Members of Utah’s gymnastics team said they wanted to make a statement with their performance in the NCAA Regionals Championships.

Goal achieved.

The Utes won the Salt Lake Regional on Saturday with a score of 197.475 to earn their spot in the NCAA Championships, held April 20-21 in St. Louis.

The Utes are the only team to qualify for all 37 NCAA Championships. Utah has won 31 region titles, including the last three in a row.

Cal also qualified from Utah’s regional, scoring 196.725. Missing the cut were Auburn (196.525), Brigham Young (196.3), Stanford (195.6) and Southern Utah (194.625).

Utah sophomore MyKayla Skinner won her second all-around regional title with a 39.65 and tied for the floor and uneven bars titles.

The Utes were determined to shake off the disappointment of finishing second to UCLA at the Pac-12 Championships with a big effort on Saturday. They did have one fall, but had enough highlights elsewhere and won convincingly enough to leave the team happy.

“I’m so proud of everyone on this team,” said junior MaKenna Merrell-Giles. “We put everything we had into it. We had a few mistakes, but for the most part we put everything together and competed like we practice.”

The Utes used the unfamiliar rotation of starting on floor to their advantage as they blasted out of the gates with a 49.6 on the power event, tying their second-best mark of the season. Both Merrell-Giles and Skinner earned 9.95s while Sydney Soloski, Kari Lee and Missy Reinstadtler all had 9.9s.

“Floor was incredible,” Utah coach Tom Farden said. “In warmups I was a little bit of ‘wow,’ because we were doing a few uncharacteristic things, but then in the meet, we had what I termed ‘controlled aggression.’ We did a good job out there to win floor in the first rotation, we were pleased with that.”

Utah followed that effort with a 49.35 on the vault, keeping them in first place with a 98.95 with the balance beam and bars remaining. Cal (98.525) and Auburn (98.35) were in the battle for second.

After a bye, the Utes posted a 49.2 on the uneven bars, a respectable score that could have been higher if more Utes had stuck their landings.

Skinner led the Utes with a 9.9.

Individual winners

Vault: Drew Watson (Auburn) 9.92

Uneven bars: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Shannon Hortman-Evans (BYU), Samantha Cerio (Auburn) 9.9

Balance beam: Missy Reinstadtler (Utah), Abby Milliet (Auburn) 9.92

Floor: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), MaKenna Merrell-Giles (Utah) 9.95

All-Around: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) 39.65

The effort was good enough though to increase the lead over Cal to 148.15-147.7, with the Bears scoring a 49.125 on the beam.

Utah finished the meet with a 49.325 on the balance beam, led by a season high of 9.925 from Reinstadtler and a 9.9 from Skinner. The highlight of the rotation was set up by a rare fall from Kari Lee in the fourth spot. Her mistake put the pressure on Reinstadtler, a sophomore who has had some trouble on the event this season.

But she was rock solid Saturday, earning the team’s high score and the tying for the individual title.

“I’ve hit every part of that routine, just not all at once,” Reinstadtler said. “The first half of the routine went well and I tried not to get ahead of myself and get too excited and it paid off.”

Farden credited Reinstadtler for having a ‘clutch,’ effort.

“We knew of her capability and in this atmosphere, for her to go out there with that demeanor in her eyes, it was stunning. It was clutch for this team and they embraced the moment and kept marching on.”


Individual Winners Vault: Drew Watson (Auburn) 9.925 Uneven bars: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Shannon Hortman-Evans (BYU), Samantha Cerio (Auburn) 9.9 Balance beam: Missy Reinstadtler (Utah), Abby Milliet (Auburn) 9.925 Floor: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), MaKenna Merrell-Giles (Utah) 9.95 All-Around: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) 39.65