No. 4 Utah Red Rocks come up just short against No. 3 Cal

Utah gymnastics team, forced to make changes on the fly, suffers its first Pac-12 loss of the season

The Utah Red Rocks are no longer undefeated in the Pac-12.

No. 4 Utah lost by four-tenths of a point to No. 3 Cal on Saturday afternoon, 198.100-197.700. The Red Rocks were 5-0 in the conference — tied with the Golden Bears — heading into the meet.

Cal clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular season championship with the win.

“Not obviously the total outcome that we were hoping for today,” coach Carly Dockendorf said. “But a pretty decent road score for us.”

Junior Grace McCallum and senior Maile O’Keefe provided the top scores for Utah. McCallum scored a 9.950 on bars, while O’Keefe got the same score on floor. Freshman Ella Zirbes also had another stellar meet with two scores above 9.900.

As a team, though, Utah may be disappointed by its performance.

The Red Rocks looked primed to upset the Golden Bears after just one rotation. Utah was tied with No. 3 Cal after the Red Rocks performed on bars and the Golden Bears on vault. But after that, things started to slip away from Utah.

It started with Makenna Smith’s 9.525 on vault. Coach Carly Dockendorf said Smith’s back “flared up” earlier in the week and she hadn’t practiced since Tuesday, and the staff was monitoring her as she competed Saturday. Dockendorf chose to rest Smith for the final two events because her back was “a little bit tight.”

Smith’s back was one of the reasons Dockendorf changed her lineup in three events as the meet progressed. She also replaced McCallum with Jaylene Gilstrap on vault. Dockendorf said McCallum’s pre-meet warmup was “not great,” and she only wanted to get in a “safe” vault after Smith’s fall rather than introduce McCallum’s new vault.

McCallum also stopped during the last pass of her floor routine despite what looked like another solid performance up until that point.

“Grace is human just like everybody else,” Dockendorf said. “She was just having a little bit of an off day. It wasn’t her day on floor today.”

The Red Rocks could still finish with only one loss in conference competition. Their remaining meets against Arizona and Stanford are guaranteed wins on paper.

But Utah has much bigger goals than the Pac-12 title. Dockendorf said her team left some 10s on the table with some of their landings — a refrain that is becoming common when taking into account the last two meets especially.

Dockendorf said those small details have to get better if the Red Rocks want to contend for championships this year.

“If we want to contend for the national title and Pac-12 title at that, we’re going to have to clean up some details still,” Dockendorf said. “Some of the mistakes we saw tonight are mistakes that we have been seeing. So we definitely need to be a little more disciplined with our execution and continue to make adjustments and practice every day so that they don’t continue to show up when we go to compete.”

Final Score

Cal: 198.100

Utah: 197.700

Top Utah scores


• Grace McCallum, 9.950

Ella Zirbes, 9.900

• Alani Sabado, 9.875


• Abby Paulson, 9.925

• Maile O’Keefe, 9.925

• McCallum, 9.900


• O’Keefe, 9.950

• Zirbes, 9.925

• Jaylene Gilstrap, 9.925

• Jaedyn Rucker, 9.900


• Ashley Glynn, 9.900

• Rucker, 9.900

• Ella Zirbes, 9.850

• Camie Winger, 9.850