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Utah Athletics

No. 4 Red Rocks regular season Pac-12 champs after win over No. 13 Washington

By Josh Furlong, | Updated - Mar. 1, 2020 at 8:04 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 1, 2020 at 6:25 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — No. 13 Washington set a program record on beam, but it was No. 4 Utah that came away with a win in Seattle to stay undefeated this season and claim the regular season championship in the Pac-12.

The Red Rocks defeated Washington 197.675-197.600 Sunday on the road to record the team’s 10th win of the season on another strong beam performance, which also was head coach Tom Farden’s 100th win as a coach.

"What a battle it was in Pac-12 gymnastics today," Farden said. "Winning the regular season title is very impressive because you have to be very consistent and bring it every week. To be the inaugural Pac-12 regular season champs is such an honor for our program."

Utah (10-0, 6-0) entered the final rotation, the beam, trailing Washington (6-2-1, 4-1-1) by a narrow margin (148.125-148.075), but had three gymnasts— Cristal Isa, Adrienne Randall and Abby Paulson — each score a 9.950 to lift Utah past Washington. Maile O’Keefe (9.90) and Alexia Burch (9.850) added strong scores to round out the beam performance.

Washington’s lead after the third rotation was made possible by a program record performance on beam, a 49.650 score, behind a perfect 10.0 score from Evanni Roberson, who also won the all-around with a score of 39.575.

Gymnasts Maya Washington and Madison Copiak each scored a 9.925, and Michaela Nelson and Hannah Vandenkolk added a score of 9.90 to give the Huskies a fighting chance.

Utah opened the meet on the bars and set the tone with a 49.300 score to take an early lead over Washington. O’Keefe opened up the rotation with a 9.825 score that was followed up by Emilie LeBlanc’s 9.875. Missy Reinstadtler scored a team-high 9.925, Kim Tessen added a 9.875 and Paulson rounded out the group with a 9.80 score.

Utah followed up its bars performance with a 49.225 score, a meet low, on vault, but the Red Rocks maintained a lead. The Red Rocks were led by Tessen, who closed out the rotation with a team-high 9.925. Burch added a 9.875 and Cammy Hall had a 9.850 to round out the leading scorers for the Red Rocks.

The Red Rocks scored a solid 49.550 on the floor, their third rotation, but couldn’t match Washington’s 49.650 score on beam as Utah fell behind on the score.

Paulson set the tone with a 9.850 score on floor, and the final four gymnasts continued to build off the others’ score before them until Reinstadtler recorded a 9.975 score.

Randall recorded a 9.875, which was followed by O’Keefe’s 9.90 and Sydney Soloski’s 9.950 score.

"We came out a little flat to open the meet,” Farden said. “We gained momentum each event and really began to find some rythym. It may not necessarily have been by score, but definitely by energy and momentum throughout the meet. We also had a last minute lineup change with Missy Reinstadtler entering the floor lineup and it payed dividends in the end. She had an incredible routine to finish floor."

Washington scored a season high on bars (49.425) and tied a season high on floor with a 49.475 score in the loss.

Utah returns home for its final conference home meet of the season as the Red Rocks welcome Stanford to the Huntsman Center on Friday at 6 p.m. MST.

Josh Furlong

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