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Utah gymnast Kara Eaker will miss Friday’s meet against Oklahoma due to ankle injury

Freshman and Olympic alternate will undergo MRI this week.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah’s Kara Eaker walks away in pain after injuring her ankle when her hand slipped on the vault causing her to fall during the Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

The depth of Utah’s gymnastics program is going to be tested a lot sooner than expected as Utah coach Tom Farden said he isn’t planning to have freshman Kara Eaker available Friday when the fourth-ranked Utes host No. 3 Oklahoma in the home opener at the Huntsman Center.

Eaker was helped off the floor after her hand slipped on the vault, causing her to land awkwardly in the Utes’ season-opening win in the Best of Utah meet at the Maverik Center.

Eaker, an alternate on the Olympic team, will undergo an MRI this week on her ankle.

“We are gutted for Kara,” Farden said. “We will take the next steps after learning what we are dealing with.”

The injury to Eaker puts a damper on the Utes’ plans of loading their lineups with Olympic talent. Eaker scored a 9.875 on the balance beam and a 9.8 on the floor in her debut in the Best of Utah meet.

She was replaced by Jillian Hoffman on the vault. Hoffman, who scored a 9.8, could go in the lineup as could veteran Maile O’Keefe. With so much depth in the vault lineup the Utes elected to let O’Keefe sit out the vault and floor lineups Friday.

Isa could be another possible replacement on floor and on beam. Adrienne Randall, a starter on beam in every meet last year, is waiting for her shot on that event.

The meet against the Sooners is the most anticipated home meet of the year since the Sooners have won national titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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