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Utah’s gymnastics team is deep, so Sydney Soloski’s role has been reduced — but Utes still look to her as their leader

Senior has evolved into a floor specialist this season, and she’s excelling there

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sydney Soloski competes on the floor for Utah, in PAC-12 gymnastics action Utah vs Arizona, at the Huntsman Center onSaturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Utah senior Sydney Soloski would like to put out a public service announcement for Ute gymnastics fans. Her senior year is going great, so stop worrying.

Soloski, one of Utah’s team captains and a seasoned competitor, is competing only on the floor so far this year, prompting some to wonder if anything is wrong with the Calgary, Alberta native.

In short, there is nothing wrong, she is great, but so is the rest of her team.

The Utes have a very youth-centric team this year with sophomores Maile O’Keefe, Abby Paulson, Jaedyn Rucker and freshman Lucy Stanhope all competing in at least two events.

Theirsuccess means less opportunities for some of the upperclassmen, including Soloski, but that’s not a bad thing, Soloski said.

“My role this year has changed a lot,” she acknowledged. “I went from being a two-eventer last year to this very moment of being the floor anchor, but I’m not discouraged or upset. I’m not going to bemoan the fact we have a lot of depth on vault. Ultimately I want to do what best for the team.”

If it sounds like Soloski is just spouting the company line, she isn’t. Soloski has been one of Utah’s strongest leaders in past seasons and that attitude hasn’t changed, Utah coach Tom Farden said.

“We have the luxury of having a little depth and a lot of athletes are pushing hard to get into lineup spots,” Farden said. “Everyone wants to be one of the six and are clawing for one of those spots. We haven’t seen this for a while and I’m having to do a lot of pre-lineup damage control and pull kids aside and tell them why we are making the decisions we are making. Sydney is there, but she knows we are doing what is best for the team.”

SOLOSKI’S FLOOR SCORES BY MEET

Best of Utah 9.775

Oklahoma 9.9

Arizona 9.925

Washington 9.975

Arizona State 9.9

Soloski is excelling as the anchor on floor, scoring 9.9 or higher in the last four meets, including a 9.975 against Washington.

“My goal this year was to hit 9.9 or above in every meet,” said Soloski, who has missed that goal only once by scoring a 9.775 in the season opener. “I kept the same composition from last year and worked diligently on getting the deductions out.”

Soloski was a starter on beam and floor in 2019 and on floor and vault last year.

Of the events, she said she’d rather earn a spot on the beam than the floor.

“I’ve never been as consistent on beam as I am right now,” she said. “When I was on beam in my freshman and sophomore year I managed to just do Ok. For me, vault is not a great friend.”

Farden said Soloski is hovering around seventh or eight on the depth chart for both vault and beam, so it’s quite possible she could be called upon to compete.

Until then, the Utes couldn’t be happier with her floor efforts.

“For her to wait until the very, very end of the meet and then go out and knock out those routines she has takes a lot,” Farden said. “Talk about an athlete who turns it on and she has done an amazing job. She is chasing that 10.”

UTAH VS. UCLA

At the Huntsman Center

When • Friday, 7 p.m.

TV • ESPNU


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