Utah Red Rocks use season and career highs to advance in NCAA gymnastics postseason

Bars and beam were the key events for the Red Rocks.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Abby Paulson performs on the floor during the Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships, at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Utah gymnastics coach Carly Dockendorf said earlier this week that the Red Rocks didn’t need to have their best meet of the season in order to advance to the NCAA Gymnastics Championship Semifinals.

But the gymnasts didn’t seem to get that message.

The Red Rocks scored season highs in two events and multiple gymnasts had career highs on Friday as they finished first in the four-team, second-round meet in Gainesville, Fla. They only needed to finish in the top two to advance.

Utah’s total score was 197.825. It has gotten above 198 at times this season, so technically it wasn’t the team’s “best” performance of the season. But considering the stakes, in many ways it may have been.

Utah scored a 49.575 on bars and 49.600 on beam — both season highs. Gymnasts put up 11 consecutive scores of at least 9.9.

Individually on beam, Amelie Morgan matched her career high of 9.950, and Alani Sabado set a new one.

Utah needed to come from behind against Michigan State in order to take the top spot. Jaedyn Rucker fell on her vault landing. The rest of the vaulters each scored above 9.8. But the Red Rocks trailed Michigan State, which started on floor, by more than one-tenth of a point after the first rotation.

Utah’s beam rotation was its best of the season. But it still slightly trailed Michigan State halfway through the meet.

After the beam rotation, the Red Rocks took the top spot and kept it.

Meet Results

• Utah — 197.825

• Michigan State — 197.475

• Maryland — 196.350

• Towson — 195.050

Top Scores


• Ella Zirbes — 9.875

• Ashley Glynn, Makenna Smith, Grace McCallum — 9.850


• Amelie Morgan — 9.950

• Alani Sabado — 9.925


• Abby Paulson — 9.975

• McCallum — 9.925


• Jaylene Gilstrap — 9.950

• Zirbes — 9.900

This story will be updated.