LIVE BLOG: No. 3 Utah at No. 16 Arizona State

This afternoon’s meet presents a great opportunity for Arizona State. Currently sitting third in the conference, the Sun Devils have a chance to prove they belong in the top half of the Pac-12 with a strong performance against third-ranked and conference leader Utah in town. While the Utes are certainly the favorites, Arizona State will be looking to stay close to Utah to maintain its ranking and have a chance at the upset should the Utes falter. The Sun Devils nearly pulled that off against UCLA in week three, so anything can happen.

The storyline for Utah tonight will be its quest to post its first 197 on the road this year, and hopefully overtake LSU in the national rankings, as the Tigers sat .008 points above the Utes coming into the weekend. Maile O’Keefe has emerged as Utah’s star gymnast this season, ranking second nationally on beam, fifth in the all around, and notching the only perfect 10 on beam in the country so far. Also make sure to watch Utah on vault. Vault has been the lowest scoring event for the Utes, but now with four 10.0 start values, we should expect scores to start going up as long as they can hit.

For Arizona State, all eyes were on senior Cairo Leonard-Baker coming into the season, but sophomore Hannah Scharf has asserted herself as the team’s top scorer in 2021. If the Sun Devils can get both Leonard-Baker and Scharf at their bests, Arizona State should easily be able to improve upon its scores from this season. Freshmen Emily White and Sarah Clark have also been standouts early-on for Arizona State, alluding to what could be a bright future for this squad.

Follow along with tonight’s meet with scores and video (Pac-12 Network).

Commentators just let us know it has been 18 years since Arizona State last beat Utah. An impressive streak for the Utes that I’m sure the Sun Devils are not pleased with.

Rotation 1: Arizona State Vault, Utah Bars

Mangahas (ASU): Starts us off with a Yfull. Stuck! Decent height and form as well. 9.850

Paulson (Utah): Maloney to pak, slight leg separation, jumps to high bar, hits handstand, giant full to stuck double tuck. Two sticks to start the meet! 9.850

White (ASU): Another Yfull. Great form, small hop back on the landing. 9.825

Sabado (Utah): Hits her first handstand, clean giant half to jager, toe on, bail a little crooked and peels off and falls prepping for her shoot jump high bar. Rechalks and remounts, toe shoot to high bar, double layout dismount with some leg form and a step back. 9.200

Barbanente (ASU): Yfull. More clean form and just the slightest of slides back. 9.825

Burch (Utah): Mounts to high bar, hop to jager solid, good handstand, a little loose on her bail, jumps to high bar, dismounts with a double layout, small step back. 9.825

Scharf (ASU): Huge Yfull. Stuck!! 9.900

The Sun Devils are dialed in on landings so far!

O’Keefe (Utah): Great Maloney to pak to open, half pirouette hit, jumps to high bar, dismounts with her signature double arabian, small shuffle back. 9.825

Leonard-Baker (ASU): Another big Yfull. Stuck! Not as big as Scharf’s but another great landing. 9.900

Leblanc (Utah): Opens with a giant half to jager to overshoot, solid, hits her final handstand on the high bar, double layout dismount, fought hard for the stick but a small hop forward. 9.825

Smith (ASU): The first and only Y1.5 for ASU. Nearly stuck but has to take a hop back at the end. A little off-center as well but nice to see a 10.0 start value to anchor. 9.875

Isa (Utah): Opens with a high Ray, good handstand into her bail, giant full to double layout dismount and small hop back but great finish in handstand in the pirouette. 9.900

After One: Arizona State 49.350, Utah 49.225

It’s still obviously early into the meet, but the Sun Devils are doing exactly what they need to if they want a shot at taking down the Utes. Landings were the biggest difference in the first rotation, as Arizona State got three sticks to take the lead and Utah only stuck one and finds itself behind. Utah does have the difficult edge on vault, so if it can take advantage of landings in the next rotation the judges have shown they’re willing to score big today. However, Arizona State’s best event is bars, so expect this meet to still be very close at the halfway point.

Arizona State’s 49.350 on vault is its highest score on the event since 2006!

Rotation 2: Utah Vault, Arizona State Bars

Isa (Utah): Yfull to start the lineup. Good form and height, nearly stuck but a small slide back. 9.850

Reeves (ASU): Mounts to the high bar, hits her first handstand into a giant half to jager, small leg form on the catch, toe-on with an arch to a bail with another arch, dismounts with a clean double layout, small slide back. 9.750

O’Keefe (Utah): Yfull, stuck!! Small pike down at the end. 9.900

Scharf (ASU): Opens with a Maloney to pak, great leg form, fantastic pirouette before going up to the high bar, stuck FTDT dismount. 9.875

Stanhope (Utah): The first Y1.5 for Utah, great height, step back on the landing. 9.875

Boyer (ASU): Toe on to Maloney to pak to open, another great half pirouette on the low bar, dismounts with another stuck FTDT! 9.925

The Sun Devils came to play today!

Hall (Utah): Another Y1.5, comes in a little short and takes a step back. 9.850

White (ASU): Shaposh half to open, half pirouette to bail, goes directly into the toe-on, was a little off but a good save, nice double layout to dismount, small step back. 9.800

Burch (Utah): The third Y1.5 for the Utes, stuck! 9.975!

Clark (ASU): Mounts to the high bar, giant half to a GIANT jager, great pak and good half pirouette, jumps to high to dismount with a stuck double layout! 9.900

Rucker (Utah): Anchors the lineup with the fourth Y1.5 for Utah, huge power and takes a big step forward. 9.875

Leonard-Baker (ASU): Maloney to bail to open, clean, nice piked toe shoot to high bar, sticks her FTDT dismount! 9.875

Rotation 2: Utah 49.475, Arizona State 49.375

After Two: Arizona State 98.725, Utah 98.700

Like predicted, Utah closed the gap with all the difficulty on vault, but Arizona State’s landings are the difference and is what is keeping the Utes on upset alert at halftime. Other than Burch, the Utes didn’t capitalize on landings on vault, which could’ve given them the lead. However, Utah’s best two events are beam and floor, so Arizona State will need to keep performing at its best to keep it close to be able to take the win. The Sun Devils are performing incredibly well so far, and if they keep it up they should be proud of their performance today whether they win or not.

Both teams notched season highs on their events in the second rotation!

Rotation 3: Arizona State Beam, Utah Floor

Thompson (ASU):  BHS BHS LOSO to open, check on the landing, split leap to straddle side, full turn done easily, side aerial to layout full dismount, small slide back. 9.800

Paulson (Utah): Mounts with a front layout to front full to stag jump, great form, second pass RO BHS 2.5 twist, steps OOB, switch leap to switch full, dismounts with a RO 1.5 punch layout, steps out to control. 9.700

Mangahas (ASU): Only her third routine of the year, clean full turn, cat leap to front toss, no problems, BHS LOSO, big check and bend at the hips, switch leap to split jump, good splits, inverse split jump half, side aerial to layout full dismount, stuck. 9.750

Randall (Utah): Begins with a double tuck, small slide back with the front foot on the landing, switch side to straddle full to wolf full, cleanly around, double pike second pass, more controlled landing on that one, finishes up with a RO 1.5 to front layout, a little whippy but solid landing. 9.825

Reeves (ASU): Mounts and gets started with her flight series, BHS BHS LOSO, tiniest of checks, switch leap to split jump, another minuscule check, full turn, front aerial to her drop back and some choreo, always exciting to watch, RO 1.5 dismount, a little short and a step back. 9.775

Stanhope (Utah): Great full-in to open the routine, no landing issues, clean double tuck second pass, switch side to wolf full, a little off balance but gets it fully rotated, closes with RO 1.5 to front layout and a third great landing. 9.875

White (ASU): BHS LOSO, clean and solid on the landing, full turn no issues, front aerial to beat jump, small pause between but kept good control, split jump to double stag, ends it with a side aerial to layout full, small hop back. 9.825

Rucker (Utah): Big full-in first pass, fully controlled landing, gets her leap series all the way rotated and cleanly, second and final pass is a front layout front full, another great landing. 9.900

Clark (ASU):  Easy full turn to get things going, BHS LOSO LOSO, so easy for her, switch leap split jump, maybe a tiny bit short of 180, front aerial, perfect, closes with a BHS 1.5, nearly stuck but a shuffle back. 9.850

O’Keefe (Utah): Gets started with a double pike, great landing, front layout front full, another easy landing, switch leap to tour jete full, such great split in her leap series, caps off her routine with a RO 1.5 to a floaty front layout, great follow up to Rucker’s routine. 9.925

Scharf (ASU): Mounts immediately into a double wolf turn, BHS LOSO, no problems, side somi, big check, not sure how she didn’t come off she looked off at the start, switch leap to split jump, RO 1.5 and a step forward to close. 9.775

Soloski (Utah): Huge double layout to begin her routine, maybe a tiny slide with the front foot on the landing, switch half to split jump full, good height, front layout to front full, perfect control on that landing, caps off her performance with a RO 1.5 to front layout, should be a big score. 9.900

Rotation 3: Arizona State 49.025, Utah 49.425

After Three: Utah 148.125, Arizona State 147.750

Landings may not have been there for Utah early, but its ability to nail them on floor has given the Utes a solid lead heading into the final event. Arizona State had some great moments on beam, but got bit by the landing bug and had to absorb a few checks as well. As long as Utah hits beam like it usually does, this one should be in the bag, but if the Sun Devils perform well on floor they will still have a shot if Utah stumbles at all.

Rotation 4: Utah Beam, Arizona State Floor

Burch (Utah): Gets the rotation started with an easy full turn, BHS LOSO, no wobbles to be heard of, split jump to double stag, tiny check, cat leap to front aerial, solid, gainer full dismount, stuck! 9.850

Reeves (ASU): First pass is a RO BHS 2.5, good control on an often tricky landing, RO whip half to front full, another good landing, switch leap to switch ring half, closes with a solid rudi. 9.850

Stanhope (Utah): Her first appearance on beam this season. Switch leap mount to switch leap, small wobble, full turn, full twisting BHS to BHS, has a check at the end, RO 1.5 dismount, small step forward. 9.825

Clark (ASU): Mounts with a very clean double pike, great form and landing, clean double tuck second pass as well, switch leap to switch ring half, a little wonky on the takeoff for the second leap, finishes with a RO 1.5 front layout and another solid landing. 9.875

Randall (Utah): Opens low on the beam, full turn, BHS LOSO, small lean but covers it well, beat jump to sheep jump, sissone, Rufolva, perfect as always, RO 1.5 dismount, steps into her salute. 9.800

Boyer (ASU): Starts off with a front layout to front full tucked, definitely should’ve been layout but her timing on the punch looked off, double pike second pass, short so lunged forward, almost looks lost for a second in her choreo, tour jete full to wolf full, little short on the first leap, RO 1.5 front layout to end. 9.575

Isa (Utah): Candlestick mount, good control, really fun cartwheel, BHS LOSO LOSO, perfect but then misses a foot on some choreo and wobbles, straddle jump to straddle side, good height, BHS gainer full, stuck! 9.825

Mangahas (ASU): Nice full-in to get things going, front tuck through to double tuck second pass, solid landing, a little staggered legs, clean through her leap series to end. 9.850

O’Keefe (Utah): Mounts to start her quest for a second perfect 10 in a row, side aerial LOSO, check on the landing, switch leap to split leap, full turn, perfect control, cat leap to side aerial to layout full, stuck. No perfect 10 today, but should still be a good score. 9.875

Scharf (ASU): Front tuck through to double tuck, great height in both skills, front full to high front tuck, solid landing, very clean switch half to wolf full, great double pike to finish. 9.925

Paulson (Utah): Utah sitting at a 197.300 before this routine, side aerial LOSO, no wobbles, switch leap to split jump, small lean, full turn a little rushed, cat leap side aerial to stuck layout full. 9.950

Leonard-Baker (ASU): Arizona State with a chance to break 197 if she can hit! Opens with a gorgeous RO 1.5 to front full, controlled so well, good height in her leap series but a little off balance, finishes up with a double pike, a little low with her chest but controls the landing. 9.900

Rotation 4: Utah 49.325, Arizona State 49.400

Final: Utah 197.450, Arizona State 197.150

What a meet! Utah was able to pull out the win, but not without a great fight from Arizona State! The Sun Devils notched a season high nearly a full point higher than their previous season best, with the Utes missing out on a season high by .025 but still notched a great road score. Although scores may have been higher than some fans would score, both teams put on fantastic performances and created an exciting meet to watch!

Event Winners:

Vault: Burch 9.975

Bars: Boyer 9.925

Beam: Paulson 9.950

Floor: O’Keefe, Scharf 9.925

All Around: O’Keefe 39.525

Live blog by Brandis Heffner

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