Utah’s gymnastics team not only has the challenge of competing for the second time in three days but also respond to its first loss of the season.
The Utes, who placed second behind LSU in a quad meet Friday, compete at Stanford Monday at 3 p.m.
Stanford also competed in the quad meet in St. Charles, Mo., finishing fourth with a 195.85. Utah at least kept up its string of 197-plus meets, scoring 197.075.
When they were devising the schedule, Utah’s coaches thought they would go with a Team A and a Team B, but nagging injuries might prevent them from doing so to a large extent, although coach Tom Farden does want to experiment.
“We would like to rest some, especially on the floor,” he said.
MyKayla Skinner, who missed two meets with a cranky ankle but competed in the quad meet, will sit out the Stanford event so she can be rested for the upcoming showdown with UCLA.
NO. 4 UTAH AT STANFORD
At Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
When: Monday, 3 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Records: Utah (8-1, 4-0), Stanford (5-7, 0-4)
Series: Utah leads 33-6
Of note: Utah has won the last 13 matchups dating back to a loss at Stanford in 2014 … Utah has yet to score below 197 … Stanford’s season high is a 196.125 in a Jan. 21 loss to Cal … Top all-arounder is Kyla Bryan who has a season-high of 39.475 … Kari Lee won her third-straight balance beam title Friday with a 9.9.
Farden said both Kim Tessen and Alexia Burch could compete on the floor. Also, freshman Hunter Dula and sophomore Lauren Wong, who warmed up on vault for the quad meet but didn’t compete, could get a chance to do so against the Cardinal.
Farden said he was unsure whether MaKenna Merrell-Giles, who has been so steady in the all-around, would get a break on Monday. “We check in with the athletes all the time and see how their bodies feel and she says she feels great and strong,” he said.
Most concerning for the Utes is figuring out their inconsistent beam efforts. The Utes were leading on Friday, but scored just 49.05 on the beam to allow LSU to take the lead.
The Utes didn’t have any falls, but did have several subpar efforts. Farden is interested to see how the Utes respond on beam Monday, particularly after the loss.
“I told them we can’t have a letdown,” he said. “They want to go up against top teams and teams outside the Pac-12, and now I hope they respond and become more fierce competitors.”