Gymnastics: Red Rocks upset No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor

rowe_baely_bars_um Griffin Adams

The No. 6 Utah gymnastics team earned a new season-high overall score Friday night as it beat No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor, 197.525-197.050.

This was the Red Rocks’ first win over Michigan since 2012. It’s also their third-straight road win over a top-15 team, which includes wins over Pac-12 foes Stanford and Cal.

The team performed well all around, and co-head coach Tom Farden was proud of what his gymnasts accomplished over the course of the meet. He is also glad they were able to keep their heads up the entire time.

“I told the team we are rounding into championship form,” Farden said. “I liked the demeanor, which was light and fun. They’re at their best when they are having fun, and they had fun from start to finish tonight. Our team chemistry is at a high right now.”

Breanna Hughes shone the brightest by having another career night on vault and bars. She earned a career-high in all-around competition with a 39.650.

Utah’s night on the road began with stellar performances on the bars. Hughes led the pack with a 9.975, and she was followed with another great showing by Kassandra Lopez, who tied her career-high 9.925 score.

Photo credit: Deena Lofgren, University of Utah

Photo credit: Deena Lofgren, University of Utah

Hughes also took charge in the second rotation, earning a 9.90 vault score. Despite Utah’s great showing on the vault, things started to become a little worrisome for the Red Rocks, as Michigan earned a 49.500 overall score in bars to lead Utah 98.775-98.700 at the midway point.

The score didn’t affect the Red Rocks. They climbed back into the lead after the third rotation with well-established 9.90 routines from Hughes and Tiffani Lewis. A couple of falls on beam didn’t help Michigan’s cause as the Wolverines fell behind by a half-tenth.

With pressure on Michigan to deliver on senior night, the Red Rocks really stepped up their performance on beam. Each gymnast in the lineup put up a solid score and was topped with back-to-back 9.90 scores from Lopez and Baely Rowe and a 9.925 finish by Maddy Stover.

With Utah’s third-straight road win in the bag, Farden didn’t hesitate to mention how well his team’s beam performance was. He is also excited to see what’s next for the Red Rocks in the coming week when they return home.

“We had a nice bar set to start things out, finished strong on vault and had a beautiful floor,” Farden said. “To close out the meet with that beam set was tremendous.”

The Red Rocks now look to close the regular season with another win over a ranked opponent. They take on No. 10 Georgia for senior night at the Huntsman Center on Saturday, March 12.

c.marquez@dailyutahchronicle.com

@chad_marquez