Recruit Files: Makenna Smith, Utah

Name: Makenna Smith
Club: Gold Cup, NM
High School Graduation Year: 2022

NCAA Team: Utah
Commitment Announcement: Instagram
Social Handles: Twitter | Instagram 

Personal Bests

VaultUneven BarsBalance BeamFloor ExerciseAll Around


VaultUneven BarsBalance BeamFloor Exercise
2020 Biles Invitational2020 Biles Invitational2020 California Grand Invitational2020 California Grand Invitational

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VaultUneven BarsBalance BeamFloor ExerciseAll AroundRating

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About Makenna

Smith is a two-time level 10 nationals qualifier (2018 and 2019). She won silver on floor both years. She is the 2019 New Mexico state champion and a Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier. In 2020 she qualified elite at the Metroplex Challenge, but her dreams were cut short when season was cancelled because of the pandemic. She scored career highs on vault, bars and floor in 2020. She was previously committed to Ohio State.

What She Brings to Utah


  • Skill: Yurchenko half on front pike
  • Results: first place at the 2020 Biles Invitational (career high)
  • Margin of Improvement: Smith performs a beautiful vault, with clean form and impressive height. It is a 10.0 start value in college.
  • Impact on the Team: Smith’s vault will be a great addition to Utah’s lineup, especially given that the Red Rocks will seek to replace Cammy Hall in 2023.

Uneven Bars

  • Skills: stalder full pirouette, Chow to Tkatchev, Pak salto, Van Leuween, double Arabian dismount
  • Results: third place at the 2019 Region 3 regionals
  • Margin of Improvement: Smith has displayed impressive improvements on bars in the past year as a result of her elite training. Her routine’s difficulty will likely be downgraded, making it even more consistent. Her 2021 routine seems to include a toe-on full pirouette, a Chow to Pak salto and a double Arabian dismount. 
  • Impact on the Team: Smith will join an impressive lineup, which will include Maile O’Keefe, Alani Sabado, Grace McCallum and Sage Thompson. She will be expected to contribute, though.

Balance Beam

  • Skills: full turn, front tuck somersault, switch leap to wolf jump to leap jump, front aerial to BHS + LOSO, straddle jump half on the side of the beam, BHS + BH + double twist dismount
  • Results: 2019 Region 3 champion
  • Margin of Improvement: Smith can be a bit tentative at times here, but her routine is difficult and her form is good, except for some knee issues on her acrobatic series. Her 2021 set is likely to include a triple wolf turn to double wolf turn, too.
  • Impact on the Team: Utah will have a stratospheric beam team in 2023, which will include O’Keefe, Abby Paulson, McCallum and Kara Eaker. Smith has the potential to challenge for a lineup spot.

Floor Exercise

  • Skills: double Arabian, 1.5 twist to front tuck, double pike, 2.5 twist
  • Results: 2018 and 2019 L10 nationals silver medalist
  • Margin of Improvement: Smith competes a difficult routine and has four passes to choose from for her collegiate composition. She loses her toe point on her leaps, though.
  • Impact on the Team: Apart from Mykayla Skinner, Utah often relies on execution, rather than on difficult tumbling passes. Smith will change it, bringing a big E pass to open her routine.

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Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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