Red Rocks finish third at NCAA Nationals

Red Rocks finish third at NCAA Nationals

FORT WORTH, Tex. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah gymnastics team was one rotation away from winning its first NCAA championship in 29 years.

The #5 Red Rocks were clinging to a .037 lead over LSU headed into the vault, but Camie Winger and Ella Zirbes stumbled on their routines, and the res of the Utes could not finish strong enough, as Utah finished third for the fourth straight year.

Utah finished with a score of 197.8000, while #2 LSU won its first national title in school history with a score of 198.2500. #3 Cal ended in second place with a score of 197.850. #4 Florida rounded out the four-team event with a 197.4375.

Red Rocks advance to Final Four at NCAA Nationals

Grace McCallum posted the top score on the uneven bars in the final meet of the season, scoring a 9.9500. McCallum would earn a third-place finish in the all-around scoring a 39.6875, posting 9.9 and above in each event.
Starting the day out on bars, Makenna Smith opened the rotation with a 9.8500. Coming up in the second spot of the order, Ella Zirbes added a 9.8625 for the Utes with her first performance. Amelie Morgan came up in the third spot of the bars rotation, adding a score of 9.8750. After Maile O’Keefe kickstarted the back half of the order with the first 9.900 score of the bars rotation, McCallum added a rotation-high 9.950. Alani Sabado anchored the rotation with her final bars performance of her career, scoring a 9.8375.
After the first event, Utah would find themselves in third place with a score of 49.4375. The Utes trailed leaders LSU after the Tigers scored a 49.6125 on floor. California was in second place with a 49.4750, after starting on beam. Florida started the meet on vault, scoring a 49.2500 to round out the four-team final.
Moving over to beam for the second event of the day, Morgan took her spot at the top of the order, getting things started with a 9.9125. McCallum would once again set the rotation-high score, posting a 9.9375. O’Keefe followed in the fifth spot of the order, adding her second 9.900 score of the day with her final beam performance of her Utah career. Smith tallied a 9.8375 in the second spot of the rotation for the Red Rocks. Rounding out the lineup, Elizabeth Gantner made her NCAA Championships debut, scoring a 9.8750.
Jumping up one spot after the second rotation and moving into second place with an overall score of 98.9125. After scoring a 49.4750 on beam, the Utes trailed leaders LSU by just .100, as the Tigers tallied a team score of 99.025 through two rotations. California dropped back into third place with a score of 98.2500 with Florida remaining in fourth-place with a score of 98.7250.

Utah gymnastics team shoots for national title

With 9.9s across the board on floor, the Red Rocks secured three scores of 9.9250 from Paulson, O’Keefe, along with Jaylene Gilstrap in her first event of the day. Smith got the party started on floor, opening the rotation with a 9.900. Zirbes upped the ante with a 9.9125, making her debut in the event at the NCAA Championships, in the second spot fo the rotation. McCallum anchored the rotation with a 9.9000.
After scoring a 49.5875 during the floor rotation, Utah would capture their first lead of the day, heading into the final event. Leading LSU 148.5000-148.4625, it would be a three-team race to the finish with California following close behind, trailing by .150 with a score of 148.3500. Florida maintained the fourth spot with a score of 147.9625.
After an uncharacteristic start on vault, the Red Rocks got back on track with back-to-back 9.9125 scores, first from Ashley Glynn followed by Makenna Smith. Jaedyn Rucker and McCallum added back-to-back scores fo 9.9000 to round out the rotation.

Red Rocks advance to NCAA regional final

Scoring a 49.3000 on vault in the final event of the day, the Golden Bears from California would make the jump back up to the second spot to take second-place as the meet would come to a close. The Red Rocks have now earned a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the fourth consecutive season.

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