Racking up the Awards: Skinner’s Success Second Only to fun

_DSC2950(kiffer) Kamryn Broschinsky

In her first year as a Red Rock gymnast, freshman MyKayla Skinner has made a name for herself. After deferring for a year, Skinner came to Utah known for being the first alternate for the U.S. gymnastics team in the past 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Now she is known for winning Pac-12 Gymnast and Freshman of the Week, not only once, but twice in her first two competitions.

In her first meet, Skinner and the Red Rocks competed against the strong Michigan squad and they walked away with a 196.625-195.525 victory over their opponent. Not only did Skinner win her first meet as a Red Rock, but that’s when she was awarded her first Pac-12 Gymnast and Freshman of the Week after winning all-around with 39.550 points.

Kiffer Creveling | Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah Women’s Gymnastics team freshman MyKayla Skinner flashes the “U” during her performance on the balance beam vs the Michigan Wolverines at the Huntsman Center on Saturday, January 7, 2017

Skinner thinks she went out with confidence and she was trying to be strong — mentally and physically — noting that her training had been going really well and that all of the girls had been working really hard. Things have only gotten better for her since then.

In her second meet with the Red Rocks, they travelled to Provo to compete against in-state rival, the BYU Cougars. Again, the Red Rocks walked away with another victory, 196.9-194.125, but Skinner walked away with more.

Scoring 39.6 points in all-around — her highest so far this season — Skinner won all-around for the second time in a row and again was awarded Pac-12 Gymnast and Freshman of the Week. Through her first two meets as a college gymnast, Skinner had won nine of a possible 10 individual titles.

Skinner also became the first Red Rock to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors back-to-back. Because of her success, Skinner joins previous Utes Tory Wilson and Georgia Dabritz in winning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week recognition for two weeks in a row (Wilson in 2014 and Dabritz in 2015).

After winning both the titles and all-around twice, Skinner said that the success hasn’t quite hit her yet. She is focusing more on having fun when she competes and enjoying her freshman year with the team.

“I still don’t feel like it has really hit me yet,” Skinner said. “I mean, it has only been a couple of days, but it is just really fun going out there with the team. That’s what I go out there for is just looking forward to [hitting my routines] and building up our team score. I mean, it is such a great opportunity to be able to win that for the second time in a row.”

Though winning all-around is certainly fun and exciting, Skinner is looking forward to what lies ahead this season, and she thinks her success thus far has set her up fairly well. While winning all-around every meet might not always be something she constantly thinks about, Skinner is focusing on her team and how they perform at meets.

“[Winning all-around at every meet] in the back of my head,” Skinner said. “I mean, that would be pretty cool if I did that, but I just try to keep my mind on the team and then whatever happens, happens.”

Skinner will be shooting for winning all-around once again as the Red Rocks take on the Washington Huskies in their first Pac-12 meet of the season. Utah will be on the road in Seattle and the meet is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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