Potential Lineups: Utah

By Caroline Medley


Today we take a look at the lineup possibilities of Pac-12 powerhouse Utah. The Utes will lose a substantial class in the departure of seniors Kailah Delaney, Breanna Hughes, Haley Lange and Kassandra Lopez. In addition, standout sophomore Samantha Partyka has retired early and will not return to the roster this season. Though their incoming class of freshmen is small, the three of them are powerful and could potentially contribute on every event. In addition, the Utes will also gain Maryland transfer Macey Roberts, whose strengths are vault and floor. The team’s depth may suffer slightly, but its success should not.

On vault, the Red Rocks will return no 10.0 start value vaults, as their only one last season belonged to Hughes. However, Baely Rowe has a Yurchenko 1.5 in her back pocket should she choose to use it. Tiffani Lewis, MaKenna Merrell and Rowe will all return nice Yurchenko fulls, and Roberts will bring one as well. Kari Lee should also have her high-scoring Yurchenko full back after a devastating injury early last season. All three freshmen, though, are capable of 10.0 vaults. Missy Reinstadtler and Kim Tessen both performed the Yurchenko 1.5 at J.O. nationals earlier this year. And MyKayla Skinner is capable of a number of difficult vaults, including the Yurchenko double. She’s been steadily cleaning up her execution on the double, so don’t be surprised to see her try it in college competition.

On bars, Utah will take a blow in terms of depth. It should still be able to field a strong lineup, with Lee, Lewis, Rowe and Sabrina Schwab returning strong routines. Reinstadtler will also contribute a solid

routine, and Tessen competes a difficult and clean set that includes a Maloney and a high-flying Jaeger. But those six are the only routines that Utah will expect to use this season. Sophomore Shannon McNatt is still somewhat of an unknown quantity, as she didn’t compete last season, but judging by her J.O. scores, bars is a weaker event for her. Skinner could potentially step in, but her execution on bars isn’t the

cleanest. However, with a less difficult routine, she could make improvements. The Utes may struggle if anything happens to one of their bar workers at any point in the season.

Utah may run into a similar situation on beam. They’ll return three strong veteran routines in Lee, Rowe and Maddy Stover, who all scored 9.9 or higher at least once last season. Then all three freshmen have the potential to contribute as well. Reinstadtler is very steady on the tricky apparatus,

with solid landings on her acrobatic elements and tight form on her jumps. Tessen is perhaps a few connections short of a typical NCAA routine but has really clean lines throughout her skills. Though not necessarily known for her form or consistency on beam, Skinner boasts some impressive difficulty and has been working on some cool upgrades, including a back handspring to full-twisting layout-stepout. Again, though,

this leaves the Red Rocks with just six routines to stick with throughout the season. Luckily, they may have some fallbacks that didn’t get to compete last season. Schwab never made the beam lineup in the 2016 season but definitely has a solid routine ready, as evidenced by an intrasquad video from preseason last fall. It’s possible she could make her beam debut this season, coming in with a clutch routine for her team.

On floor, the Utes won’t have quite as much trouble. Merrell, Rowe, Schwab and Stover will all return solid routines that all scored 9.85 or higher multiple times last season. Lee and Lewis will also contribute difficult routines with the team’s only two E passes, a triple twist and full in, respectively. Roberts and Skinner both consider floor to be their strengths and will look to contribute. Roberts has a career high of 9.9 on floor with a cool 1.5 twist to layout half to stag jump as her final pass. Skinner, on the other hand, has the potential to make every single tumbling run of her routine an E pass. At the Olympic Trials, she competed a Moors and a Silivas — two double-twisting double backs — plus a full-twisting double back and an indirect combination of a 1.5 twist through to a 2.5 twist. She’s also previously competed a double arabian. Though she may not continue to do all of these difficult passes due to the grueling schedule of NCAA competition, don’t be surprised to see more than one E pass in her routine.

Lee began last season as an all arounder before her injury, so as long as she’s up to full strength, it’s likely she’ll compete all four again. Shortly after Lee’s injury, Rowe stepped up to the plate and even won a few all around titles during the season. It’s likely she’ll be given the opportunity again, especially considering that the team’s depth is so low this season. Schwab and Skinner may also have shots at the all around, though each has a weak event that they would have to improve on to make a lineup. Schwab’s is vault, though she seems to be actively working on improving it. In an interview last season, it seems she’d just learned a Yurchenko 1.5, which would definitely be worth putting in the lineup so long as she can land it well. She said then she hoped to show it next year, meaning 2017, so maybe she’ll get the all around call in the coming season. Skinner’s is bars, where both her form and difficulty haven’t always been up to par. However, in the NCAA, it’s easier to stick with more basic skills if the execution is clean, so maybe that strategy will work for her and allow her to improve on bars. All in all, it should be a very good but perhaps very different sort of season for Utah.

Check out our article tomorrow where we’ll wrap up the Pac-12 with the Washington Huskies! Want more potential lineups? Check out our page here, our SEC series, or previous posts in this Pac-12 series:

Arizona | Arizona State | California | Oregon State | Stanford | UCLA

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