Perfect night: No. 4 Red Rocks record 3 perfect 10's, 198.575 on senior night


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” It was a night to remember.

Yes, it was senior night for the No. 4 Red Rocks Friday night against No. 9 Minnesota at a nearly sold out Huntsman Center, but in the end the final home meet for the program's seniors was almost a footnote to one of the best scoring nights in program history.

The Red Rocks scored three perfect 10.0 scores β€” two from junior Maile O'Keefe on bars and beam β€” and rolled to the program's second-highest ever all-around score of 198.575 to beat Minnesota, who scored an all-time road high of 197.850.

If it wasn't the season-high all-around score on a night when the top programs in the country easily topped the 198 mark, it was the record-setting event performance on bars that gave the Red Rocks their highest-ever event score in program history β€” a 49.800 on bars.

Oh, and O'Keefe's two 10.0 scores is the first time since 1999 that a Utah gymnast scored two perfect marks in the same meet.

And it all came a week after a season-low score (196.775) on the road against Arizona β€” the program's first-ever loss to the Wildcats. Talk about a bounce back performance.

The Red Rocks finished the meet hitting on all 24 routines β€” the first time this season β€” and still felt like there was more they left on the mat. And it's easy to see that given that Grace McCallum had a 9.975 on bars and a 9.950 on beam, Cristal Isa had a 9.950 on bars and a 9.975 on beam, and Sydney Soloski finished with another 9.975 on floor.

And that's saying nothing of some of the lower scores the Utes recorded as Utah head coach Tom Farden continues to tinker with the lineups with one meet left in the regular season.

Utah opened up the night with a strong vault performance that was topped by senior Cammy Hall's 9.925 in the second position. As she stuck her landing, the 12,253 fans that packed the arena erupted and gave her a standing ovation as her teammates celebrated with her in the senior's final performance at the Huntsman Center.

The emotions of the moment was a tell tale sign of things to come.

Utah used the early momentum and magnified it in the second rotation on bars, where British Olympian Amelie Morgan opened up the event with a 9.875, and the scores grew from there. McCallum posted a nearly perfect 9.975 that was followed by Abby Paulson's 9.875.

But it wasn't until freshman Sage Thompson's bars routine where everyone in the arena knew it would be a special night. The Lehi native executed the event flawlessly and scored the night's first perfect 10.0 β€” the first of her short collegiate career. By the time O'Keefe stuck her landing after Thompson, it was obvious another perfect score was due.

The arena erupted again, and Red Rocks fans wanted more.

In the anchor position, Cristal Isa performed another solid routine for the Red Rocks and finished with a stuck landing, but the judges wouldn't oblige on the back-to-back-to-back perfect scores and she had to settle with a 9.950.

On the third rotation, beam, the Red Rocks put distance on Minnesota as all five scores counted in the team score were above a 9.90, including a 9.90 score from freshman Kara Eaker in her first event back since she sustained a sprained ankle in the first week of the season.

And though fans were happy to see Eaker back on beam, it was the second 10.0 score from O'Keefe in the anchor position that sent the arena into chaos again. There was just too much to celebrate but the fans were there for every minute of it. The Red Rocks finished with a 49.725 to tie their season-high.

After three rotations, all the Red Rocks needed to cross the 198 mark was a 49.100 on floor β€” a number that seemed easily in reach with a season average of 49.494. What the team got instead was a season-tying 49.675 β€” more than enough to score a season high and come up just 0.025 short of tying an all-time high for Utah.

The Red Rocks opened up floor with Paulson's 9.875 and gradually built up the scores from there. Jaylene Gilstrap followed with a 9.90, Jaedyn Rucker earned a 9.925 as she thrived off the energy from the crowd and her teams, and McCallum added a 9.925 of her own before O'Keefe upped it with a 9.950.

With one gymnast to go, could Sydney Soloski get the program's fourth perfect 10.0 of the night?

On senior night, with the emotions already high, Soloski delivered another solid performance of her five-year career with the Red Rocks. And by the time she finished her routine, the crowd was already on its feet giving Soloski the loudest applause of the night. The emotions of the moment overcame her and she sunk into herself and let the tears flow.

Soloski didn't get her coveted 10.0 β€” she scored a 9.975 β€” but it didn't matter. It was another worthy performance for the fans and the perfect ending at the Huntsman Center as a fan favorite.

"I think it's the moment I've dreamt of for a long time," Soloski said. "I even told the girls, I was like, 'After my floor routine, can you just let me have a moment?' So I was like, I had a feeling as soon as I landed I was going to start crying. But it's indescribable the amount of love that I just felt in that moment."

Team scores

No. 4 Red Rocks

  • Vault (49.375)
  • Bars (99.175, 49.800)
  • Beam (148.900, 49.725)
  • Floor (198.575, 49.675)

No. 9 Minnesota

  • Bars (49.375)
  • Vault (98.825, 49.450)
  • Floor (148.375, 49.550)
  • Beam (197.850, 49.475)

Individual Red Rocks scores

1st Rotation: Vault (49.375)

  • Sage Thompson: 9.775
  • Cammy Hall: 9.925
  • Lucy Stanhope: 9.900
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.850
  • Alexia Burch: 9.875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.825

2nd Rotation: Bars (49.800)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.975
  • Abby Paulson: 9.875
  • Sage Thompson: 10.0
  • Maile O'Keefe: 10.0
  • Cristal Isa: 9.950

3rd Rotation: Beam (49.725)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.900
  • Grace McCallum: 9.950
  • Abby Paulson: 9.875
  • Cristal Isa: 9.975
  • Kara Eaker: 9.900
  • Maile O'Keefe: 10.0

4th Rotation: Floor (49.675)

  • Abby Paulson: 9.875
  • Jaylene Gilstrap: 9.900
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.925
  • Grace McCallum: 9.925
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.950
  • Sydney Soloski: 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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