Sports / 

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Lee, Skinner lead Utah gymnastics to dominating win in hometown

By Holli Joyce, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Feb. 25, 2017 at 9:26 p.m.



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TEMPE, Ariz. — In a return to their home state, Kari Lee and MyKayla Skinner won every event in the Utah gymnastics team's 197.60-194.85 dominating win over Arizona State.

Skinner remains undefeated in the all-around and vault. Her 39.75 all-around score versus the Sun Devils is her second best of the season.

“It was awesome to see her perform like that in front of her family, friends and coaches,” said Utah co-head coach Tom Farden. “She was on fire with a little extra motivation.”

The Red Rocks started their day on bars where they posted a season-best score (49.625) on the event. Lee won the event with a 9.975 score, tying her career high. She received a 10.0 from one judge, while the other judge was angled to see that her last handstand was slightly short. Skinner and Lewis both scored 9.95s, a career-best for Skinner. Lewis also earned a 10.0 from one judge, but she too had a handstand that came short.

“Bars was really sharp,” said Farden. “Several of our kids have really stepped it up on that event in recent weeks.”

Ahead 49.625-48.875 after the first rotation, Utah took to vault. Skinner earned a victory in the event with her 9.90. She had great height and distance, but her deductions came on her dismount thanks to a small hop. Lewis and Rowe both scored 9.85s, while Lee notched in a 9.825.

Sophomore Shannon McNatt also made her collegiate debut in her first career routine to count. She performed a 10.0-valued Yurchenko half, an especially difficult vault for a debut. She was low but managed to stay on her feet, causing her teammates to jump and scream with excitement. McNatt’s (9.75) score was dropped because it was the team’s lowest, but now she has the first meet jitters out-of-the-way.

At the meet’s midway point, the Red Rocks extended its lead 98.80-97.40.

Skinner’s hometown crowd went wild as she performed her floor routine, which earned 9.95, in the meet’s third rotation. Her efforts earned her another event win. Macey Roberts and Missy Reinstadtler started the lineup with consecutive 9.825s. Lewis followed with power and poise, scoring 9.925. The team’s 49.425 score tied their second-highest floor score of the season.

Victory was in the Utes’ hands heading into the last rotation. Leading by nearly two full points, Utah just needed to do its everyday gymnastics to improve its record.

The Red Rocks did just that. Maddy Stover, MaKenna Merrell and Reinstadtler all put up 9.825s as the first half of the lineup. Skinner (9.95) claimed another event win with a strong beam performance. Lee and Rowe finished the beam lineup and the Red Rocks’ night with 9.85 and 9.925, respectively.

Next for Utah is the last home meet of the season. The Red Rocks will host Stanford on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. MST.

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