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Utah gymnastics’ Maile O’Keefe named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week

O’Keefe is Utah’s first freshman to be honored by the conference this season

Utah’s Maile O’Keefe balances on the beam during her mount in the Arizona State and University of Utah gymnastics meet at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Immediately following Utah’s win at the Best of Utah meet earlier this month, Red Rocks’ head coach Tom Farden spoke at length about freshman Maile O’Keefe.

Amid much praise and a few critiques of the freshman’s performance, Farden made a prediction: O’Keefe was on the cusp of a breakout performance.

“I think she is closing in on a complete, amazing meet,” he told the Deseret News.

That meet came over the weekend against Arizona State. O’Keefe recorded three career-highs, including a 9.80 on vault, a 9.775 on uneven bars and a 9.875 on floor exercise, on the way to an all-around winning score of 39.225.

Wednesday afternoon, in recognition of her breakout showing, she was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

O’Keefe is the first Utah gymnast to win the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award this season and just the second Red Rock to earn one of the conference’s weekly awards. The first was senior Kim Tessen, who took home Specialist of the Week honors on Jan. 14.

O’Keefe is the first Utah freshman to win Freshman of the Week honors since Adrienne Randall did so on Feb. 2, 2019, following a breakout performance against Arizona.

The Las Vegas native is also the first Utah freshman to compete in the all-around since 2017, when MyKayla Skinner competed as an all-arounder in every meet (Missy Reinstadtler competed once in the all-around that year, against California).

Red Rocks on the air

No. 4 Utah (5-0, 1-0) at No. 21 Arizona (5-2, 0-1)

McKale Center, Tucson, AZ

Saturday, 2 p.m. MST

Live stream: Pac-12 Plus (will stream for free on the Pac-12 Plus Facebook page)