SALT LAKE CITY — It was announced Wednesday that University of Utah gymnastics received two Pac-12 honors for their 2020 season.
Tom Farden was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Kim Tessen was named the Pac-12 Specialist of the Year.
Farden, who is in his first year as sole head coach of the gymnastics team, spent the previous four seasons as co-head coach alongside former Pac-12 Coach of the Year Megan Marsden. She, along with her husband, Greg, also received the award while coaching the Red Rocks, making Farden the third gymnastics Pac-12 Coach of the Year recipient in school history.
The Red Rocks went 11-0 during the regular season, their first undefeated season since 1993. Unfortunately, Utah wasn’t able to complete their dominant year due to the coronavirus outbreak, which forced the cancellation of the remainder of the gymnastics season.
Tessen had a breakout season in 2020, solidifying 10 event wins, alongside receiving her first-ever perfect 10.0 in the final meet of her career. Her staggering numbers and fantastic performances led the way to her being named to the All-Pac-12 team, along with being named an All-American.
Vault and bars were Tessen’s strong suit during the Red Rocks’ road of dominance; she was the No. 1 and No. 2 performer in the Pac-12 on both events, respectively.
Utah’s Cristal Isa, Alexia Burch, Abby Paulson, Maile O’Keefe and Sydney Soloski were named to the All-Pac-12 team alongside Tessen for their performances throughout the shortened year. Missy Reinstadtler and Adrienne Randall also found themselves on the honorable mention list for the All-Pac-12 team.
The awards pouring in for the gymnastics team are impressive, but what may have been even more impressive was their road performances against teams like No. 3 UCLA, No. 21 Arizona, No. 12 Cal and No.13 Washington. Those wins, coupled with home victories over No. 21 Oregon State and No. 12 Kentucky, made for an amazing showing for Utah.
Although the Red Rocks weren’t able to finish the remainder of their season, there is much to be applauded for the young 2019-20 squad. The future is bright for Farden and Utah, especially with the youth on the team and the vetran leadership that will return in 2021.