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Oklahoma claims title as Red Rocks fall to 3rd-place finish

Utah's Sydney Soloski competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA college women's gymnastics championships, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Gareth Patterson, Associated Press)


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” Bookended by championship-worthy scores, the No. 4 Red Rocks put up a worthy fight in its 46th straight national championship appearance Saturday afternoon.

That effort, though, was not good enough as No. 1 Oklahoma pulled away to claim the women's gymnastics title with a 198.200 score, beating out runner-up No. 2 Florida (198.0875), Utah (197.750) and No. 7 Auburn (197.350).

The Red Rocks opened up the meet on beam, its best event of the season, and delivered.

British Olympian Amelie Morgan set the tone in the leadoff spot with a stuck landing and a 9.8875 score. Abby Paulson and Maile O'Keefe added 9.90 scores of their own to add a strong base to the team score, but it was freshman Kara Eaker that stole the show.

The alternate at the latest Summer Olympic Games was fluid and steady as she wooed the crowd in attendance. She finished it off with a perfectly stuck landing and a 9.950 score to show for it β€” a worthy finish to a season that started off with an ankle injury that held her out of much of the year.

It was enough to give the Red Rocks a 49.5125 team score and the lead after the first rotation. Oklahoma trailed the competition in fourth place with a shaky floor and finished with a 49.1875 opening rotation score.

Whatever the reason, Oklahoma had no problem putting the opening rotation behind it as it built momentum throughout the meet and ran away with a victory.

The Sooners made up some ground on vault, where the team finished with a 49.6625 score, but still trailed the Red Rocks. But that was just the beginning as Oklahoma scored a 49.7250 on bars and then rounded out the meet with a 49.625 on beam to seal the victory.

The Red Rocks continued its success on floor in the second rotation, with Abby Paulson scoring a 9.90 to start off. Super senior Sydney Soloski rounded out the event with a team-high 9.9125 score to put an end to her collegiate career.

As Soloski finished her routine, she yelled out a big scream in excitement and then the tears came as she realized it was the end for her. But what a stellar career for the floor specialist.

The early success through the first two rotations took a turn on vault for the Red Rocks, though, with several missteps and a fall by Cammy Hall in the anchor position to finish with a low 49.2250 score.

The highlight of the event was Jaedyn Rucker following up her vault title on Thursday with a perfectly stuck 9.975 score in the third position. But even Rucker's dominant vault wasn't enough to keep the Red Rocks afloat, and the team slipped to third heading into the final rotation.

Needing a bit of a miracle to overcome vault, the Red Rocks closed out the meet on bars and started out with a bang. Morgan, again, led off with a 9.90 score, and it was followed up by a 9.950 score by Olympian Grace McCallum. Sage Thompson added a 9.9125 score in the fourth spot and it was followed up by Maile O'Keefe's 9.90 to give the team a 49.550 team score.

It was a solid finish, but Oklahoma and Florida were too dominant down the stretch.

Utah's Sydney Soloski competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA college women's gymnastics championships, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Utah's Sydney Soloski competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA college women's gymnastics championships, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo: Gareth Patterson, Associated Press)

Team scores

No. 1 Oklahoma

  • Floor (49.1875)
  • Vault (98.8500, 49.6625)
  • Bars (148.5750, 49.7250)
  • Beam (198.2000, 49.6250)

No. 2 Florida

  • Vault (49.3500)
  • Bars (98.8750, 49.5250)
  • Beam (148.3750, 49.5000)
  • Floor (198.0875, 49.7125)

No. 4 Utah

  • Beam (49.5125)
  • Floor (98.9750, 49.4625)
  • Vault (148.2000, 49.2250)
  • Bars (197.7500, 49.5500)

No. 7 Auburn

  • Bars (49.4250)
  • Beam (98.6250, 49.2000)
  • Floor (148.0125, 49.3875)
  • Vault (197.3500, 49.3375)

Individual Red Rocks scores

1st Rotation: Beam (49.5125)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.8875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.8750
  • Abby Paulson: 9.9000
  • Cristal Isa: 9.8375
  • Kara Eaker: 9.9500
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.9000

2nd Rotation: Floor (49.4625)

  • Abby Paulson: 9.9000
  • Jaylene Gilstrap: 9.8625
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.8875
  • Grace McCallum: 9.9000
  • Maile O'Keefe: 8.7000
  • Sydney Soloski: 9.9125

3rd Rotation: Vault (49.2250)

  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.8125
  • Lucy Stanhope: 9.7625
  • Jaedyn Rucker: 9.9750
  • Alexia Burch: 9.8375
  • Grace McCallum: 9.8375
  • Cammy Hall: 9.2500

4th Rotation: Bars (49.5500)

  • Amelie Morgan: 9.9000
  • Grace McCallum: 9.9500
  • Abby Paulson: 9.8000
  • Sage Thompson: 9.9125
  • Maile O'Keefe: 9.9000
  • Cristal Isa: 9.8875

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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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