Vault performance a pleasant early-season surprise for Utah gymnastics team
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Cammy Hall is congratulated after her vault routine as the University of Utah fifth-ranked gymnastics team hosts No. 12 University of Kentucky during its home opener, Jan. 3, 2020, at the Huntsman Center.
For an event that Utah’s gymnastics team was supposed to be weaker in this season, the vault is turning out to be an early surprise in 2020.
The fifth-ranked Utes, who host Arizona State on Friday at 7 p.m., are ranked fifth nationally in the vault, averaging 49.15.
Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 with a 49.392 average.
That the Utes are doing well so far in the event is exciting for coach Tom Farden.
“That all of our captains are in the lineup makes a difference,” he said of Kim Tessen, Missy Reinstadtler and Sydney Soloski. “We have some good leadership so that gives us some stability.”
While the Utes continue to tweak things, the vault lineup seems to be settling.
Soloski seems to be a natural as the leadoff, scoring 9.8 in the season opener and 9.825 in the Best of Utah.
“She gives us a big shot in the arm,” Farden said. “She worked hard in the offseason and preseason and has improved her vault and is giving us a good start. That was our MO last year, to have a nice, dependable routine to get us started and that is Sydney.”
Sophomore Cammy Hall and Reinstadtler are in the second and third spots, followed by freshman Maile O’Keefe sliding into the fourth spot.
O’Keefe has scored 9.775s in the two meets this year as she continues to make her landings more consistent.
“We have worked on that a lot in the off week,” Farden said. “We are narrowing her landing and seeing it better.”
Tessen and Alexia Burch both have been used in the fifth and sixth spots.
Out of those competing, Tessen, Burch and Hall have 10.0 vaults. Reinstadtler and Jillian Hoffman, a freshman who has been sidelined with a sprained ankle, also are working toward 10.0 vaults, giving the Utes more scoring potential.
The Utes are hopeful Hoffman will work her way back into the lineup starting with the uneven bars this week.
“What I really like about our vaulting is the progression,” Farden said. “We had a 49.175 at the Best of Utah, 49.225 on bars and on up from there. That’s what we want to see.”