SALT LAKE CITY — Junior MyKayla Skinner captured the all-around and floor titles to lead Utah gymnastics as the Utes scored a 196.800 to win their NCAA Baton Rouge Semifinal group Friday and advance to the regional final.
The Utes, despite posting their lowest score of the year, easily advanced to Saturday’s action by besting Minnesota (196.300), Arkansas (196.175) and BYU (195.550).
LSU (197.200) and Auburn (197.075) advanced in the night’s second semifinal session, followed by Arizona State (195.425) and George Washington (194.675).
Skinner won the all-around with a score of 39.525, while capturing the floor title with a score of 9.925. It’s the third time Skinner has won the regional all-around and floor titles, as she has eight regional titles in her career.
Missy Reinstadtler tied Skinner for second on bars with 9.90, while Skinner tied for third on vault at 9.90. MaKenna Merrell-Giles took third in the all-around in the afternoon session with a 39.325.
"First and foremost, we are excited to move on to tomorrow's final," Utah co-head coach Tom Farden said in a news release. "Using today as our baseline, our performance and scores will improve tomorrow if we work with more confidence and trust. The gymnasts know they are capable of more, but morale is good and they are really excited to move on."
Junior Shannon Evans scored a 39.225 in the all-around to lead the BYU effort, good enough for fifth in the first session. Evans was fifth on the floor (9.875) while teammate Helody Cyrenne tied for first on the uneven bars (9.900).
“I am super proud of these girls, and it was a great fight today as we hung with some of the best teams in the country,” BYU head coach Guard Young said in a news release. “We look at this as a stepping stone for the program. The girls need to remember the feeling and to be proud of the season and the effort given today, but we are not done. The hard part begins as we need to stay motivated through the summer.”
Utah, Minnesota, LSU and Auburn will now compete in the Baton Rouge Regional final Saturday at 6 p.m. MDT. It will be broadcast on SECN+ and ESPN 700 radio.
Southern Utah competed in the Corvallis Regional Friday, finishing fourth in the first session with a score of 195.350. Freshman Karley McClain led the T-Birds with a 39.175 score in the all-around.
"I'm so proud of the girls and how they were able to overcome so much adversity this year and stay strong and I think they learned so much this year," SUU head coach Scott Bauman said in a news release.
Utah State had three gymnasts compete at Corvallis, including Madison Ward-Sessions, MaKayla Bullitt and Autmn DeHarde. Ward-Sessions led the way, as she had a 9.925 score on floor to take second and finished with an all-around score of 38.435.
The top two teams at each regional advance to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, April 19-20. Utah is aiming for its 44th straight appearance at the national championships.