Utah’s gymnastics team suffered its first loss of the season Friday as the Utes finished second to LSU in the GymQuarters Invitational in St. Charles, Mo.
The fourth-ranked Utes were nipped by the fifth-ranked Tigers 197.25-197.075. Missouri was third with a 196.475 and Stanford was fourth with a 195.85.
LSU’s Sarah Finnegan was the star of the meet, winning the all-around (39.65), vault (9.95), bars (9.925) and floor (9.925).
Utah senior Kari Lee won the balance beam with a 9.9.
Utah and Stanford will meet again at Stanford in a Pac-12 dual meet on Monday.
“We had every intention of running the table, but today just wasn’t our day,” Utah coach Tom Farden said.
The Utes were caught by LSU in the third rotation where they were competing on the balance beam. Utah went into the event with a 98.65, while LSU was right behind it with a 98.525. Instead of a solid showing to maintain their edge, Utah had several bobbles and scored just 49.05 for a 147.7, while LSU moved into the lead with a 148 thanks to a big effort on the floor.
Utah didn’t have any falls off the beam, but it didn’t have any real stunning efforts, either, outside of the 9.9 earned by Lee. MyKayla Skinner and MaKenna Merrell-Giles had 9.85s, but the Utes also had to count a 9.75 from Sydney Soloski and a 9.7, which was earned by both Shannon McNatt and Adrienne Randall.
“50 percent of the lineup did a nice job and 50 percent didn’t do what we have been doing in practice,” Farden said. “We are trying to find some solutions on that event and we will keep working on it.”
The score was Utah’s third lowest of the season in the event, although the Utes might have grumbled some that Skinner was deducted too harshly for bending at the waist when she landed.
The Utes had a valiant effort on the floor where Skinner competed after missing two meets with a sore ankle. She led the Utes with a 9.925 and Soloski had a 9.9, while the other three counting scores were 9.85 for a 49.375, but it wasn’t enough to catch LSU.
The final results were disappointing for the Utes, particularly after they had a solid start on vault, scoring a 49.375. MaKenna Merrell-Giles had a 9.925 and MyKayla Skinner and Macey Roberts added 9.9s.
The bars were OK for the Utes but not fantastic as they scored a 49.275. The high was a 9.925 from Missy Reinstadtler.
Farden said the effort gave the Utes a reminder of what to expect in the postseason, when they won’t be able to afford any mediocre routines, much less event showings.
“It’s unfortunate we gave it away in one event,” he said of the beam. “We are working every angle on that event, obviously most of it is mental, and we have to find a solution to that.”