NCAA Gymnastics: Utah edge UCLA in a highly charged meet
NCAA Gymnastics: Utah edge UCLA in a highly charged meet| Source: Nicole Boliaux - Deseret News

NCAA Gymnastics: Utah edge UCLA in a highly charged meet

Utah hosted UCLA and the hosts edged the win. A perfect 10 by UCLA on the bars could not take the victory for the visitors

glenys-furness
Glenys Furness

With Utah hosting UCLA, five against four emotions were running high. Utah had come to the preceding events with under par performances, and the threat of season-ending injuries amongst other things. Utah fans may not have been expecting a lot from their team. However, the gymnasts still had the believe that they could put together good routines on the night.

Vault

Baely Rowe celebrates after vault for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City/Utah Athletics
Baely Rowe celebrates after performing on the vault for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City | Source: Utah Athletics

Kyla Ross landed the best vault of the night for UCLA scoring an impressive 9.875. Unfortunately, this was only good enough for tied third place as  MyKayla Skinner topped the scoring with an impressive 9.925. Marginally behind was Kari Lee also from UTAH with a slightly lower score of 9.900. MaKenna Merrell made it one, two, three for UTAH as she landed a 9.875.

Bars

MyKayla Skinner celebrates after uneven bars for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City/Utah Athletics
MyKayla Skinner celebrates after uneven bars for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City | Source: Utah Athletics

The bars saw UCLA land the highest score possible. Ross hit the perfect 10.00 on the night Skinner and Baely Rowe scored highly for UTAH but not quite high enough to overtake Ross. Poor Peng-Peng Lee will want to forget her bar routine, as a poor routine only secured a 9.450.

During the rotations, the UTAH crowd were very rowdy and in some cases very rude. There was booing, which would be generally accepted in soccer, but not often come across in gymnastics. Much worse though were the rude gestures by the UTAH crowd involving "flipping off" the gymnasts.

This is unheard of in the sport and certainly not very nice, difficult to ignore, and could be seen as bad sportsmanship in trying to put the gymnasts off.

Beam

Makenna Merrel performs on balance beam for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City/Utah Athletics
Makenna Merrel performs on balance beam for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City | Source: Utah Athletics

Despite all of this going on Madison Kocian and Katelyn Ohashi of UCLA held their nerve, topping the score with 9.950 Rowe was close behind with 9.925.

Both teams were still close at this point. Everyone was giving their all, determined to do their best to secure the win.

Merrell and Lee were left with work to do on their beam routines after scoring only 9.825 each.

Floor

Tiffani Lewis performs on floor exercise for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City/Utah Athletic
Tiffani Lewis performs on floor exercise for Utah against UCLA in Salt Lake City | Source: Utah Athletics

This was the apparatus that saw UTAH seal the victory. With Merrell, Rowe & Skinner all tying on 9.950. Stella Savvidou for UCLA had a nightmare of a routine and only scored 9.050.

There was not much between the remaining gymnasts, however, UTAH edged the win 197.875 to 197.500 to gain a win over the number 4 team

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