Grace McCallum floor pose

LIVE BLOG: Best of Utah with No. 6 Utah, No. 22 Southern Utah, No. 38 BYU and Utah State

It’s the fourth annual Best of Utah meet, featuring all four Utah teams competing at the Maverik Center just outside of Salt Lake City in West Valley City, Utah. Southern Utah and BYU both kicked off their seasons at the Super 16 in Vegas; Southern Utah had a solid start and won its session (third in its group of eight overall), while BYU left a lot to be desired in its opening meet. Despite her team’s struggles, BYU’s Rebekah Ripley returned from injury and garnered attention for her Barbie Girl-themed floor routine. Trista Goodman made her college debut in style, anchoring bars with a 9.900 at the meet. It was the first of two meets for Southern Utah and the Thunderbirds took the opportunity to shake up lineups. One more thing is clear: Karley McClain is BACK to her all-around days. Utah opened its season at home against LSU with a 197.275, with former five-star recruit Makenna Smith making her Ute debut alongside Michigan fifth-year transfer Abby Brenner. This is Utah State’s first meet of the season, and it’s a new-look Aggie team with a number of transfers with Amy Smith to Clemson and Kristin White in her first year at the helm.

Utah’s lineups:

Utah State is debuting a new leo!

Rotation 1: BYU VT, USU UB, SUU BB, Utah FX

Gutierrez (USU): good first hs; Maloney to bail hs, solid, nails final hs; dlo, small slide. Good leadoff! 9.825

Dudley (BYU): yfull, some leg form and piking, small hop. Not bad! Focus according to Guard Young is “hit your routines, don’t worry about scores” 9.675

K Kho (SUU): bhs layout, good sized wobble but stays on; good leaps, but is off balance and can’t save it this time; split jump loso, better gainer pike stuck. Not an ideal start for SUU.

Paulson (Utah): front punch through to 2.5, good; lay lay full, solid; hit her split positions well; back 1.5 to lay with another good landing. Lovely! 9.775

Rollins (BYU): yfull on tuck, crunchy landing. 9.5

Rojas (USU): nice opening hs; Maloney to bail hs, good; dlo, hop back. 9.8

Murakami (SUU): secure full turn; bhs loso bhs lovely; split jump sheep jump, small check; she’s absolutely gorgeous; gainer full, small foot movement. 9.775

Rucker (Utah): double arabian, controlled landing; switch leap switch half, good extension; lay lay full solid. 9.85

Mason (BYU): y1.5, some knees and a step forward. I think that’s new this season! 9.825

Bibbey (USU): great first hs; straddled tkatchev, solid; hit bail hs; final hs a tad short; dlo stuck. Impressed with USU so far! 9.825

Smith (SUU): ro loso, small check; cat leap split 3/4, fine; ro 1.5, step forward. It’s a hit! 9.75

McCallum (Utah): ftdt, kind of a hop step; hits her leaps well; lay rudi, solid. 9.925

Cacciola (SUU): bhs loso secure; beat jump standing loso, solid; switch switch, small check; ro 1.5 stuck. 9.775

Brooks (USU): great first hs; ray to bail, good, bail maybe slightly short; hit final hs; stuck double layout, slightly low chest. 9.775

Gilstrap (Utah): lay Rudi, solid; switch leap switch ring half, lovely; lay lay full good. The girl never disappoints on floor. 9.9

Aragon (USU): her first competitive bar routine! great first hs; straddled tkatchev, hit; bail hs fine; slightly short final hs; ftdt, small hop. 9.8

O’Keefe (Utah): double pike, solid; lay lay full, hit; good leaps; back 1.5 to lay, controlled. 9.85

Ka McClain (SUU): bhs loso, tiny check; switch split, almost missed her foot but covered it up like a pro; cat leap side aerial secure; split straddle 1/4, low chest but stays on with minimal deductions; ro 1.5 stuck. SUU avoids counting a leadoff fall! 9.8

After 1: Utah 49.375, Utah State 49.025, SUU 48.850, BYU 48.800

I forgot how good BYUtv is at showing routines! We got SO MUCH gymnastics out of that rotation. Other broadcasters, take note. Utah was good on floor to open, Southern Utah overcame a leadoff fall with 5 hit routines, Utah State looked good on bars and BYU wasn’t great on vault.

Rotation 2: Utah VT, BYU UB, USU BB, SUU FX

Mason (BYU): great first hs; Maloney to pak, some leg sep on the Maloney; hit final hs; dlo, some knees but stuck. 9.825

Eagles (USU): transfer from Lindenwood, her first routine as an Aggie; bhs loso, small check; side aerial split jump, hit; switch leap split jump, tiny check; ro 1.5 nearly stuck. Great start! 9.75

Vultaggio (SUU): double pike to open, solid; lovely split positions on her leaps; back 1.5 to lay on the side of the floor instead of the corners, nice; good double tuck to close. 9.875

Brenner (Utah): y1.5, her usual knees and a step forward. 9.825

Benson (BYU): good first hs; ray, flexed feed and caught close; bail hs solid; hit final hs; dlo, hop forward. 9.775

Aragon (USU): switch leap split jump, split jump hit 180 but a tad short on the switch leap; bhs loso solid; front toss split jump, good; bhs back 1.5, small hop. 9.8

Stanhope (Utah): y1.5, tiny leg sep on entry and tiny hop to the side. 9.9

Bramblett (BYU): good straddled jaeger direct to bail; ok final hs; dlo, step back. bounces back from a week 1 fall. 9.85

Rojas (USU): switch switch straddle, secure; bhs loso, good; beat jump side aerial, hit; gainer full, small slide back. 9.75

Rucker (Utah): y1.5 nearly stuck, but a tiny foot movement. 9.925

Cacciola (SUU): solid double tuck; front full front lay, good; nice split positions in her leaps; rudi split jump, slightly short of 180. 9.85

Eaquinto (BYU): she’s the only girl of 6; Maloney to pak, lovely; short final hs; dlo, small step. 9.825

Brooks (USU): front aerial bhs swing down, lovely; switch half split jump, great positions; bhs gainer full stuck. 9.825

Alvarado (BYU): good first hs; floaty pak; van Leeuwen, legs glued — new skill for her this year; dlo, tiny step. 9.9

Sullivan (USU): holds the USU beam record with a 9.975; front aerial standing lay, secure; leaps solid; ro 1.5, think she stuck but a coach was blocking the view. 9.9

Ka McClain (SUU): ftdt, slightly low chest but good landing; ro 1.5 to lay, nice; solid double tuck to close. 9.925

After 2: Utah 98.725, SUU 98.200, USU 98.050, BYU 97.975

Very impressed with Utah State so far after the routines it lost! Utah maintained its lead, BYU rebounded on bars and SUU had another good floor rotation, highlighted by McClain.

Rotation 3: SUU VT, Utah UB, BYU BB, USU FX

Vultaggio (SUU): yfull, looked good, small shuffle on landing. thank goodness for alternate angles bc that first one totally blocked her landing with coaches. 9.75

Ono (BYU): moved her back into the leadoff because she’s steady…bhs bhs loso, comes off; secure leaps; nearly stuck gainer full. Shame about the fall! 9.025

Peterson (USU): front lay rudi to a unique arch jump thing; solid leaps; ro double tuck, low chest and landing but pulls it around. 9.725

Smith (Utah): Maloney to pak, lovely; hitting her handstands well; double Arabian, some leg sep but stuck. 9.875

Cacciola (SUU): yfull, good in air, tiny pike down, small hop back. 9.825

Raesley-Patton (BYU): front aerial split jump, lovely; gorgeous split positions; bhs loso, small check; slightly overrotated full turn; we were just told that it’s “the dumbest requirement”; ro 1.5 stuck. 9.75

Gatzlaff (USU): double tuck, slightly uncontrolled landing; solid leaps; rudi, low chest, supposed to connect a jump but wasn’t really connected; my feed just buffered; back 1.5 to lay good. 9.7

Brenner (Utah): I’m buffering again…apologies; missed most of this routine. 9.85

Stuart (USU): double pike, slightly large lunge; whip half front lay, fine; good split positions in her leaps; double tuck, low chest but pulls it around. 9.8

Rollins (BYU): switch leap small pass straddle 1/4, good positions. front aerial bhs loso; stuck gainer full. 9.85

McCallum (Utah): Maloney to pak good; hits hs; van Leeuwenhoek solid’ ftdt stuck. 9.975

Toomey (USU): may have missed her first pass; rudi loso nice; I’m still having terrible buffering…closes with a front full front full. 9.85

Evans (USU): lay lay rudi, solid; she choreographed her own routine; good split positions; closing double tuck, nice landing.

After 3: Utah 148.075, USU 147.175, SUU 149.025, BYU 146.175

While BYU unfortunately had to count a fall on beam, the rest of the teams hit solid routines. Utah maintained its lead, and SUU and USU are very close with 3 rotations down!

Rotation 4: USU VT, SUU UB, Utah BB, BYU FX

Morgan (Utah): bhs bhs loso, great form and landing; good positions in her leaps; front gainer full, stuck. Good leadoff!

C Kho (SUU): good first hs; Maloney to pak, gorgeous — she missed that on Monday; good final hs; ftdt, stuck! 9.85

McCallum (Utah): triple wolf turn; bhs loso, secure; split straddle 1/4, great positions; tuck gainer full, stuck. Another good routine for Utah! 9.925

Rollins (BYU): double tuck, steps oob. switch side double stag full, that’s a unique combo! lay lay full, some knees but ok landing. 9.675

Schwartze (SUU): good first hs; piked jaeger, great; nice bail hs; hit final hs; her lines are lovely; blind full double tuck, stuck but slightly low chest. 9.825

Paulson (Utah): side aerial loso, rock solid; switch split, nice positions; beat jump side aerial 1.5, stuck. 9.9

Gatzlaff (USU): yfull, solid, hop back and feet straddled the new lines. 9.8

Millar (BYU): switch side popa, solid; double tuck, fine; lay lay full, slightly tentative landing. 9.7

Ka McClain (SUU): good first hs; clear hip gienger, solid; bail hs, hit; nice final hs; dlo, hop forward. 9.8

Eaker (Utah): switch leap mount directly into another leap, such gorgeous positions; side aerial loso, very controlled; you can’t tell me you don’t like her routine; gainer full, stuck. SO. GOOD. 10!

Murakami (SUU): great first hs; blind change straddled jaeger to bail, nice; good final hs; ftdt, small hop forward and slightly low chest. 9.875

Ripley (BYU): it’s Barbie Girl time! she’s been choreographing it and working on it for over a year. front punch through to double tuck, solid; switch side popa wolf full, good; double pike, kind of a scootch but a fine lunge otherwise. 9.85

O’Keefe (Utah): side aerial loso, good; switch leap split leap, gorgeous positions; bhs gainer full stuck. Great routine! 9.95

FINAL: Utah 197.750, SUU 196.175, USU 195.800, BYU 195.050

What a great meet all-around! Utah takes this one by over a point with 4 great lineups, including Kara Eaker’s 10 on beam. That was an absolute beam clinic by the Utes. SUU also had a good meet overall and broke 196; Utah State nearly hit 196 but a slightly lackluster vault rotation held them back. BYU also hit 195, and while the Cougars will want to improve on that, it is a big step forward from its Super 16 performance.

Event Winners:

VT: Rucker 9.925
UB: McCallum 9.975
BB: Eaker 10.000
FX: McCallum, Ka McClain 9.925
AA: McCallum 39.675

Live blog by Tara Graeve

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