LIVE BLOG: No. 5 Utah at No. 19 Arizona

It’s a Pac-12 and top 20 matchup tonight!

Despite a tumultuous offseason, Utah is putting up another strong season. The Utes started off slow, but only have one score below 197.675 since they posted a 196.975 week two. The midseason departure of Amelie Morgan to pursue an Olympic berth has tested them recently, but Utah appears to be up to the test. Upperclassmen Maile O’Keefe and Grace McCallum are putting up the scores they’re capable of, while freshman Ella Zirbes has contributed solid performances on vault and bars on the whole; she was recently added to the floor lineup and has excelled thus far. Makenna Smith was pulled from last week’s meet as a precaution after a wonky vault and limited reps in practice due to a back flare up. We’ll see if she’s back tonight.

Arizona has been consistently good this season. All but one of its scores this season are between 196.475 and 197, including one 197.000 on January 27. The Wildcats put up a huge 49.625 on beam last week at Washington and have been building on the event most of the season. Elena Deets is nice on the event, with a near-9.9 NQS to show for it. Malia Hargrove was held out of lineups two weeks ago, but luckily for the Wildcats, it was merely precautionary and she returned last week. Her Yurchenko one and a half is particularly valuable for Arizona, though her floor and beam are nice as well. Junior Alysen Fears has been a consistently valuable all around competitor, while freshman Abigayle Martin is acclimating to college competition well.

Rotation 1: Arizona VT, Utah UB

Greever (UA): yfull, a little bit of a pike down and a hop back. 9.725

Smith (Utah): nice opening hs; pak, tiny leg sep; transitions back up with a van leeuwen. Short handstand and a step forward on her dismount. 9.85

Castles (UA): solid yfull, small hop back. 9.825

Sabado (Utah): good opening hs; straddled jaeger, she’s super far out and has no chance at catching the bar. she’s restarting the routine. Catches it this time and connects immediate to bail. DLO, some legs and feet but stuck. 9.125

Strom (UA): another yfull, a little tiny bit of leg sep preflight and a small hop back. 9.775

Judges are conferencing after Sabado’s routine.

Zirbes (Utah): nice first hs; ray, caught a little close. Pak good. Hits her final hs. Ftdt, stuck. Great routine following the fall. 9.925

Hargrove (UA): y1.5, stuck cold! A little bit of leg form in the air. 9.925

O’Keefe (Utah): Maloney to pak, nice. slightly short final hs. double Arabian, stuck. 9.875

Martin (UA): yfull, probably the cleanest so far but a small hop back. 9.8

McCallum (Utah): nice opening hs. Maloney to pak direct to stander to van leeuwen, hit. Stuck her dismount. 10!

Fears (UA): yfull, tiny hop in place. Nice way to close the lineup for Arizona. 9.825

Winger (Utah): short first hs; Maloney to pak, maybe caught the pak a little close. good final hs. ftdt, stuck. 9.875

Derr (UA, exh): yfull, hop forward.

Glynn (Utah, exh): Maloney to bail, nice. great final hs. double tuck, step back. Solid!

After 1: Utah 49.525, Arizona 49.150

Despite an early fall in the lineup, Utah came back to hit 5 routines, led by McCallum’s 10. Arizona also put up a solid vault lineup to start the meet, though the Wildcats couldn’t quite find the landings apart from Hargrove’s stuck Yurchenko one and a half.

Rotation 2: Utah VT, Arizona UB

Winger (Utah): y1.5, a little short but lands it. 9.85

Mueller (UA): good first hs; straddled tkatchev, hit. another good hs; a little bit of an arch in her bail hs. peeled off the bar and ends up basically landing on her face…yikes! Hopefully she’s ok. 8.775

Zirbes (Utah): y1.5, short with a step back. Not a great start for Utah on vault so far. 9.9 still, wow.

Hargrove (UA): nice first hs; clear hip hs to tkatchev, hit. bail to hs with a hit hs; good final hs. ftdt, stuck! That’s the routine you want following a fall. 9.775

Glynn (Utah): y1.5, preflight leg sep and a step forward and to the side. 9.825

Martin (UA): archy first hs; Maloney to pak, a little close. Can’t get the position on the pirouette and comes off. Arizona counting a fall now…Stuck DLO. Should be better than 8.775 but not what Arizona wanted. 9.2

Smith (Utah): Omelianchik, small step forward. 9.85

Deets (UA): Good first hs; short on her hs into a straddled tkatchev, nice. Good bail hs. Nice final hs. DLO, basically stuck. That’s more like it.

Rucker (Utah): I missed it while I was typing…9.925 so she must have done basically her normal y1.5

Derr (UA): nice first hs; good Ray. Pak, her timing is off and she can’t quite get her hands around the bar. When it rains, it pours, I guess. ftdt, stuck. 9.35

McCallum (Utah): Believe she did the Servente today, just a hop back. 9.825

Fears (UA): Let’s end this on a high note, ok? Nice straddled tkatchev. Hitting all her handstands so far. A little bit of an archy bail and an archy final hs. Stuck DLO. 9.8

Raskin (UA, exh): short first hs; straddled jaeger, hit. Hits her bail. short final hs. dlo, leg sep and lands short and to her knees.

McCabe (UA, exh): saves her first hs; Hits her piked jaeger and bail. Good final hs. Blind full double tuck hop back. Arizona getting the seniors in exhibition on senior night.

After 2: Utah 98.875, 97.100

It wasn’t Utah’s best vault rotation; the Utes couldn’t quite find the landings and had a couple underrotations in there as well. Arizona will want to forget about that bars rotation ASAP—definitely not what we’re used to seeing from the Wildcats this season, as they’ll have to count 2 falls.

Rotation 3: Arizona BB, Utah FX

Fears (UA): bhs loso, tiny check. Really weird zoomed in camera angle for a second there. Hits her turn. Aerial good. Split jump to double stag, nice. Roundoff 1.5 stuck. Good start! 9.825

Smith (Utah): Opens with a front double full, nice. Good positions on her leaps. Fhs rudi layout to an arch jump, good. Rudi to double stag, nice. 9.85

Herry (UA): Full turn, hit. bhs loso, rock solid. Side somi, hit. straddle to split half, could have a little more split on the split half. Bhs, 1.5, low chest while fighting for the stick and ends up taking a small step. 9.775

Zirbes (Utah): Nice front double full to start, excellent control. Good positions on her leaps. Back 1.5 to lay full good. 9.875

Mueller (UA): side aerial loso, solid, some flexed feet. Hits her turn. switch to straddle, secure. Doesn’t waver on her beat jump. Roundoff lay 1.5 to close, small hop. 9.875

Paulson (Utah): Love her Taylor Swift floor music mix. Front tuck through to 2.5, good control. Front lay front full to stag, nice. Good splits on her leaps. Back 1.5 to lay to close, stuck. 9.925

Martin (UA): Split jump to double stag good. Bhs loso, secure. Hits her front aerial. Solid full turn. Roundoff 1.5 hop forward. 9.9

Gilstrap (Utah): Front lay rudi, nicely done. Switch half to sissone, good positions, really had to work to control the precision in the air. Front lay front full nice. 9.95

Strom (UA): Switch to straddle 1/4, slight hesitation in between. Bhs loso, small check. Double wolf turn, solid. Secure beat jump. Back 1.5 dismount, hop forward. 9.8

Rucker (Utah): ftdt, controlled. Solid leaps. Back 1.5 to lay nice. She’s a late sub, not sure if it’s for O’Keefe or McCallum yet. 9.825

Deets (UA): Bhs loso, secure and great form. Hits her full turn. Hitch kick switch side, small check. Cat leap front toss, small check. Switch leap to gainer full stuck. 9.85

McCallum (Utah): ok, so Rucker went in for O’Keefe. ftdt, some leg form but well-controlled. switch leap through to tour jete half popa, good positions. Front lay rudi, controlled. Good way to close the rotation. 9.95

Burhans (UA, exh): we just got an overhead camera angle and then zoomed way in. She’s hitting her routine so far. Not sure if we missed something or she didn’t do a series or something. bhs gainer full stuck. All the senior exhibitions tonight.

Castles (UA, exh): bhs loso, solid. Switch leap works seemingly effortlessly through a small check to split leap. Front aerial sissone good. Hits her double wolf turn. Back 1.5, arm wave and torso movement but stuck.

After 3:

A nice rebound rotation for Arizona after bars. It wasn’t as good as last week, but still quite nice. Utah also performed well on floor and the late lineup switch appears to have paid off for the Utes.

Rotation 4: Utah BB, Arizona FX

Winger (Utah): cat leap small hesitation to front toss, deep landing and a small check to beat jump. Good positions on her leaps. Bhs loso, clean and secure. Gainer front full, some crossy legs and a hop forward. 9.825

Strom (UA): Rudi loso nice. Switch leap switch ring half, nice. Back 1.5 to front full, good. 9.9

Smith (Utah): Hitch kick front aerial to split, good. Bhs loso, secure. Leap connection, small check. Gainer full, tiniest foot slide. 9.825

Fears (UA): Nice double tuck to open. Switch side popa, good positions. Rudi, a little bit of a foot slide out of her lunge. Back 1.5 to front full, better landing. 9.85

Gantner (Utah): Bhs loso to straddle jump, a little pause in between the loso and the stride and some foot form. Switch half beat jump secure. front full, slide back. 9.85

Mueller (UA): double pike, may have gone oob. Good positions on her leaps. Back 1.5 to lay good. Solid double tuck. 9.9

McCallum (Utah): Hits her wolf turns. Bhs loso, solid. Switch leap, tiny check. Gainer tuck full, stuck. Another good routine for Utah. 9.9

Hargrove (UA): Back in the floor lineup, she’s coming back from a minor ankle injury per the broadcast. ftdt, slightly low chest but good control. Whip half to front full nice. Switch ring tour jete half, hit. Don’t think she had the best position on the ring but it’s tough angle to judge from. Good double tuck to close. 9.875

Paulson (Utah): beat jump to side aerial loso, secure. Switch leap to split jump, good positions. Secure full turn. Gainer full, holds on to the stick though leans back a tad. 9.875

Herry (UA): Nice double tuck open. Switch half popa, good positions and rotation. Back 1.5 to lay, tiny foot adjustment in the lunge. Good double pike to close. 9.85

O’Keefe (Utah): Good split positions on her leaps. Aerial loso, looked like her foot slipped after the aerial but she gave nothing away. Full turn, tiny shoulder check. Bhs gainer full stuck. She’s hyped. 9.975

Deets (UA): Switch ring full, wow! First tumbling pass good. Tour jete half popa nice. Great double tuck to close. 9.85

Krump (Utah, exh): small check on her full turn. Bhs bhs loso, small check. Beat jump to front toss to knee, hit. Straddle small foot adjustment to straddle 1/4, secure and good positions. front full dismount, stuck.

FINAL: Utah 197.875, Arizona 195.725

Utah put together a great meet and will enjoy this road score. Arizona put together three solid rotations, but was ultimately held back by bars. The Wildcats will want to put that bars performance behind them and move on with the season.

VT: Malia Hargrove (Arizona), Jaedyn Rucker (Utah) 9.925
UB: Grace McCallum (Utah) 10.000
BB: Maile O’Keefe (Utah) 9.975
Jaylene Gilstrap, Grace McCallum (Utah) 9.950
AA: Grace McCallum (Utah) 39.675

READ THIS NEXT: A Day in the Life of a College Gymnast: The Pressure of Competing and Making Lineups

Live blog by Tara Graeve

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