The Senior Night ceremonies for Utah’s gymnastics team Friday will be absent one gymnast. That omission is a good thing for the Utes.
Cristal Isa, a regular competitor on the uneven bars and balance beam this year, has decided to return for a fifth year. The Utah gymnast was granted the option by the NCAA since the 2020 season was cut short by the pandemic.
“Competing in the Huntsman Center is great and if I get to do it a few more times, then that is great too,” Isa said of her decision to return.
The other seniors, Cammy Hall, Adrienne Randall, Alexia Burch and Sydney Soloski will be honored in Friday’s 7 p.m., meet against Minnesota.
Even though it is hard for gymnasts to have a long career due to the wear and tear on their bodies from the sport, both Burch and Soloski returned for their fifth year with great success.
Soloski is Utah’s anchor on the floor and Burch regularly competes on the vault and bars. Both also serve crucial leadership roles for the Utes.
Utah coach Tom Farden envisions Isa having a similar fifth year.
“She has the motivation to be here because she is taking classes anyway and she loves gymnastics and being a part of the team,” he said. “She wants to be out there and said flat out that she feels good physically.”
Isa trains all four events, but the four-time All-American is regularly used on just the bars and beam. She scored her first 10.0 on the beam against Oregon State this year and has scored 9.9 or higher five other times. She has scored 9.875 or higher on the uneven bars in all but two meets. Her vault is worth a 9.95 and she has competed once on the floor scoring 9.875.
Isa, from Henderson, Nev., said competing in the Huntsman Center is a special thing for her.
“Being at Utah has exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot and it has been hard at times but a lot of fun, too.”