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No. 4 Red Rocks score season low in first-ever loss to Arizona after shaky beam


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” The No. 4 Red Rocks found themselves in a position they've never been in before in the storied history of the program Friday night.

At the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona, the Red Rocks were on the losing end of a conference meet against a winless Arizona team. It's the first time in 68 tries that Arizona has come away with a win against Utah.

The Red Rocks entered the final rotation of the night on beam with a .500 lead over the GymCats and looked to make it 68-straight wins in the program's final conference meet of the season. But after two falls on beam by Adrienne Randall and Cristal Isa, Utah failed to cross the 197 mark for the first time this season, falling to Arizona 196.850-196.775.

It was the third meet in a week's time for Utah and an uncharacteristic night after two meets with the highest scores of the season.

Utah head coach Tom Farden said he was "obviously disappointed" by the result, but felt his team had a good enough night on the first three rotations before the night fell apart on beam with the two falls.

And though a loss to Arizona stings in the moment, Utah has done enough in the last two meets β€” a 198.000 against Oregon State and a 197.950 against Washington β€” to improve their national qualifying score to move up to No. 2 in the nation when the rankings are updated Monday (barring improvements from other teams in the country).

Friday night's meet was about improving upon a previous low road score against California (197.275), but the Red Rocks will have to wait until the final road meet of the season against LSU to make up ground in NQS.

And to Arizona's credit, they brought their best performance of the season Friday night and recorded a season-high score against the league's preseason favorite, beating a previous season high of 196.400 against in-state rival Arizona State on Feb. 12.

The Red Rocks managed favorable scores in the first three rotations β€” a 49.350 on bars, a 49.300 on vault and a 49.400 on floor β€” but couldn't maintain the lead on an event that has been hit or miss for the team this season.

Utah has recorded the highest team score on beam this season twice but has had three meets with low scores hovering around 49. But a season low of 48.725 on Friday was the bottom of the competition.

Freshman Amelie Morgan led off on beam with a 9.875 score, followed up by fellow Olympian Grace McCallum's 9.90 to give the beam team a strong start. But Adrianne Randall fell off the beam on her first trick and then struggled to finish out the routine without some stumbles.

Abby Paulson got the team back on track with a 9.90 score in the fourth spot, but Cristal Isa couldn't save herself from a fall in the fifth spot. Isa finished her routine without any mistakes and stuck the landing to score a 9.075, but the damage was already done. Even Maile O'Keefe's 9.975 in the anchor position wasn't enough will Utah back for a win.

One positive for the Red Rocks is freshman Kara Eaker, who sprained her ankle in the first week of the season, exhibitioned on beam Friday night; however, she did not dismount from the beam in her gradual return to activity.

McCallum, who was the only member of the Red Rocks to participate in all events, won the all-around competition with a 39.500 score. She beat out Arizona's Malia Hargrove (39.450) and Emily Mueller (39.350).

The Red Rocks have a week off before returning to action against Minnesota at the Huntsman Center on March 4 (7 p.m. MST, Pac-12) in the team's final home game of the season.

Team scores

No. 4 Utah

  • Bars (49.350)
  • Vault (98.650, 49.300)
  • Floor (148.050, 49.400)
  • Beam (196.775, 48.725)

Arizona

  • Vault (49.075)
  • Bars (98.275, 49.200)
  • Beam (147.550, 49.275)
  • Floor (196.850, 49.300)

Individual Red Rock scores

1st Rotation: Bars (49.350)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.825
  • Grace McCallum: 9.850
  • Abby Paulson: 9.875
  • Sage Thompson: 9.925
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.775
  • Cristal Isa: 9.875

2nd Rotation: Vault (49.300)

  • Sage Thompson: 9.800
  • Cammy Hall: 9.250
  • Lucy Stanhope: 9.875
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.950
  • Alexia Burch: 9.850
  • Grace McCallum: 9.825

3rd Rotation: Floor (49.400)

  • Abby Paulson: 9.850
  • Jaylene Gilstrap: 9.825
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.925
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.925
  • Sydney Soloski: 9.825

4th Rotation: Beam (48.725)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.900
  • Adrienne Randall: 8.925
  • Abby Paulson: 9.900
  • Cristal Isa: 9.075
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.975

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics β€” primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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