Utah’s fourth-ranked gymnastics team bounced back from its first loss of the season in impressive fashion Monday, defeating Stanford 197.125-195.8.
The Utes were led by MaKenna Merrell-Giles who won the all-around with a 39.5, and MyKayla Skinner, who won all three events in which she competed.
Skinner was held out of the floor lineup because of her sore ankle, but she still had a huge impact, scoring 9.975 on the vault, 9.95 on the bars and 9.9 on the beam. Merrell-Giles had a 9.9 on the vault, 9.875 on the bars and beam and 9.85 on the floor.
Senior Kari Lee also played a big role in the win, scoring 9.875 on the floor and serving as the leadoff gymnast on the other three events. She earned a 9.825 on the vault, 9.825 on the bars and 9.8 on the beam.
“The seniors and upperclassmen are doing such a good job right now,” Utah coach Tom Farden said. “MyKayla had a beautiful vault and MaKenna just keeps going. I asked her how she felt and she said good so I said ‘let’s go.’ They are doing a good job of not only leading by example but scoring too. It’s the sweet spot you want with leadership.”
The Utes moved Lee into the leadoff spot on the beam as they still struggle with consistency. While Lee had a good routine, the Utes still had some issues, with Alexia Burch taking a fall and Sydney Soloski scoring 9.6. Utah settled for a 49.0, but unlike Friday when a poor beam effort lost the meet to LSU, the Utes were far enough ahead of Stanford to preserve the win.
“The greedy part of me wanted more out of beam,” Farden said. “Kari did a good job for us up there but we need more consistency.”
The Utes had a great start, scoring 49.375 on the uneven bars to open the meet, led by Skinner’s 9.95 and 9.875s from Merrell-Giles and Missy Reinstadtler.
Stanford had just a 48.725 on the vault. The Utes all but put the meet away on vault with a 49.45, their third highest score of the season on the event. Skinner led the team with her 9.975, but they Utes also had 9.9s from Kim Tessen and Merrell-Giles. The only disappointing vault was from freshman Alexia Burch who landed short and scored just 9.525.
However, Burch was battling the flu and the low vault score prompted the Utes to pull her from the floor lineup. She was replaced by Kim Tessen, who performed her first floor routine since 2017, scoring 9.825. Freshman Adrienne Randall won the floor with a 9.9. With the two road meets behind them, the Utes will have a short week to prepare for Saturday’s showdown with third-ranked UCLA. Despite the inconsistent beam work, Farden feels like the team is ready.
“We’re in a good spot and we are excited,” he said. “It’s going to be a little bit of a meet Saturday.”
No. 4 Utah 197.125, Stanford 195.8
In short: MyKayla Skinner won all three events in which she competed to lead the Utes past Stanford.
Key moment: After Alexia Burch fell from the balance beam, Adrienne Randall got the Utes going again with a 9.825.
Key stat: Kari Lee was used as the leadoff on beam and scored 9.8.
Vault: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) 9.975
Uneven bars: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) 9.95
Balance beam: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) 9.9
Floor: Adrienne Randall (Utah) 9.9