made were ones we are going to need to learn from and adjust moving forward. I thought vault was a huge step forward for us. I thought that was an excellent way to finish the competition. We had some really great floor routines and overall, some great individual performances, but definitely not a collective team performance tonight.”

Perhaps the more stunning mistakes came from former Olympian Grace McCallum and reigning all-around and beam National Champion Maile O’Keefe. McCallum had an uncharacteristic wobble on her beam routine while O’Keefe fell off the apparatus. O’Keefe also had a stumble on her first pass on floor.

To put it simply, it was a rare day for both athletes and Dockendorf made it very clear it is ok for her athletes to be human while speaking specifically about O’Keefe’s rough day.

“I just said, ‘it’s ok,'” Dockendorf said. “It is ok. She’s going to make mistakes. She’s human. We can’t expect her to score a 10 every single weekend. All you can do is move forward and go into the next event.”

Red Rocks Looking Forward To Quick Turnaround

The best way to get over a bad meet is to compete again. The Red Rocks don’t have to wait long to do it either and everyone seemed eager about the opportunity to put this meet in the rearview mirror.

“At the end we circled up and talked a little bit about the fact that we don’t actually have to wait a whole week until we go again,” Dockendorf said. “We have a day to get ourselves back in order and go again. It’s really going to be up to them to decide what kind of focus they want to bring for Monday. Hopefully they bring a little more confidence and trust.”

Abby Paulson and McCallum were both available after the meet and seemed just as driven as their coach to show they are a better team than how they performed Saturday afternoon.

“I honestly like it better that way in this instance,” Paulson said of the quick turnaround. “We have another opportunity in just two days to show everyone what we’ve got. People might be doubting us right now, but it’s then on us to turn around, switch our mindset and as our motto this year- just kind of row the boat. We’re reading a book together that is about rowing as a team. Going forward, we’re going to row that boat as a team and move forward. We’ve got another chance in just two days to prove it.”

McCallum also seemed to have a healthy perspective on what happened in Saturday’s meet and how she and everyone else needs to proceed moving forward.

“It happened,” McCallum said. “I’m going to acknowledge it, but then I’m going to move on and just learn from those little mistakes. I was kind of shaky today on beam- uncharacteristic for me. I haven’t missed a single beam routine in practice all week, so I need to rely on my training a little more and trust myself going forward.”

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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Utah Gymnastics Have Quick Turnaround, No Time To Dwell On Mistakes