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Utah vs. Washington: How to watch, listen to or stream the meet

The Red Rocks and Huskies will face off for the first time since the de-facto 2020 Pac-12 regular-season championship, a meet Utah won to claim the inaugural title

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Utah’s Jaedyn Rucker competes on the vault during a meet against Arizona at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

No. 4 Utah (4-1, 196.842) vs. Washington (0-1, 192.875)

When: Saturday, 8 p.m. MST

Venue: Huntsman Center (15,000 capacity; no fans will be allowed in save for a limited number of student-athlete family guests)

TV: ESPN2

Livestream: WatchESPN

Radio: ESPN 700 AM

Series: Utah leads the all-time series with Washington 61-0-2, and is a perfect 24-0 in Salt Lake City. The Red Rocks have never lost to the Huskies, but the programs have tied twice in a meet, both times in Seattle. Utah has won the last 17 competitions with Washington, dating back to 2013, the last time the teams tied. Last year, Utah and Washington met in the de-facto 2020 Pac-12 regular-season championship meet and a clutch 49.600 on beam gave the Red Rocks a 197.675-197.600 win and the inaugural Pac-12 regular-season title.

The stakes

For Utah: After handily defeating Arizona in their home opener, thanks to posting their first team score above a 197 this season, the Red Rocks jumped in the national rankings from No. 6 to No. 4, behind only No. 1 Florida, No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Oklahoma. Another jump could be in the cards with another strong meet — any score above a 197 qualifies this year, as only eight schools have reached that mark — and a win over Washington would give Utah a 2-0 start to Pac-12 competition.

For Washington: The Huskies are in their first season under new head coach Ralph Rosso. They opened the year last week against Oregon State, and struggled mightily, losing 194.925 to 192.875. Falls were an issue, among many other things, as the Huskies had their worst performance in a meet since 2010, when they lost to Oregon State 195.700 to 192.800. A win against Utah would be shocking, but a return to normalcy and with it the stabilization of the program is both possible and needed.

The gymnasts

For Utah: The Red Rocks experimented with their depth against the GymCats to great effect. Freshmen Jaylene Gilstrap, Alani Sabado and Lucy Stanhope all had career outings, as did sophomore Jaedyn Rucker. Sophomore Maile O’Keefe and junior Cristal Isa got something a break as a result, after having competed in the all-around the first two weeks of the season. O’Keefe and Isa remain gymnasts to watch, whether or not they return to all-around competition, along with senior Sydney Soloski and sophomore Abby Paulson.

For Washington: The Huskies are one of the least experienced teams in the Pac-12. With six freshmen and two sophomores, 62% of Washington’s roster is made up by underclassmen. One of those, freshman Skylar Kilough-Wihelm, led the way for the Huskies against the Beavers, along with senior Geneva Thompson. Thompson is the headliner of the Huskies’ returners as an All-Pac-12 vault selection in 2020.

Next up

The Red Rocks travel to Tempe, Arizona, to take on Arizona State. Utah leads the series against Arizona State 78-16-1 (37-2 in Salt Lake City). The Red Rocks have won the last 27 meetings between the programs dating back to a loss at home during the 2003 season. Last year, No. 5 Utah defeated ASU 197.050 to 194.200, powered by career nights by five gymnasts, including now senior Alexia Burch. Burch debuted a Yurchenko 1.5 on vault and earned a career-high 9.95.

Utah schedule

Jan. 9 — vs. No. 17 BYU, No. 23 Southern Utah and Utah State (Best of Utah)

Jan. 17 — at No. 2 Oklahoma

Jan. 23 — vs. Arizona

Jan. 30 — vs. Washington (8 p.m., ESPN2)

Feb. 6 — at ASU (1 p.m. or 7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Feb. 15 — at Stanford (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Feb. 19 — vs. UCLA (7 p.m., ESPNU)

Feb. 26 — vs. California (7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

March 5 — at Oregon State (TBD)

March 12 — vs. Utah State (7 p.m., TBD)

March 20 — Pac-12 championships (TBD)

All times MST