Gymnastics: Red Rocks best Stanford with season-high event scores

gymnastics 6 Justin Adams

The No. 5 Utah gymnastics team took care of another Pac-12 rival by beating No. 12 Stanford 197.150-195.875 to remain favorites in the conference for NCAA regionals.

The Red Rocks, who had to overcome leaving co-head coach Megan Marsden at their hotel due to sickness, earned season-high overall scores on the vault and beam with great performances from the whole team.

The big highlight of the night came from sophomore Maddy Stover, who left the Cardinal searching for answers after her near-perfect execution on the beam.

It was Utah’s fourth straight meet with a score in the 197-range, proving that this team means business heading into its toughest stretch as the regular season winds to a close.

It was also a big night for co-head coach Tom Farden, who had to steer the ship alone as Marsden recovered from her illness. With another big win under his belt, Farden said this victory was all for the absent coach.

“On the bus coming to the meet, I told the team that [Marsden] was feeling under the weather and to go out and win one for her. Obviously, they delivered,” Farden said in a press release. “This team has a competitive spirit and a chip on their shoulder.”

The matinee meet began with the Red Rocks in a bit of a predicament with the Cardinal, competing neck-and-neck in the first rotation. Senior Breanna Hughes and freshman Sabrina Schwab earned the team’s best bar scores with 9.850s, and ended up tied with Stanford at 49.150.

But things got worse for Stanford, as the Red Rocks blew them out of the water for the rest of the meet. Mistakes by the Cardinal on the bars cost them, and Utah took advantage, earning a season-high 49.275 overall score on the vault, with Hughes tying a career-high 9.90 score and fellow senior Kailah Delaney scoring a 9.875.

Things kept on getting better for the Red Rocks after the third rotation, where they showed their dominance on the floor with Hughes and sophomore Samantha Partyka both earning 9.90s for their well-executed routines.

Finally, on the last rotation, the team gave Farden a reason to be proud, earning another season-high overall performance. This was especially important due to beam being one of Utah’s issues so far this season.

Stover led the way with her routine earning a near-perfect 9.975 score that ended the day on a high note for the team. Senior Kassandra Lopez and Delaney also had exceptional performances, earning 9.85 and 9.90, respectively.

Farden credited his team for finishing out the meet the best way possible, something that is needed in order to be placed higher within the Super Six.

“They have what it takes to block things out and finish meets. It’s obviously a tough place to compete since we’d never won here,” Farden said in the release. “We started a little tentative on bars, then had a great vault set and just kept building. Our floor was outstanding, and we were lights-out on beam.”

The Red Rocks will take this meet as a huge confidence boost beating one of the better teams in the Pac-12, and will use it for inspiration as they prepare for their next big road test next week against Michigan.

c.marquez@dailyutahchronicle.com

@chad_marquez