Maile O'Keefe gets perfect 10.0, No. 4 Red Rocks overwhelm Washington in Pac-12 win


11 photos
Save Story
Leer en espaรฑol

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY โ€” Maile O'Keefe got her first 10.0 of the season and the No. 4 Red Rocks remained undefeated in Pac-12 competition after a late Saturday meet in the Huntsman Center.

The Red Rocks wasted no time to establish dominance over the visiting Washington GymDawgs. From the opening rotation it was clear Utah was there to compete at a high level and easily won the meet with a 197.475-193.500 score with approximately 100 family and friends in the stands for the first time this season.

It was the second time this season Utah broke the 197 mark, outdoing last week's 197.075 score. It's also the second highest score recorded in the country this season โ€” No. 1 Florida holds the narrow lead with a 197.500 score.

"The target's been on Utah's back for the past 46 years," Utah head coach Tom Farden said. "We all know that. We're not going to put any more pressure on ourselves. We're going to go out there and compete like we practice."

O'Keefe earned the high praise for her perfect mark on beam, Utah's third rotation of the night, and for her all around win for the third time this season with a 39.525 score.

The sophomore gymnast was flawless in her routine on beam and topped it off with a perfect landing on a half jump aerial dismount to claim the perfect 10 โ€” a mark that was bound to be broken this year following a strong season. All her fellow Red Rocks wanted to do was hug and celebrate her but couldn't due to COVID-19 protocols during the meet.

Instead, the celebratory moment overcame O'Keefe with emotion and was simply celebrated with air hugs that nearly turned into the real thing.

"I mean, it was really weird," O'Keefe said. "Everyone was like: 'Is there any way we can hug you?' There's just no way right now. But it felt really good to be out there with them โ€” just knowing that they're supporting me even though I can't feel it."

O'Keefe only won the beam event, but scored no less than an 9.825 on the remaining events, with her second best event of the night coming on bars where she scored a 9.875. But she was just one of a handful of gymnasts that had a season- or career-high night.

Lucy Stanhope scored a career-high 9.850 on a Yurchenko 1.5 vault that started with a 10.0 score โ€” a difficult vault Utah has worked to introduce this season to improve the level of competition and scores. Stanhope helped anchor a solid 49.225 on vault as Utah opened up the meet with a clear advantage over Washington. Alexia Burch in the fifth spot won the event with a 9.925 on a similar vault.

Abby Paulson and specialist Sydney Soloski both had a career night on floor, Utah's final rotation of the meet. Paulson, who competed in two other events and scored no less than a 9.850, opened up the floor rotation with a tone-setting 9.90 score. It was a bounce-back performance for Paulson, who has struggled lately in recent showcases.

"Abby was really determined tonight," Farden said. "The chip on her shoulder got a little bit bigger, and you can see that she was aggressive and determined, and that's the Abby that we need to have every weekend."

Soloski, though, capped off the night with a career-high 9.975 score on floor in the anchor position โ€” one of the judges gave her a 10.0.

The Red Rocks' best event of the night was balance beam, where they rank fourth nationally. Utah already had a dominant lead going into their third rotation (98.525-96.950), but extended it with a meet-high 49.575 score.

Emilie LeBlanc opened up the beam with an uncharacteristic stumble on a handspring layout that caused her to fall off the beam, resulting in a dropped 9.250 score. But Burch answered the call in the second spot and landed a season-high 9.90 to refocus the remaining gymnasts.

Adrienne Randall went next and recorded a 9.875 that was followed by Cristal Isa's 9.850. And then O'Keefe reeled off her perfect 10.0 that was followed up by a near perfect 9.950 score from Paulson, who also received a 10.0 from one of the judges.

Farden described the event the only way he could: "Wow. That was incredible."

"And then to see Maile get a perfect 10.0 and then Abby have one judge give her a 10 and the other one a 9.90 was really a great momentum going into floor."

"I really feel like our training is getting more precise in figuring out what we need to do in pressure situations," O'Keefe added. "And for me personally, I've kind of just learned that letting loose, relaxing, having a tad bit more fun helps me."

The Red Rocks return to the mat Saturday at 1 p.m. MT as they embark on their first conference road meet of the season against No. 15 Arizona State. The meet will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

Utah Scores

1st Rotation: Vault

  • Isa: 9.775
  • O'Keefe: 9.825
  • Stanhope: 9.850
  • Hall: 9.850
  • Burch: 9.925
  • Rucker: 9.525

2nd Rotation: Bars

  • Paulson: 9.850
  • Sabado: 9.775
  • Burch: 9.775
  • O'Keefe: 9.875
  • LeBlanc: 9.875
  • Isa: 9.925

3rd Rotation: Beam

  • LeBlanc: 9.250
  • Burch: 9.900
  • Randall: 9.875
  • Isa: 9.850
  • O'Keefe: 10.0
  • Paulson: 9.950

4th Rotation: Floor

  • Paulson: 9.900
  • Randall: 9.800
  • Stanhope: 9.825
  • Rucker: 9.850
  • O'Keefe: 9.825
  • Soloski: 9.975

Photos

Related stories

Most recent Utah Utes stories

Related topics

Utah UtesSportsCollege
Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer covering University of Utah athletics โ€” primarily football, menโ€™s and women's basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

ARE YOU GAME?

From first downs to buzzer beaters, get KSL.comโ€™s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast