No. 5 Utah (9-1, 197.469) vs. No. 20 Utah State (2-9, 196.463)
When: Friday, 7 p.m. MST
Venue: Huntsman Center (15,000 capacity), Salt Lake City
Radio: ESPN 700
Livestream: Pac-12 Networks Live
Series: The Red Rocks and Aggies have met 94 times in a series dominated by Utah. The Utes lead the series 91-3 and are a perfect 39-0 in Salt Lake City. The Red Rocks have won the last 89 matchups between the in-state foes, the most recent win coming in the season opener at the Best of Utah. Utah defeated Utah State 196.900 to 194.350 on Jan. 9, led by Cristal Isa and Maile O’Keefe, who won the all-around and floor and beam titles, respectively. Additionally, Abby Paulson earned a share of the beam title, while Cammy Hall earned her first career victory on vault.
For Utah: The Red Rocks are now the two-time reigning Pac-12 regular season champions, after sweeping through the conference with an undefeated record. After six weeks of Pac-12 competition, Utah’s regular-season finale against Utah State marks the team’s first nonconference meet since the Jan. 17 loss at Oklahoma. Ranked No. 5 in the country, the meet with the Aggies provides an opportunity for Utah to improve its NQS and move up in the national rankings, after falling behind Oklahoma, Florida, LSU and Michigan in the latest Road to Nationals rankings. The Red Rocks’ worst home score counted this season is the 197.375 scored against Cal.
For Utah State: The Aggies are having one of the best seasons in program history, despite a record that could suggest otherwise. Ranked No. 20 in the country, Utah State has all but clinched a berth at NCAA regionals, but can improve its standing in the national rankings with a great meet at Utah. A win over the Red Rocks would be historic, as USU has not defeated the Red Rocks since 1979.
For Utah: O’Keefe turned in the best performance of her collegiate career on the road against Oregon State, confirming yet again that she is the gymnast to watch for Utah. She is the top-ranked gymnast in the country on balance beam, and is also ranked No. 9 in the all-around. Utah has plenty of other gymnasts aside from O’Keefe, though, such as Abby Paulson (ranked No. 4 on beam), Alexia Burch (ranked No. 8 on vault), Sydney Soloski (ranked No. 13 on floor) and Cristal Isa (ranked No. 17 on beam and No. 23 on bars).
For Utah State: Utah State has many gymnasts, 20 in all, and chief among them is Leighton Varnadore and Autumn DeHarde. Varnadore is the reigning Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Gymnast of the Week, after she posted a season-best 39.325 in the all-around last week at the Denver tri-meet. As for DeHarde, she is ranked No. 17 in the nation on beam, the best individual ranking of any Aggie. Rebecca Wells is another gymnast to watch, after she earned vault specialist of the week honors thanks to a career-high 9.875 scored against Denver and Southern Utah on Sunday.
The Red Rocks will head down the road to the Maverik Center in West Valley City for the Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships on March 20. There will be two sessions, one at 1 p.m., the other at 6 p.m., with Utah slated to compete in the later. The last time Utah competed at the conference championships, then-junior MyKayla Skinner scored a perfect 10 on floor to lead the Red Rocks to a season-best 198.025. Utah finished second behind UCLA in that 2019 meet, and the 2020 championships were canceled due to COVID-19.
Jan. 9 — vs. No. 12 BYU, No. 17 Southern Utah and No. 20 Utah State (Best of Utah)
Jan. 17 — at No. 1 Oklahoma
Jan. 23 — vs. Arizona
Jan. 30 — vs. Washington
Feb. 6 — at No. 10 ASU
Feb. 15 — BYE
Feb. 19 — vs. No. 14 UCLA
Feb. 26 — vs. No. 6 California
March 5 — at No. 24 Oregon State
March 12 — vs. No. 20 Utah State (7 p.m.)
March 20 — Pac-12 championships (6 p.m.)
All times MST